street savvy Alex Job Racing enters the American Le Mans Series race in Washington, D.C., looking for its fourth GT victory of the season. But the team will have to overcome the inherent challenges of tight turns and close concrete...
Alex Job Racing enters the American Le Mans Series race in Washington, D.C., looking for its fourth GT victory of the season. But the team will have to overcome the inherent challenges of tight turns and close concrete barriers that typify a temporary circuit, plus the effects of sweltering temperatures, to top the podium on July 21.
Sascha Maassen, who drives the No. 23 McKenna Xybernaut Porsche with Lucas Luhr, has achieved his biggest wins on street circuits in Macau and Singen, Germany. He believes patience is the key to avoiding costly mishaps on the 1.7-mile Washington track.
"I drive really slowly and carefully and don't touch the walls!" he said. "Street circuits don't normally have a lot of grip, but the level of grip raises during the weekend. If you start pushing from the first moment, you are starting with risk when there is no need to risk anything, because the track will get quicker anyway. You should concentrate on staying on the track, improve your car and wait."
Jörg Bergmeister enjoys the precision required on temporary tracks such as the course used for the Formula One grand prix in Monaco. He will closely examine the Washington layout before getting into the No. 22 Porsche he drives with Timo Bernhard.
"I like Monaco and everything that's tight and narrow," he said. "You have to drive very precisely, with no mistakes. It's very important that you know the bumps and how the car feels on the bumps. I always try to have a look at the track before I drive [the race car], walking and then with a scooter. The more you've done before, the easier it is."
Both people and equipment will be tested by expected high temperatures in Washington. Team owner Alex Job will make sure his team members are well-hydrated with water and electrolytes. Driver-cooling systems will be used in the race cars and the crew will keep a careful eye on car components that could be affected by the heat.
"The last time we had a very high heat situation was at Texas [Motor Speedway] in 2000," Job recalled. "It was much hotter there, but this race track is much tighter and shorter. We've never run at this facility before, so we have no data to go on. Since it's been quite a few years since we've run on a street course, we're going to have to react and adjust."