Birmingham: Orbit Racing race report

first family podium Orbit Racing scored a 2-3 GT finish in the Rolex Sports Car Series race at the new Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Local drivers Grady Wellingham and John Lewis finished second in GT, driving the No. 205 Porsche...

first family podium

Orbit Racing scored a 2-3 GT finish in the Rolex Sports Car Series race at the new Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Local drivers Grady Wellingham and John Lewis finished second in GT, driving the No. 205 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Orbit regulars Joe and Jay Policastro of Latrobe, Pa., finished third in the No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche - their first podium finish together.

Jay Policastro qualified the No. 44 Porsche fourth in class, after going off track with a brake problem. The crew made repairs overnight, giving the Policastros a strong car for the race.

Heavy rains left water on the 2.3-mile track, adding an extra level of difficulty. Jay Policastro drove the first stint, moving up to second in class in the first 15 minutes of the race. He pitted for a driver change during a caution period, but the caution was immediately withdrawn, costing the team valuable track position.

Father Joe Policastro took the second stint, but was hampered by contact from a prototype car trying to recover after a spin on the wet track. The Porsche's rear bumper was torn, unknown to Policastro, who incurred a penalty and another pitstop to remove the bumper. Jay Policastro drove the final stint, moving up to secure the final GT podium position.

survival race

"It rained until one hour before the race so there was a lot of water on the track," Joe Policastro noted. "It was almost like survival of the fittest! But we were able to keep it together. We tried some different moves with the car and made some good improvements, which will help with other courses that have similar turns with blind entries.

"It was a fun weekend for us. The best part was just enjoying the track. The facility is really something to see and it's a treat to drive the course. It's a hell of a track, a very demanding track on the driver. But once you know the track, it's not bad. I turned my fastest [lap] times during the race!"

skills and systems

Jay Policastro was also impressed with the race venue. "It's a fantastic track!" he enthused. "The track is extremely challenging technically, which is what we wanted to hone our skills and test ourselves against other drivers who knew the track. By the end of practice, we were faster than all of them!

"I'm delighted we had our first podium together," he said of the Policastro father-son first. "The Orbit team, as usual, did an outstanding job and we had a great weekend. We honed our driving skills and we developed a system mindset and thought process, so we can optimize test days and practice when we go to other tracks we haven't been to."

-or/sp-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Joseph Policastro Jr. , John Lewis