Watkins Glen: Orbit Racing qualifying report

too short Orbit Racing needed more gear power during qualifying for the six-hour Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen International. Mike Fitzgerald qualified the No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS seventh on the GT grid with a...

too short

Orbit Racing needed more gear power during qualifying for the six-hour Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen International. Mike Fitzgerald qualified the No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS seventh on the GT grid with a lap of one minute 57.333 seconds on the 3.4-mile road course. He will alternate driving stints with Joe and Jay Policastro in Sunday's race.

"We had a really nice car for qualifying, but we made a gear change and we put a little too short of a sixth gear in. I ended up running down the back straightaway at half-throttle, on the rev limiter," Fitzgerald explained. "We'll be quite a lot faster in the race, once we get that fixed. Other than that, the car was great and I think we'll have a good race tomorrow."

rain ready

Heavy rain interrupted track sessions at Watkins Glen on Friday and Saturday, but Orbit Racing was ready. No surprise - the team won the GT class in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, after 20 hours of rain. Team owner Rodger Hawley noted a rain strategy involves changes for both the car and drivers.

"If it rains for six hours, we'll try to cover up some electrical components in the car and try to block some of the holes in the car that we use to take air into the car to cool the drivers. We'll make the car easier to drive in the rain by softening it up, maybe even raise it up if there's a lot of water on the ground," he explained. "But i's really in the hands of the drivers when it rains. They have to change gears in different position on the track, they have to be in different positions on the track for braking and they have to change their mentality completely because it's a slow-in, easy-out approach."

more rain

Mike Fitzgerald started the Watkins Glen race week in the rain, at a promotional go-kart race in Elmira, N.Y. His teammate Rick Goolsby (Grand American Road Racing Association marketing coordinator) opened up a one-lap lead in the 90-minute sprint race, but dropped back during a remote-controlled caution period. He was poised to regain the lead when the race was called because of heavy rain after one hour. Fitzgerald and the team's third driver, Andy Lally, didn't get to drive, but provided soggy support.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Lally