MATTCO RACING'S GOAL AT LIME ROCK PARK? TO MAKE A PIT STOP Lakeville, Conn., May 16, 1997: Mattco Racing has a single key item on its agenda for the Dodge Dealers Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day, Mon., May 26:...
MATTCO RACING'S GOAL AT LIME ROCK PARK? TO MAKE A PIT STOP Lakeville, Conn., May 16, 1997: Mattco Racing has a single key item on its agenda for the Dodge Dealers Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day, Mon., May 26: to make a pit stop. "This is a brand-new team, that came together within the last 90 days," says Matt Cohen, 24, of New York City, owner of Mattco Racing, which fields the No. 77 Alco Capital Group BMW M3 for Cohen and Pete Halsmer in the GTS-3 class of the Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive.
"The crew guys are still learning how to work together, and making good pit stops is one crucial area. At our first race together at Road Atlanta, we were taken out early, so we never had the chance to make a pit stop. With the Watkins Glen 6-hour race coming up, where several stops will be made, it's important that we get one or two under our belts. We know we have a great car, since Pete put it on the front row at Road Atlanta, and we've got a great group of crew members who bring a lot of experience from all forms of pro racing. Now all we need is the chemistry among the crew members to develop and grow into a winning effort."
"Anyone will tell you that a good pit stop can make the difference between winning and losing," says Halsmer, 53, of Bloomfield, Mich. "If you lose just a few seconds in a stop and have five stops in a six-hour race, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out where you can end up at the finish."
Cohen formed Mattco Racing in 1997, following a successful rookie year in SportsCar racing in 1996, when he earned seven top-10 finishes in eight races, in the same M3, which was then being prepared by Prototype Technology Group.
"I've always liked the shorter races," says Halsmer, whose best Lime Rock finish was a second in 1996 in GTS-2, "and this track is extremely challenging for a driver, primarily because there's no time to rest in the course of a lap. It's a very fast course, despite the fact there are no long straights like you find at most other tracks."
Cohen, who finished 10th here last year in GTS-2, concurs. "I was pretty amazed at how tough a track it is. Very deceptive. The corners are much faster than they appear. It's definitely a place where I need to get more seat time."
The 1-hour 45-minute GT race (including GTS-1, 2 and 3) on the 1.5-mile circuit at Lime Rock Park, round four in the 11-race 1997 SportsCar schedule of the Exxon Supreme GT series, gets underway at 4:10 p.m., and will air on Speedvision on June 1 and 2, and FOX Sports/Prime SportsChannel networks on June 11. Check local listings for times.