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Laguna Seca: Leighton Reese preview

Leighton Reese bringing his Banner Engineering Corvette to Laguna Seca for the SPEED World Challenge GT Series season finale. October 12, 2004 -- Eden Prairie Minnesota - Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, MN, is heading to the Mazda Raceway at...

Leighton Reese bringing his Banner Engineering Corvette to Laguna Seca for the SPEED World Challenge GT Series season finale.

October 12, 2004 -- Eden Prairie Minnesota - Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, MN, is heading to the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca located on the picture postcard perfect Monterey Peninsula of California. Leighton is looking to close out the final chapter of the SPEED World Challenge GT Series and put his Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette on the podium.

When the season began in March Reese promised to be racing at the sharp edge of the grid and Leighton and his Banner Corvette have delivered as he has raced and finished well into the top ten in each and every event problems not withstanding.

Reese has finished in the top ten of the ultra competitive World Challenge GT Series five out of nine races with a top finish of second at Mosport just behind road racing ace Ron Fellows in the Factory Cadillac CTS-V.

In the season opener at Sebring, Reese qualified 6th and was running comfortably in 4th and closing in on Phil McClure in 3rd position. A fuel starvation problem caused the Banner Corvette to sputter to the finish in 7th position.

Race two at Lime Rock Reese moved up from his 8th starting position to quickly challenge Tommy Archer for 3rd while easily holding off the Team Cadillac entries of Max Angelelli and Andy Pilgrim. The differential exploded on lap 21 ending what looked to be a for sure podium run.

Round 3 at Mid-Ohio was a weekend of misery for Leighton Reese and the Banner Corvette as just about every minor problem possible chose this weekend to surface. Leighton finished well down in the order in 22nd position.

The Banner Racing team went to the west coast on a mission to rectify their pervious problems and did just that by finishing 5th at Infineon Raceway after a race long battle with Pilgrim.

Race 5 at Portland saw Reese move up from his 7th qualifying position and with a podium in his grasp a cylinder went sour and Reese faded to finish 7th.

The series went east to Mosport for a double header and Leighton took advantage of his favorite track by finishing 6th and 2nd. In the first race the field was stacked up behind the factory supported Audis in a 100 MPH epic battle that saw the top 9 cars finish in a tight 4.2 second train.

Race two at Mosport saw Ron Fellows win from the pole position but Leighton Reese was right behind for the entire distance making Fellows push every second of the race to finish a strong second.

Speaking of bad weekends Road America was just that as the Banner Corvette got precious few laps due to terminal engine problems. Reese borrowed a Viper for the race and with zero laps on the car got only one lap of qualifying before the car caught on fire.

Without any chance of setting up the car Reese had to bring home the evil handling Viper in 15th position.

Race 9 at Road Atlanta was another tight affair with little room at the top. How tight? The factory Cadillac team brought in Johnny O'Connell from the ALMS Corvette factory effort and Johnny finish 9th!

Reese and Pilgrim again were locked in a bumper to bumper battle for the entire race as neither of them could get past Tommy Archer's Viper as Archer was holding up the duo by some 1 to 2 seconds a lap. Lou Gigliotti was in this fight for a while but Lou was able to power past Archer and moved up to finish 3rd.

Reese finished 7th, thinking that he could have done better but such is life in the SPEED World Challenge GT Series. Precious little separates the top ten at any time and at any track.

That brings us to the final World Challenge GT race of 2004 that will rock the Monterey hills and thrill the California race fans on Sunday the 17th of October at 1 PM Pacific Time. The race can also be seen live on SPEED Channel.

After the season finale at Laguna Seca Leighton's Banner Engineering Corvette will be on display in the Hotchkis Performance booth on the of the SEMA show at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Tuesday November 2nd through Friday the 5th.

Reese relied on the many quality performance parts from Hotchkis to keep his Corvette on the track and in front of the pack in the ultra competitive World Challenge Series this season so if you get to the show be sure to stop by Booth 23413 for an up close look at both the Banner Corvette and get some great ideas about what Hotchkis can do for your performance both on and off the track.

-jb-

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Series PWC
Drivers Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Andy Pilgrim , Tommy Archer , Leighton Reese , Max Angelelli , Lou Gigliotti , Phil McClure