Both SAMAX Motorsport GT cars turned their best laps of the week in qualifying for the Saturday evening Rolex Sports Car Series race at Homestead Miami Speedway. Rob Bell qualified the No. 17 SAMAX Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car third on the GT grid with...
Both SAMAX Motorsport GT cars turned their best laps of the week in qualifying for the Saturday evening Rolex Sports Car Series race at Homestead Miami Speedway. Rob Bell qualified the No. 17 SAMAX Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car third on the GT grid with a flying lap of one minute 22.069 seconds on the 2.3-mile infield road course. He'll split driving stints with John Dalziel for the two-hour 45-minute race. Greg Wilkins qualified eighth in class in the No. 71 SAMAX/Doncaster Racing Porsche he shares with Dave Lacey (1:22.564).
"It was a new experience. I've never driven at dusk, so the sun was in my eyes a little bit. But once I got one or two laps under my belt, I settled down quite quickly and was able to just turn consistent, quick laps," Bell said. "Peter [Baron, team owner] came on the radio and said we needed a 22-flat. I did one, so I thought, 'Yes! Could be pole,' then of course the others went quicker as well. But still, starting third is a good result."
The SAMAX/Doncaster Racing crew tried a new setup strategy this weekend, and it produced results.
"The weekend has proven to be reasonably challenging. The track is quite green and the conditions are quite a bit different than they were [at the last race] in Mexico," Wilkins said. "We're going in a different direction from our teammates and we're moving away from the traditional setup that generally works for these cars. It's a bit of a gamble, but the car is getting better. I think we'll be okay, but it's a lot of hard work to make it happen."
He was happy to post his quickest laps during qualifying: "The crew guys really did a great job getting the car ready for qualifying. They made some decisions between the last practice and qualifying. It was definitely the right call; we knocked a full second and a half off our fastest time in practice, so it's the right time to do it."
Rob Bell gave up rugby for motorsport, but he hasn't regretted the decision. "Because rugby is a very physical game, it doesn't really work if you turn up to a motorsport meeting with a black eye and a few teeth missing," he noted.
Squash now provides his off-track challenge: "It's great for fitness and you have to think ahead. It's like doing cardio and playing chess at the same time."