St. Pete: Series pre-race spotlight - GT2 teams

KEYS TO GT2 SUCCESS IN ST. PETERSBURG With an astounding seven manufacturers present in GT2 for the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg, strategies and setups are likely to be different for each entry. The goal...

KEYS TO GT2 SUCCESS IN ST. PETERSBURG

With an astounding seven manufacturers present in GT2 for the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg, strategies and setups are likely to be different for each entry. The goal remains the same though - stay clean and collect as many American Le Mans Series championship points as possible. We asked representatives from each marque why they will be successful this weekend and what the keys to Saturday's race might be.

Dominik Farnbacher, Driver
Panoz Team PTG, Panoz Esperante GTLM

"The key factor in my eyes will be qualifying. It is so hard to overtake here. If someone is on the proper racing line and perfectly defends their position, it is almost impossible to go around. You have to have a fast car or be on the straight with a lot of power to get around. The transition from airport tarmac to street pavement can be tricky, plus there is an elevation change and the circuit falls away from you through Turn 3. That is a very tricky part of the track."

Gregory Loles, Owner
Farnbacher Loles Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

"I think the Porsches, including our car, should be very good on this type of circuit. We have a good amount of torque in our cars, and our guys are well-versed on street circuits, both in this Series and in others. There are a lot of good places to pass here, unlike some other street circuits. We are keeping an eye on the weather. If qualifying is wet tomorrow, we feel very good about our car's performance and handling. But we'd still like a dry race."

Chris Hall, Driver
Primetime Race Group, Dodge Viper Competition Coupe

"This will be a tough challenge for us because of our front-engine configuration and weight of the car. Tracks like Sebring, Utah and Road America allow us to stretch the legs of the car, and you can't really do that here. But with all that said, I think we'll be much better than we were last year. We have to get to the finish to have a chance, and that will be our focus."

Tommy Milner, Driver
BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team, BMW M3

"Now that we're past Sebring, you take a look at the other cars and see what they are capable of. Our advantage is that the car is really good under braking and in mid-corner speeds. This track really suits us more than Sebring, for example. We don't depend too much on straightline speed here."

Andrew "H" Smith, Team Manager
Robertson Racing, Doran Ford GT MK 7

"Keeping it clean and out of the pits will be what the race boils down to. If you get in trouble here, then it's over. There is no time to make up positions. You have options at a race as long as Sebring. Having a mid- engine car like ours does help in the transition from turn to turn. It's definitely the way to go and keeps the car balanced."

Jaime Melo, Driver
Risi Competizione, Ferrari F430 GT

"I like street circuits and especially St Pete; it's fast but at the same time very technical. The schedule is very tight and there is not much track time, so strategy will be important - something that's taken care of very well by our engineers Rick Mayer and Don Shaver. The track is quite difficult to set up the car as there's a long straight and hard braking and a few very slippery corners."

Eric Curran, Driver
LG Motorsports, Corvette C6

"In my first race with the team at Miller Motorsports Park last year I got the car up to third place, the team's highest running position to date. The team has shown constant improvement and we feel we have the potential to get on the podium. This week at St. Pete, the LG Pro Long Tube Header Corvette will be partnering with Whelen Engineering. Plus, we're really happy that Corvette fans will have our GT2 Corvette flying the Corvette banner for them."

The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg is the second round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series. The green flag is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 4 from the St. Petersburg street circuit. ABC Sports will televise the race live beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET Live Timing & Scoring and American Le Mans Radio can be found at the new americanlemans.com. Satellite radio subscribers can hear the race live from 1 to 3:30 p.m. ET on XM Channel 244 and Sirius Channel 126.

The race also will mark the first street race for the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge. For tickets, visit americanlemans.com or gpstpete.com.

-credit: alms

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Hall , Jaime Melo , Eric Curran , Tommy Milner , Dominik Farnbacher
Teams LG Motorsports , Risi Competizione