Lites: Tom Drewer weekend summary

Drewer wins race 1 but off-track excursion costs him second race win at Lime Rock. Tom Drewer has won race 1 at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park near Lakeville, Connecticut, extending his lead in the IMSA Lites L2 Championship. This...

Drewer wins race 1 but off-track excursion costs him second race win at Lime Rock.

Tom Drewer has won race 1 at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park near Lakeville, Connecticut, extending his lead in the IMSA Lites L2 Championship.

This win takes Drewer's IMSA Lites L2 championship run to five firsts in five starts.

The young Australian led the L2 class from start to finish after earning L2 pole in the previous days qualifying session.

Lime Rock's schedule was intense, with two practice sessions and one qualifying session compressed into just the one day.

"Lime Rock was always going to be an interesting weekend for us. Like every track I visit this year it is my first time and what makes Lime Rock more challenging is that we only had two sessions before qualifying to get it right.

I made good progress in practice sessions one and two, and in qualifying reduced my time a further two seconds to finish 7th overall, and on pole for L2.

I would have liked to have been a little higher amongst the more powerful L1s especially after we finished second outright in Utah. I think we could have shown a little more pace in qualifying and in the end fell just short of our goal, due to session being stopped prematurely by a red flag.

It's such a cliche to say `if I had another lap...' but I think it was true, however, we still met our objective of an L2 pole."

In race 1, Drewer showed his true pace, setting a new track L2 lap record of 56.145 seconds.

"The race was interesting. With everyone new to the re-configured track we knew there was the chance of carnage over the first few laps so I kept the championship in mind and took a slightly conservative approach.

Once the race had taken a set I knuckled down and set about refining my line and increasing the pace. I ended up taking a further 1.5 seconds off my qualifying performance which was good progress. We also reduced the gap to the fastest L1 driver, Jonathan Goring, from around 3 seconds to just 1.5 seconds. It was great to get another trifecta- the pole, win and track lap record".

Drewer's race one lap time qualified him 1st in class and 8th overall for race two and while it looked as if he was on track for a sixth win it didn't happen.

"The start of race 2 was absolute mayhem. We all went into turn one carrying far too much speed. Everyone was locking brakes. There were cars going everywhere. I lost a few places in that shuffle before they brought out a safety car to clear the carnage.

On the restart I jostled with my team mate Eric Vassian and he took the L2 class lead from me going into turn 1.

From there it was just a case of waiting for a few laps. I could see where I was faster than him and I knew when I got past I would be able to pull away.

Heading up the hill out of the first of the new chicanes we both got stuck behind a back-marker and I pounced. Somehow I managed to thread the car through the gap. How I managed it I don't quite know. It was awesome. Eric thought it was unbelievable too.

Now in the L2 lead, I immediately pulled a small gap and looking good for another win.

I came up to the back of Anthony Nicolosi's L1. I knew that if I could get past him I'd have a car between myself and Eric and be able to get a good gap on him in the fresh air. It would have also put me into 6th place overall.

I was faster than Nicolosi but the extra torque of the L1 was making it difficult to pass. I decided that somewhere between turn 1 and turn three was where I had the best run on him.

I was going to take him coming into turn three, but as I set up my car to the outside of 2 he seemed to brake hard and I thought I could get him around the outside.

Cont. Instead this forced me onto the dirty part of the track and I had to straighten the wheel as the car tried to snap sideways on me. I aborted the corner and took to the grass.

Unfortunately the car's front splitter dug into the infield, demolishing itself and my entire front bodywork in the process. Anywhere else and I probably would have got away with it but the undulation in the grass bit me. I tried to keep going but had no front down force and the engine started to overheat as the radiator ducts were compromised. I had to finish my race in the pits.

I was a little surprised that Nicolosi just didn't let me through earlier; we're in different classes and not racing for points. So it was odd that he was defending and fighting the position so much. But for the same reason I should have just been more patient. It was very out of character for me to make this kind of mistake. I shouldn't have been out there- not at that part of the corner. It was low percentage and I take full responsibility. I only have myself to blame.

Fortunately we were classified as finishing fourth in class. So my lead in the Championship wasn't knocked around too much.

It's a real shame because up until that move we hadn't put a foot wrong all weekend, taking class pole for the first race, the race 1 win, and fastest lap with a new Track Lap Record, which resulted in class pole for race 2.

Again this weekend I worked with Randy Aust, my new driver coach and I was extremely happy with the progress we made during the weekend.

Everything was going smoothly. The West Race Team and my engineer Jake prepared a perfect car. We hardly tweaked the set-up all weekend. It was basically perfect straight out of the box.

I felt extremely inspired this weekend after meeting fellow Australian David Brabham on Friday. He is one of my heroes and to talk to him and hear his advice was awesome.

I'm just disappointed because there are so many people who are supporting me back home and I just wanted to give them and the Daily Planet the best result possible. I also wanted to give my father two race wins this weekend- it was his birthday today.

Obviously the damage incurred will also put a dent in the budget for this year as well. But look, as I said, I only have my self to blame. This is my error for the year and it has cost me. I will put it behind me and look forward to the next race at Mosport in Canada."


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About this article
Series IMSA Others
Drivers David Brabham , Jonathan Goring , Eric Vassian , Anthony Nicolosi , Tom Drewer