SCC: Santo Domingo: Friday practice notes

Maxwell, Multimatic and Mustang Pace Opening Miller Grand-Am Cup 200 Practice at Santo Domingo SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (March 11, 2005) -- Scott Maxwell and the No. 55 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang GT paced the field Friday in the...

Maxwell, Multimatic and Mustang Pace Opening Miller Grand-Am Cup 200 Practice at Santo Domingo

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (March 11, 2005) -- Scott Maxwell and the No. 55 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang GT paced the field Friday in the opening day of practice for the Miller Grand-Am Cup 200 at Las Americas Autodromo in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The Santo Domingo race is the first event outside North America for the five-year-old Grand-Am Cup Series, and the initial day of on-track activity was safe and successful, with ample amounts of race fans and media turning out to take their first look at Grand-Am Cup racing.

Maxwell turned the day's fastest time in the second of two practice sessions on Friday afternoon, lapping the 1.655-mile track in 1:23.873 (71.036 mph). It was another impressive showing for the latest version of Ford's famous pony car following a victory last month at Daytona where the similar machine of Ian James and Tom Nastasi won in the debut race for the 2005 Mustang GT. Maxwell and teammate David Empringham also led at the Daytona opener en route to a second-place finish.

"It was a clean lap," Maxwell said. "We made a lot of changes between the practice sessions. We must have made the changes the car liked. The lap was on fresh tires, so it's not exactly an indicator of how we are going to be in the race. The car is quicker on fresh tires, so the key is trying to be quick on old tires."

The lap bettered the top time of 1:24.311 (70.667 mph) set by Bill Auberlen in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 in the day's first practice sessions Friday morning.

"The car is okay, it's brand new so we needed to get some miles on it," Auberlen said. "The track is tight, so you need to stay out of trouble and not get any damage. The BMW is known for its consistency, and I think that's where we could have an advantage."

Auberlen's quick lap was good enough to be the second-fastest time of the day, while the No. 6 Zoom Motorsports Porsche 996 of Darren Law ended up third-fastest overall with a Friday afternoon time of 1:24.393 (70.598 mph).

"The team made a lot of changes after the first practice session," Law said. "Our car is decent, it's not where we want it to be but it's getting there. We're happy. The race is going to be interesting. The track is pretty tight and it's easy to overdrive and cook the tires."

Although three different makes and models--Ford Mustang GT, MNW M3 and Porsche 996--were represented in the day's overall top-three times, BMW came out swinging in the morning session with M3s taking the top-six spots. Among the group was the No. 99 Anchor Racing BMW M3 of Boris Said, who trailed only Auberlen in the morning session with a best lap time of 1:24.551 (70.466 mph).

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Scott Maxwell , Ian James , Darren Law , David Empringham , Tom Nastasi
Teams Turner Motorsport , Multimatic Motorsports