Intersport's Solid Performance Washed Away As Rain Brings Out Electrical Gremlin Detroit -- Intersport Racing fought back from a tough week in practice by starting 3rd in class and qualifying 11th overall for round 7 of the American Le Mans...
Intersport's Solid Performance Washed Away As Rain Brings Out Electrical Gremlin
Detroit -- Intersport Racing fought back from a tough week in practice by starting 3rd in class and qualifying 11th overall for round 7 of the American Le Mans Series championship, the Generac 500 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
The early part of the week saw the team chasing down handling issues. A tired nose and front fascia was causing severe bounce in the front end of the #37 Judd Powered Very Berry Exotics Creation. After replacing the front body work, the team was able to get back to dialing the car in.
With the diesel powered Audis dominating the front row, the #37 car started with Jon Field at the wheel behind a full compliment of LMP2 Porsches, Acuras and the lone Mazda powered Lola of B-K Motorsports. Never known as someone to back down from a challenge, Jon was ready to take them all to task.
The field exploded up the front straight as they took the green flag and charge into turn one. Anticipating the start perfectly, Jon took to the inside and emerged after one lap, running third overall. A first turn incident brought the field under yellow.
"Dad got an amazing start," stated team owner and co-driver, Clint Field. "We're not all that surprised though, the Judd power is tremendous out of the hole like that. But it was a great move. Even more impressive, he kept the car up at the front and was holding his own. The car looked great."
Jon continued to mix it up with the Porsches of Ryan Briscoe and Guy Smith through the early stages of the race, showing the strength of the Creation CA06H-Judd LMP1 package.
At the 1 hour running mark, Jon brought the car in for fuel, tires and a driver change. Richard Berry got behind the wheel, but had difficulty restarting the car. He was soon underway, but only to return after a couple of laps with electrical problems.
With lightening on the radar, Berry got back underway after spending 15 minutes in the pits. Judd engineers confirmed that overheating caused the starter problem. With rain being reported at various points on the track, Richard pulled into the pits at the 1 hr. 21 minute mark for four tires, fuel and driver change. Clint Field took over.
At the 1 hr. 32 min. mark Clint Field returned to the pits. With the track now under a torrential down pour and displaying a full course yellow, Clint indicated the conditions are unmanageable with rain tires. Without rain tires, the team is forced to wait for the rain to subside. At 1:47, Jon Field returned the #37 car to the race. Though the sky appeared to be clearing, the cars were still running behind the IMSA safety car. After a half hour of running, Jon returned to the pits for fuel.
At 6:39 pm, (2 hrs. 30 min. running), the green flag came out.
At 6:51 pm (2 hrs. 42 min running), the (#37 Creation/CA06H/Judd pulled back into the pits. This time the body work came off. Though the team tried desperately to locate the problem, the early assumption was that the rain proved too much for the cars electrical system.
"The rain really took us out of it," said Clint. "I was driving when the sky opened up and I immediately became a passenger. Since we don't have a rain tire for the car, it would have been reckless of me to have stayed out. We opted to try and wait it out. Unfortunately, the electrical issue wasn't going to cooperate. We'll get the car back to the shop and go through the entire system. It's one of those gremlins... but I'm confident the guys will track it down. This was a tough day."
Following the race, the team announced they had ended their relationship with Kumho Tire.
"We've just never hit the right combination with the tire and the chassis," Clint acknowledged. "But it wasn't due to lack of effort. We are extremely grateful for the effort and dedication put forth by the guys at Kumho. They have bent over backwards working with us. It's just a tough situation. We've had limited testing and in fairness to them, we've never really been able to establish a baseline setup on the car. Every weekend has been a different set-up combined with a different tire. We made headway... but we're just at that point where we need to go in a different direction. We truly enjoyed the relationship and appreciate all that they did."
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport from Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The race will start at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 26 and will be broadcast live on SPEED. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.