Phoenix: Rand Racing Thursday practice report

Phoenix International Raceway Practice, April 18, 2002 night moves Rand Racing topped the SRPII class during the two Thursday practice sessions for Sunday's Rolex Sports Car Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Bill Rand, Niclas ...

Phoenix International Raceway
Practice, April 18, 2002

night moves

Rand Racing topped the SRPII class during the two Thursday practice sessions for Sunday's Rolex Sports Car Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Bill Rand, Niclas Jönsson and Marino Franchitti drove the new No. 7 Rand Racing Nissan Lola. Terry Borcheller and Ralf Kelleners drove the No. 8 car.

The second session was a night practice, in preparation for the Saturday evening race. Jönsson, who has driven many night races, explained the subtleties of racing at night.

"The difference is not that big here because the track is lit up pretty good. You have to know where the curbs are without really seeing them 100 per cent, but it's not that big a change from daylight," he said. "You have to pay a little more attention because there are a lot of guys who don't have a lot of experience. For example, when it's daylight, you can see when someone turns their head and looks in the mirrors. When it's dark, you can't see that."

fast at Phoenix

Ralf Kelleners finished second in the Grand-American Road Racing Series race at Phoenix in 2000. He noted the different car setup and driving style required for a strong performance on the 1.51-mile road course.

"The big difference to the other circuits is that we have a very low grip level here," he explained. "Here you need a lot of downforce, you need a soft car and you need a smooth drive. On other tracks where you have a flat surface, you go quite stiff [on suspension setup] and you try to run as low downforce as possible for a good top speed. Here you don't care as much about the top speed because you need to find everything that can help you in the corners."

As a driver, he said, "You have to be aggressive, but at the same time smooth. The car is wandering around all the time, so you always have to balance it on the edge."

tire talk

The Dunlop Racing Tires on the Rand Racing Lolas have a slim tread - just 5/32 of an inch. If the treads on the 800 tires used by the Rolex Series SRPII and GT teams this weekend were stacked together, they would reach only 10 feet. That's the height of a basketball hoop.

-rr/sp-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Terry Borcheller , Bill Rand , Marino Franchitti