Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team ninth in Gainsco Grand Prix of Miami practice HOMESTEAD, Fla. - The defending Grand Prix of Miami race winner and Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team driver Bill Auberlen turned the ninth quickest time in...
Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team ninth in Gainsco Grand Prix of Miami practice
HOMESTEAD, Fla. - The defending Grand Prix of Miami race winner and Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team driver Bill Auberlen turned the ninth quickest time in today's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype combined practice sessions at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s, Auberlen turned a fast lap of 1:14.048 (111.819 mph) around the 2.3-mile, 11-turn road course nearly halfway through combined one hour and forty-five minute practice session.
"We are a little bit behind the eight ball right now," Auberlen said. "The team now has to do what it does best and that is to find the answers to some of the issues we're having. I am confident they will find them. We need to find a way to put the power down better and make this thing like a little rocket like the Ruby Tuesday car usually is.
Despite several black flags due to off-track excursions by both GT and DP cars, Auberlen still managed to provide the team enough input to continue improving the car.
"Every time you come around the track, the conditions are slightly different because so many cars are having grip issues that they are sliding off the track and they are bringing a lot of dirt back onto the track," Auberlen said. "So, all of a sudden you come around a blind corner and there is dirt all over the place, while you've got your foot in it and then you're sliding. This means you need to be sharp and on your toes. Also, these conditions make it very difficult to setup the car because I did not go much more than a lap or two between black flags. We were coming in almost every lap and never got a good clean run to know what was going on with the car."
After more than an hour in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche-powered Crawford, the team had driver Joey Hand try a few different setup changes during the session's later stages.
"I said before we came here that we were going to have to be good almost right out of the truck," Hand said. "I think there are handful of cars that have got it figured out and little better than we do right now. But, because we weren't here for the test, I think we are a little bit behind. I think we might play catch up all weekend. Right now, we've got some work to do on the car. The big thing is we've got a power down loose issue. We threw three or four changes at it when I got into the car. And, with each change we gained a little bit. For me, that was worth five or sixth tenths in lap times. If we continue to make changes like that, we are going to be in the hunt."
"Despite all the black flags, I am really encouraged about where our car is right now," Team Owner Alex Job said. "I like the direction our car is going and we should be ready for tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions."