Watkins Glen II: Orbit Racing preview

short shift Orbit Racing returns to Watkins Glen International bouyed by momentum and a recent podium finish at the New York track. The Aug. 13 Rolex Sports Car Series race will be the second in six days, following a race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car...

short shift

Orbit Racing returns to Watkins Glen International bouyed by momentum and a recent podium finish at the New York track. The Aug. 13 Rolex Sports Car Series race will be the second in six days, following a race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. In the team's last Watkins Glen start, Joe and Jay Policastro of Latrobe, Pa., combined with Mike Fitzgerald of Fountain Hills, Ariz., for a third-place GT finish in a six-hour Rolex Series race on June 20. Although that race was on the 3.4-mile grand prix course, Joe Policastro believes the team will do well on the shorter 2.45-mile road course.

"This year, we started with a great success [GT victory and second overall in the Rolex 24 at Daytona] and we're continuing to build on that success. We're coming right off Mid-Ohio, so the seat will still be warm, so to speak," he said. "We're using the short course - the NASCAR course - so it will be a quicker race, less turns, less shifting. The thing we can carry from the six-hour race is to be consistent. We've got a great crew and a great driver lineup. We know what the car can do and we know what the drivers can do."

aero fast

Mike Fitzgerald has won on the long course at Watkins Glen, but this week's Rolex Series race will be his first on the short course. He thinks the shorter track length could benefit the team's No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

"I think the Porsches might be a little bit better off because it's more of a high-speed course. I've heard it's one of the fastest-average-speed road courses in North America," he said. "I think that will help us relative to the [GT class-leading] BMWs because the Porsche has better aerodynamics - less drag - so it's capable of a higher top speed."

heat seeker

Jay Policastro matches his fitness training to his race schedule, which allows him a quick recovery from the rigors of racing.

"I will only be in the car for one and one-quarter hours at a time. My training is aligned with that time - my cardio workouts are from 75 to 90 minutes in 80-plus-temp heat. When I work out, I do not use air conditioning, only ambient conditions," he said. "I actually hope it is hot and muggy [for the race]. That would play perfect into the Orbit team's hands."

He recently added more strength training to his regimen, following the lead of Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher. "I'm not sure it will have a big effect in the car," Policastro said. "But if it helps him, it cannot be all bad!"

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Joseph Policastro Jr.