Pontiac Rolls Into Lime Rock Looking For Five Pontiac GXP.R teams have won the last four GT races Collins and Edwards lead GT points Magnussen and Fellows to team in Banner GXP.R Detroit, Mich., May 20, 2008 -- Pontiac GXP.R teams are ...
Pontiac Rolls Into Lime Rock Looking For Five
Pontiac GXP.R teams have won the last four GT races
Collins and Edwards lead GT points
Magnussen and Fellows to team in Banner GXP.R
Detroit, Mich., May 20, 2008 -- Pontiac GXP.R teams are heading straight from Laguna Seca to Lime Rock Park in Connecticut for round six of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 to be run on Memorial Day May 26. The GT only weekend will see the Pontiac teams looking to keep rolling with a fifth win on the year.
The 1.53-mile, seven turn, road course nestled in the Berkshire Mountain region will see the Pontiac GXP.Rs lapping the circuit in around 50-seconds. The tight circuit boasts six left hand turns and one right hander. The new Pirelli tire as well as increased competition at the front of the field will push the drivers to what will surely be track record times.
The duo of Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins have accounted for two of Pontiac's four wins on the season. The first victory came at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March and the second last weekend at Laguna Seca. Both wins have been very close. Last weekend in Monterey the No. 07 Banner Racing car took the victory only when the front running Mazda faltered in the Corkscrew with two laps remaining.
"The Pontiac has won the race the Lime Rock race last two years, Banner No. 06 last year and the GTO.R in '06," Edwards said. "There are more Pontiacs on the grid this year, so it should be another good weekend. The Banner car has been reliable. The Banner crew has done a great job preparing the cars during these fast turn arounds from race to race. We should be at least a second--and-half faster than last year. This is about average from the other circuits we have run on the new Pirelli tires. We can push all the way through a stint with these tires. The grip level will make us drivers work 110% all the time on a very busy track. In the pits the guys have consistently had the fastest stops. This makes us really strong. We will also need the right strategy. We need to keep it clean on the track and in the pits. It will be nice to have a GT only race. I miss those. Last year we had five. We will make the most it."
In the No. 6 Banner Racing Pontiac, team owner Leighton Reese has brought in sportscar super stars Ron Fellows and Jan Mangnussen. The duo has driven the Banner GXP.R on separate occasions, Magnussen at the Rolex 24 and Homestead, Fellows in Mexico City. This will be the first the pair is teamed together outside of their usual gig in the American Le Mans Series GT1 Corvettes. The No. 6 Banner team is the defending race winners from 2006 with drivers Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr.
"I'm really looking forward to being back in the Pontiac GXP.R with Ron," Magnusen said. "I understand the car was really good last year at Lime Rock, so I'm looking for a good result. Last year I enjoyed the layout of Lime Rock -- for a road circuit, it has the potential for some big penalties for small mistakes. It's a driver's circuit, real old school."
The Stevenson Motorsports team has accounted two of the GXP.R's wins this season. Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis logged wins in Mexico City and at Virginia International Raceway. At Laguna Seca last weekend the team's dream of a hat-trick was foiled by contact with another car causing rear-end damage that required a lengthy repair.
"The Pontiac GXP.R will be the car to beat at Lime Rock," Davis said. "The circuit really plays into the strong points of the car, and I was pleased to see that we will be running on the original layout again this year. Although the event at Laguna Seca was disappointing for us, we learned quite a bit that will help us improve for this weekend's event. We are going to focus on optimizing the set-up as quickly as possible to ensure that we make the most out of the available track time. From there, we will simply focus on the things that lead the Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R to victory lane twice last month. With the hard work ethic displayed by the crew, we are confident that we can return to our winning ways. The race strategy for the race this weekend is always a bit tricky due to the sub one minute lap times. It's just not possible to make a full service pit stop under green flag conditions without losing a lap. Also, the quality of drivers in the GT class normally lends to a race with less cautions than our combined races. Pit strategy is one of the things we do best at Stevenson Motorsports, so I hope that will favor our No.57 Pontiac GXP.R."
In the No. 72 Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac drivers Lawson Aschenbach and Tim Lewis Jr. come into Lime Rock with a lot of confidence. Lewis is the defending race winner, have won last year with Leighton Reese. The team also ran in second in the last third of the race at Laguna Seca just four days ago before contact ended their race early.
"I was able to win there last year," Lewis said. "We hope to have a strong showing, but we have had a lot of bad luck so far this year. It gives me a lot more confidence coming to a race we won last year. Autohaus is getting a good handle on the car and we should be strong. It would be nice to win the last professional race there before they reconstruct the track. Everyone will be faster there than last year with the new tires. We have to be on our game with strategy and in the pits and on the track. If you go down a lap you are in trouble. There is no Lucky Dog rule this year for making up a lap. The team has to be mistake free."
The Lime Rock GT Classic will be televised live on the SPEED Channel, May 26 starting at 2:00 p.m. ET.
-credit: gm racing