Mont-Tremblant: Doran-Lista Racing preview

Three former winners to defend Doran-Lista's victory at Mont-Tremblant six hours this Sunday With hottest Marque in the Series, the DORAN JE4 MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Sept. 16 - Three former winners of the Six Hours of Mont-Tremblant Grand Am...

Three former winners to defend Doran-Lista's victory at Mont-Tremblant six hours this Sunday
With hottest Marque in the Series, the DORAN JE4

MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Sept. 16 - Three former winners of the Six Hours of Mont-Tremblant Grand Am Rolex Series race will join forces on the team that set the largest margin of victory ever in the history of the series at last year's race when the circuit makes its second appearance at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant this weekend.

What's more, they'll be driving the hottest marque in the series, as the DORAN JE4 has won the last three straight Grand Am Rolex Series races.

Due to the rules changes which replaced the Sports Racing Prototypes with the new Daytona Prototypes, Doran-Lista Racing will campaign a new Daytona Prototype designed and built at its Lebanon, Ohio headquarters instead of the Dallara with which it won last year's race by the incredible margin of 13 laps.

Two of the team's drivers last September will return for this year's race. Lead driver Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz., will be joined again by Fredy Lienhard Sr. of Niederteufen, Switzerland. The third driver this year will be another winner, Bill Auberlen of Hermosa Beach, Calif., who was victorious here last year in the GT class and finished second overall to the Doran-Lista team.

Both Theys and Auberlen hold track records here. Last year Theys won the pole in the Doran-Lista Dallara with a lap at 1:22.961 for an average speed of 114.994 mph around the 2.65-mile, 15-turn road course. Auberlen set the fastest lap of the race in the GT class with a 1:35.975 (99.401 mph) in the Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Ferrari 360GT. The driver Auberlen is replacing here this year, Fredy Lienhard Jr., set the fastest lap of the race itself in the Doran-Lista Dallara with a 1:24.201 (113.300 mph).

Although this year everything changed with the introduction of the new Daytona Prototype cars, some things are very much the same. Legendary team owner Kevin Doran is still breaking new ground, but lately it's been as the designer and builder of the new DORAN JE4. Bell Motorsports has been campaigning one powered by a Chevrolet engine since the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in February, and has won the last three Grand Am Rolex Series races. Doran-Lista Racing introduced one powered by a Toyota engine at the last race, the Bully Hill Vineyards 250 at Watkins Glen, N.Y. in August, and Theys and Auberlen brought it home third in its maiden event.

In the month between races, Doran-Lista Racing has conducted two wind-tunnel tests on the car to further refine it. Although only a little bit of tweaking was the result and Doran doesn't want to divulge too much about the tests, he said "We were able to get some new information which was very interesting and should help both the Doran-Lista team and the Bell Motorsports car go quicker at Canada.

"As typical of this kind of testing, some things we already knew were confirmed and quantified, and some other interesting things popped up which were surprising," Doran said.

"We were only optimizing the original design," Doran added, emphasizing that any changes to the DORAN JE4 would be small ones. "We were just fine-tuning the current package."

The car that the team will field at Mont-Tremblant is for sale, as are others currently under construction just like it.

Theys, who led early and convincingly at Watkins Glen in the DORAN JE4 Toyota, is also optimistic about the team's chances in Canada.

"The car should be even better at Mont-Tremblant than it was at the Glen," the reigning SRP driver champion predicted. " We'll find out. We weren't able to test, but we learned some things at the Glen that should help us. The complete package looks even better than it was before."

Auberlen is also upbeat. "Mont-Tremblant has some long straightaways, and the DORAN car's aero package is very efficient," he pointed out. "I think we could have a very good event there.

"Mont-Tremblant definitely is one of my most favorite tracks that I've ever been to," Auberlen continued. "If I was going to lay out a track, it would be a lot like Mont-Tremblant."

It's one of Theys' favorites too. "I love the track," he said firmly. "It has elevation changes and lots of different right- and left-handed turns. It's a driver's track, and I love them."

Lienhard Sr. is also looking forward to racing in Canada.

"Of course, I have very good memories about Mont Tremblant," he said from his home in Switzerland. "It is a nice track and in a beautiful country-side.

"Last year, Didier and my son helped me to win these six hours," he continued. "It was an unforgettable experience, also because it all happened around my 55th birthday. This year, I will start as a 56-year-old already. I am a little bit concerned about my fitness as I haven't driven a race car for more than half a year. To make it even more challenging, I will have to adapt to a new car which I have never driven before.

"But I remain optimistic, also because I know we have two very good drivers, Didier and Bill. They will have to do most of the 'work' so I can take it in a more relaxed way. This will be important for me because my main objective is to meet my team again. I am looking forward to that very much."

Qualifying for the Daytona Prototypes will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 1:25 p.m. to 1:40 p.m. The six-hour race starts the following day at 11 a.m. It will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

After Mont-Tremblant only two races remain on the Grand Am Rolex Series schedule: the VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. on Oct. 3-5, a 400-kilometer event, and the three-hour Grand American Champions Weekend at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Didier Theys , Fredy Lienhard , Bill Auberlen , Kevin Doran