Mid-Ohio: Orbit Racing preview

Porsche lite Orbit Racing will have a lighter race car for the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 7. A series rule change reduced the minimum weight by 125 pounds, making the team's No. 44 Classic Industries...

Porsche lite

Orbit Racing will have a lighter race car for the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 7. A series rule change reduced the minimum weight by 125 pounds, making the team's No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS lighter and faster. Mike Fitzgerald of Fountain Hills, Ariz., who drives the car with Joe and Jay Policastro of Latrobe, Pa., said the change may help the Porsche squad against the BMW M3s that currently lead the GT class.

"I'm really excited about driving a car that's lighter! It should help with tire wear, so we'll have faster, longer stints, and it should help with handling, braking and acceleration - pretty much everything," he said. "The Orbit guys have been doing some new things we haven't tried before on the car, so who knows? Maybe we'll have a little something for the BMWs."

Fitzgerald will be a strong force on track. His record of Mid-Ohio wins includes a double podium finish in 2001 - first and third in the same race!

precision

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, is a home track for father and son Joe and Jay Policastro, who live only three hours away. They took their first racing school at Mid-Ohio, and have raced both vintage and professional series on the 2.25-mile road course. Jay Policastro said the pair's first track session was delayed by snow that limited visibility to 50 feet. Despite the chilly start, he learned a lot about the track.

"Momentum is the key to Mid Ohio," he said. "You have to be very precise and stay on line while carrying as much speed as possible. You cannot cheat and be fast at Mid-Ohio. Although this is the same principal of driving you use everywhere, Mid-Ohio requires a particular precision, unlike some other tracks, to crank off a fast lap time."

coach!

Joe Policastro is driving his fastest laps this year and enjoying every moment. He attributes the improvement to Mike Fitzgerald's car setup and coaching skills.

"It's really a great combination for Jay and I to have Mike with us," he said. "We've learned a lot from him. He knows so much about setup, it's really helped us immensely. With his engineering background, he can really relate to Rodger [team owner Hawley] about what we need to do. Mike has been tutoring me and it's had a heck of an impact on my performance."

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jay Policastro