Contact Eliminates Lowe's Fernandez Racing at Petit The Lowe's Fernandez Racing driving team of Adrian Fernandez, Luis Diaz and Michel Jourdain Jr. were unable to make it to the finish of the 11th-running of the Petit Le Mans endurance classic...
Contact Eliminates Lowe's Fernandez Racing at Petit
The Lowe's Fernandez Racing driving team of Adrian Fernandez, Luis Diaz and Michel Jourdain Jr. were unable to make it to the finish of the 11th-running of the Petit Le Mans endurance classic today. Diaz was behind the wheel of the #15 Lowe's Acura ARX when he had contact with a GT car in Turn Three at Road Atlanta with just over three hours remaining in the 1,000 mile/10-hour race. The subsequent damage was too significant for the team to enact repairs and return to competition.
The day began on an eventful note for the trio as Diaz started the race from the back of the grid in 32nd position, the result of changing the qualifying tires due to a spin by Fernandez during qualifying on Friday. Diaz had an impressive first stint and was able to pass the GT contingent by Lap 7. He turned the car over to Fernandez seventh overall and fifth in class at the two-hour mark.
Fernandez resumed the pace and was shown on the lead lap. He ran as high as third in class while also struggling with the handling of the #15 Lowe's machine. He turned the controls over to Jourdain fifth in class with just over four hours completed.
Jourdain made an impressive debut in the series, handling traffic and maintaining a consistent pace. He pitted with just under four hours remaining to hand the car back to Diaz fifth in class and eighth overall. The incident with the GT car occurred a short time later on a Leader Lap 283 restart with three hours remaining.
Adrian Fernandez, #15 Lowe's Acura ARX: "The incident that Luis had with the backmarker was unfortunate. Traffic has been very, very difficult. We were hoping that the car would be its best at night because the three of us were really struggling to stay on top of the car and we barely managed to stay on the lead lap. I was just hoping that the balance of the car would improve under cooler conditions. This track has caught out a lot of people and caused a lot of damage. It is not an easy place. There are a lot of blind corners, a lot of tight corners. And when you have four different classes racing at the same time on this type of course, carnage is going to happen beside the challenge that this track is on its own. I have always said that dealing with traffic is the hardest part about racing in this series. Once in awhile it will bite you and it bit us today. It is unfortunate to have another DNF [did not finish], and we feel bad for Lowe's and all of our supporters. We just have to regroup and keep working hard. It has been a tough year for us and we have to come on top of it at the end of the day for next year because there is just one more race. Hopefully, we can do well at Laguna."
Luis Diaz, #15 Lowe's Acura ARX: "It was a very bad day for me. I feel bad for all of the guys that worked hard to give us a competitive car today. I got together with a Ferrari. I made passes there before and nothing happened and it seemed to be very bad timing this time. I feel bad and I hope we have a better race in Laguna."
Michel Jourdain Jr., #15 Lowe's Acura ARX: "Like Adrian and Luis said, the incident was unfortunate and it could have happened to any of us. This is the toughest track I have ever driven in my life for traffic. On my stint, I was a little bit too conservative at the beginning in traffic and I lost some time. From there, I felt like I was staying with those guys but then I started losing them. I wish we could have had the first win but we didn't have the speed today like Adrian said and that makes it even harder in traffic. I really hope that the team does well in a couple of weeks in Laguna. For sure, I feel like I am much better prepared for Sebring next year after running this race."