BAM! moved on to round 6 of the American Le Mans Series at Portland International Raceway with high hopes of eclipsing the team's best result to date; their 3rd place finish in round 5 at Infineon Raceway. With team regular Mike Rockenfeller ...
BAM! moved on to round 6 of the American Le Mans Series at Portland International Raceway with high hopes of eclipsing the team's best result to date; their 3rd place finish in round 5 at Infineon Raceway.
With team regular Mike Rockenfeller absent due to a clash with the FIA Spa 24 hour race, (which his team Gruppe M went on to win)Martin Jensen of Denmark was called in to partner Wolf Henzler for the Portland event.
BAM'S tire supplier and technical partner, Yokohama, brought 3 new compounds for the team to evaluate as part of the ongoing development program. All three compounds proved to be vastly superior to anything tried previously. Given the high ambient and track temperatures for the race week at Portland the compound chosen from the 3 available had no problem maintaining a high level of grip and durability over the stint distance.
Qualifying the #43 BAM! Porsche was entrusted to Henzler who as well as driving the #43 car in the ALMS, races the #55 Farnbacher/Loles Porsche in the Speed World Challenge. Juggling this double duty gives Henzler very little time to relax, but gives him twice as much track time as the rest of the drivers which could be to his advantage.
Henzler's time of 1.12.96 was good enough for p3 on the starting grid, 3 tenths of a second from the pole position and 1tenth from p2, A vast improvement from the previous race qualifying time which saw the # 43 car some 1.5 seconds behind the pole winning car.
The race started well for Henzler as he fought for the lead with the # 31 Petersen/White Lightning Porsche and the #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche. Henzler moved into 2nd place when the #31 car had to pit with a mechanical problem. Henzler maintained 2nd place keeping pace with the #23 car until a full course caution was called by the officials to attend to an accident on the track at the 1 hour mark.
Jo Lynn Mancuso (BAM's Director of Operations) in her new (additional) role as race strategist read the situation perfectly, electing to keep Henzler out on the track under the caution flags until the "wave by system" had taken effect, allowing the team to carrying out the pit stop for fuel and tires while still under the caution flags and maintain 2nd place to the #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche. The team chose to keep Henzler in the car at this point as one more pit stop was still required to go the race distance at which point Jensen would take over.
The race restarted with Henzler easily maintaining second place but not quite able to match the leader's pace until the 1hr 56mins mark when the second full course caution was called, this allowed the team to make their 2nd and final stop to change drivers to Jensen, refuel and change tires.
Jensen, for whom this is only his second ALMS race in a Porsche, comfortably held second place matching Henzler's lap times and bringing the car home for BAM!'s best ALMS result to date.