G Force staff celebrate the impressive Indy 500 qualifying performances. More than 70 men and women arrived for work in Braselton, Georgia, last Monday morning with an energized sense of pride and achievement. While Bruno Junqueira had the...
G Force staff celebrate the impressive Indy 500 qualifying performances.
More than 70 men and women arrived for work in Braselton, Georgia, last Monday morning with an energized sense of pride and achievement.
While Bruno Junqueira had the tough job of piloting his G Force chassis for four perfect laps of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in pole day qualifying on the previous Saturday - he was not the only one who spent a nervous day wondering whether his speed of 231.342mph who be fast enough to clinch the pole for the world's greatest race.
That achievement of putting the first American made car on pole position for the Indy 500 since 1980 was shared by the men and women in Braselton who built the 2002 G Force machines.
Originally founded in the UK, G Force is now part of Don Panoz's Georgia-based Elan Motor Sport Technologies group.
To see a G Force gain pole position - and four of the first qualifying spots - was an enormous thrill for Gainesville, GA-based composite shop supervisor, Matt Lodge.
"I was sitting at home watching qualifying and it was just an amazing result," he said.
"It was really rewarding to see all our hard work had turned out so well. It really is a fabulous achievement.
"For Bruno to set that time so early made for a nerve-racking day, but I was confident it would hold up for the pole.
"The atmosphere at work on Monday was fantastic - the vibe around here was definitely bright. We hope the guys can now repeat the effort in the race.
"Not everybody gets to go to races, but we have a big BBQ planned on raceday to cheer the guys on."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Junqueira was joined in the top five by Robbie Buhl in 2nd (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing); Felipe Giaffone, 4th (Mo Nunn Racing) and Tony Kaanan, 5th (Mo Nunn Racing)
Crowd favorite Sarah Fisher also pulled out the fastest ever qualifying time in Indy 500 history for a woman when she piloted her Dreyer & Reinbold G Force to the 9th fastest time.
For Allan Bernard of Auburn, GA, the chance to help build the car that sat on the pole at the Indy 500 is a one-in-a-lifetime experience for the composite laminator.
"I have never been to the race, but I have watched it all my life," he said.
"Getting the chance to play a part in building these cars is a dream job for me. It makes me really proud to work for an American company and be part of an achievement like this - that is the key reason why I wanted to work here.
"Not many people around the local region probably know what we do here. NASCAR is very popular around this area, but people will be really surprised when they here that the pole car for Indy was actually built in Georgia."
Practice for the Indianapolis 500 recommenced yesterday with the final day of qualifying - Bump Day - scheduled for this Sunday, May 19. The race itself will be staged on May 26.