Sugden Moves up Table Despite Tyre Problems The whole principle of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is embodied in the Petit le Mans race that was held on Saturday at the Road Atlanta Circuit in Georgia. It is a 1000 mile or 10 hour race...
Sugden Moves up Table Despite Tyre Problems
The whole principle of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is embodied in the Petit le Mans race that was held on Saturday at the Road Atlanta Circuit in Georgia. It is a 1000 mile or 10 hour race that requires the same high level of reliability and all round performance as the 24 hours of Le Mans upon which it is modelled. Tim Sugden, Nic J?nsson and Justin Jackson driving the J3 Racing Porsche finished 6th in GT2 with tyre wear problems throughout the race that blunted their attack.
The normal distance that a Porsche RSR can cover on the regulation fuel tank capacity would be about 50 laps of this 2.54 mile circuit but under the race conditions all 3 drivers in the J3 car found the performance going away after about half that distance. The wear was so severe that Nic Jonsson had a tyre blow whilst at top speed approaching turn 10. The resulting spin put the car into the gravel trap and time was lost extracting the car and returning to the pits to repair some damage. After this blowout the team found that it could not trust the tyres for a full 50 lap sting and had to make extra stops for safety reasons so that 6th place at the end was a reasonable result.
"The car is quite quick," said Sugden. "When we are on fresh tyres we can keep pace with the leaders. The tyres go away really fast and then the times just rise and we have to pit. I am not sure if it was because of the temperature being pretty hot today or something else. We had some penalties and contact with other cars, it was a long day."
Jönsson echoes Sugden's thoughts. "The tyres are really difficult here. You get a lot of wear on the left rear tyre of the car as most of the turns are right-handers. My tyre puncture sent me into the turn ten gravel and cost a couple of laps. We had the car handling pretty good, but it was tough to keep it under us for a full stint like the other cars."
With its fastest lap at 1:23.861, the car was just 6 tenths of a second slower than the fastest GT2 lap, thus demonstrating that they had the pace for a much better result. Nevertheless 6th place moves Tim up to 4th in the ALMS drivers table and J3 remain 4th in the teams table.
The next race on Tim's schedule is on the 15th October at the Laguna Seca circuit in California, the final ALMS race and then on to China for the Zuhai FIA GT race driving the GruppeM Porsche RSR with Emmanuel Collard on 23rd October.