Teams shake down cars at Road America

BRASELTON, Ga. (February 17, 2001) -- Six teams from the American Le Mans Series took advantage of a testing session at Road Atlanta to shake down their cars Saturday in preparation for the season-opening event that is only two weeks...

BRASELTON, Ga. (February 17, 2001) -- Six teams from the American Le Mans Series took advantage of a testing session at Road Atlanta to shake down their cars Saturday in preparation for the season-opening event that is only two weeks away. The third season of the sports car endurance racing series will begin with the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas on March 4 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Tex. Though the testing session at Road Atlanta was on a circuit that the ALMS will not visit until the October running of the Petit Le Mans, the teams on hand braved cold morning temperatures in order to get some lapping done before the Texas race. Participating teams included Panoz Motor Sports and Lista Doran Racing (Prototype); and Alex Job Racing, BMW Team PTG, Jack Lewis Racing and Trinkler Racing (GT). The Panoz Motor Sports team was not only continuing to shake down its new Prototype racer, but was also giving new driver Gualter Salles his first runs in one of the team's cars. "It was my first time in the car and the first time on this track," said the Brazilian, who was only named to join the two-car Panoz team last week. "And this is a tough track. I'm taking my time learning the car and we improved a lot during the day. I'm so excited to be doing the series and to be with the team. Everything works as it should. I just get in and drive the car." Salles, who is teamed with Klaus Graf, was piloting a 2000 version of the Panoz LMP-1 car, while teammates David Brabham and Jan Magnussen continued developmental testing of the 2001 Panoz LMP 07. The BMW team, with Bill Auberlen and Nic Jonsson sharing the testing duties, was working with a BMW M3 that it used in competition last year. The team expects to receive new V8-powered versions of the car later in the season. "We feel pleased," said Jonsson. "This is the same car we ran at Texas and Sebring (in 2000). We're looking at Texas as we have to get as close as we can to the Porsches. We're looking pretty good." Though testing was scheduled to start at 8 a.m., the track was an hour late opening due to damage from a violent thunderstorm on Friday night. Debris and several fallen billboards had to be cleared before the circuit was safe for race cars. Temperatures were in the 30's under overcast skies when the testing began, but warmed into the 50's under sunny skies as the day progressed. Except for a couple of harmless spins by Owen Trinkler in his new Corvette C5 GT car, and one minor off-track excursion by Lucas Luhr in one of the Alex Job Porsches, the day was incident-free. Testing will continue on Sunday.

-ALMS-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Alex Job Racing