CB Motorsports / DLGL HRIS Software Lexus-Riley Makes Successful Debut at California Speedway It was a weekend of firsts for Chris Bingham and Hugo Guenette and their brand new Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototype. Having had virtually no...
CB Motorsports / DLGL HRIS Software Lexus-Riley Makes Successful Debut at California Speedway
It was a weekend of firsts for Chris Bingham and Hugo Guenette and their brand new Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototype. Having had virtually no on-track time to properly shake down and prepare for the third race of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season, the FERRARI MASERATI 400 at California Fontana Speedway, the CB Motorsports / DLGL HRIS Software team still achieved a very credible finish for a new team and a new car running in North Americas most competitive road racing series for prototype race cars.
Bingham took delivery of the new car just one week prior to the FERRARI MASERATI 400 at California Fontana Speedway. There was just enough time to get the car painted and transported to the track, with no opportunity to test or tweak the car before putting it up against some of the best teams and drivers in professional sportscar racing today. But this new team of professional racers - many of whom came together for the first time this weekend - made magic happen.
Bingham: "Our weekend went very well. We knew coming in that the competition and the clock were looking to challenge us. But we feel we met them both head on and we are coming away from our first race with a real sense of accomplishment.
"We thought we would get our first crack at some track time on Thursday but practice was cancelled due to high winds. Friday was our first day to ever shake the car down. And given we had so little time to prepare; our team could not have done a better job! Our goal was just to finish the race clean and in one piece and we not only did that, we managed to stay on the lead lap being as high as 5th at one point in the race."
Hugo Guénette qualified the new car in the 14th spot on the grid, which put him in front of eight other Daytona Prototypes at the start. When the checkered flag fell, they had moved up to 11th overall and were almost able to finish in the top ten.
Bingham: "We would have had a top ten finish if the caution had not come out on Lap 47 (FULL COURSE CAUTION due to the No. 20 Pontiac stopped on track at Turn 3). This gave many of the teams the chance to make fuel and driver changes. If the track had stayed green, we would have been able to finish the race with just one more stop, while most of the leaders would have had to make two stops."
Most all of the other Riley DPs in the race had been in competition before and so were set up for a solid run to the front. For a first time out, this team and this particular Riley chassis made a strong showing. "We were struggling with the balance a bit against the other Riley's but that is just because we need more time with the car. Once we get some proper testing in we expect to draw out all the potential speed and handling from our Lexus-Riley that the other Riley teams have already gathered.
"All things considered, our new team members all gelled very well. Everybody found a position that needed to be filled and filled it with precision and ability. There were no mistakes made during our pit stops - they were spot on - and everyone did a really great job. And my co-driver Hugo Guenette did a great job all weekend too, from qualifying to the race. We didn't put a wheel wrong all day, we brought the car home in one piece, and we gained valuable experience.
"I think if we can finish in the top 10 throughout each of the remaining races in this, our first season, we would consider that to be a successful first season. But I can say that we will be working as hard as we can to quickly become a top 5 team! And the view from the podium would be our first choice!"
The next event on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series schedule is the U.S. SPORTS CAR INVITATIONAL at Mazda Raceway.