six speed Orbit Racing is back in endurance mode, ready for a six-hour Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant (Que.) on May 23. The Florida team knows how to prepare a car for long races, evidenced by its GT...
Orbit Racing is back in endurance mode, ready for a six-hour Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant (Que.) on May 23. The Florida team knows how to prepare a car for long races, evidenced by its GT class victory (second place overall) in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in February. Three of the team's Daytona drivers - Rolex Series GT points leader Mike Fitzgerald of Fountain Hills, Ariz., and Jay and Joe Policastro of Latrobe, Pa. - will drive the No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS at Mont-Tremblant.
Joe Policastro said the 2.65-mile road course will require a different car setup, but reliability is still the key to a long race.
"The actual car setup will be adjusted to the track conditions. Daytona is an oval with infield road track configurations added. Mont-Tremblant is a true road track with elevations," he noted. "With a long race, we have to be sure that we can run trouble-free. This is a six-hour race, so unlike a 24-hour, we don't have any time for repairs. This is what Orbit Racing does best: attention to detail."
Jay Policastro and his father Joe will see Mont-Tremblant for the first time this week, but they have done their homework. Jay Policastro explained his strategy for new tracks:
"I review track and elevation maps to get an idea of what vision will be like. Then I usually talk with someone who has run the circuit before. I also look at the lap time relevant to the distance to see what the speeds will feel like. Videos or in-car cameras are great - I usually study the video feed until I memorize the track, shift points and apex marks. If all goes well, once we hit the track it only takes about four or five laps to get in a decent lap time zone."
Mike Fitzgerald doesn't change his preparation for longer races - he is already in shape, a result of working out two to four hours per day, six days each week. He uses a customized fitness program developed by Athletes' Performance in Tempe, Ariz. He was the first of only two drivers to train at the institute, which is renowned for its work with professional and elite athletes.
"It's one of the most sophisticated places in the world for athletic training," Fitzgerald said. "They train professional athletes, a lot of NFL football players, a lot of major league baseball players. They train golfers, soccer players and basketball players. They train a lot of famous people - and me!"