Managing traffic key to success at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Braselton, Ga. – The Claro/TracFone DeltaWing Racing Cars team heads to the picturesque rolling hills of Monterey, California this week looking for a solid finish in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda, race four of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of a handful of sports car race tracks that has hosted both iterations of the DeltaWing concept, the roadster and the current DWC13 Coupe. 2013 saw the first podium finish for the DeltaWing team, while the Coupe held the quick lap early in the race last year while running as high as seventh.
We’ll focus on finishing races and once we start doing that, we can focus on finishing on the top step of the podium.
Monterey also holds good memories for a number of the DeltaWing team members; Katherine Legge joined the team at the American Le Mans Series event in Monterey two years ago, Memo Rojas earned numerous podiums over the years at Mazda Raceway including a third-place finish in 2014, and race engineer Catherine Crawford took the GT class win at the 2012 Grand-Am race. Monterey has special meaning for Rojas – Mazda Raceway was the first U.S. track he competed on, at a Skip Barber event early in his career.
As always, traffic management will be the name of the game. Coming off a two-class race at Long Beach as well as two-class race at this event last season, handling the disparate speeds of each class will make the two hour, 40-minute event on Mazda Raceway’s 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit one of the more eventful races of the season.
The Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M. ET on Sunday. The qualifying show will be live on IMSA.com at 7:15 P.M. ET Saturday.
Memo Rojas: “I’m excited to get back to Mazda Raceway; it’s one of my favorite tracks in North America. I’ve won there in many classes and had many pole positions. The first time I drove in the United States was there; my dad took me from Mexico City to Monterey for the Skip Barber school, so I have very fond memories. And I love the track. For me, what makes a good track even better is elevation changes.
Mazda Raceway has some of the biggest elevation changes of any track we race on, like the drop from the Corkscrew. It’s fun, like a roller coaster on four wheels. It’s challenging because it’s narrow, and with all the traffic, it will be interesting. The biggest challenge is to try and get a clear lap in practice! The car was quick there last year and I expect we can have good pace and get a good result, if we have the reliability. The team is working hard to make this happen.”
Katherine Legge: “This has been a good track for us, speed-wise, as the DeltaWing can really use its acceleration advantage. Last year was just two classes, so adding the other two classes this year will definitely make for an even more eventful race – it should be a great race for the fans! There will be a lot more going on, a lot more passing. It’s easier being the car doing the overtaking, but I remember from my first race in the DeltaWing there two years ago I was blown away by how much traffic there was, with the speed differences between the classes.
Obviously, the ability to get through traffic will one of the most important factors in the race. We’re hoping that this is where our season turns around and we get the reliability that we’ve been after. We’ll focus on finishing races and once we start doing that, we can focus on finishing on the top step of the podium.”
Tim Keene: “It will be nice to be back on a real road course again, especially one where the DeltaWing has proven to be quick in the past. We’ve had good speed at places like Road Atlanta and Daytona so it will be encouraging to get back to a fast, flowing, smooth racetrack. We have good data from there last year, so coupled with the aero bits we added last year, we should see a good benefit there. It’s been a frustrating start to the season, but it will turn around and hopefully that happens this weekend.”