Leighton Reese qualifies 8th at Portland International Raceway July 24, 2004 -- Portland Oregon -- Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, MN, had what turned out to be both a disappointing and an encouraging qualifying session for Sunday's SPEED ...
Leighton Reese qualifies 8th at Portland International Raceway
July 24, 2004 -- Portland Oregon -- Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, MN, had what turned out to be both a disappointing and an encouraging qualifying session for Sunday's SPEED World Challenge GT race as he qualified his Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in 8th position today.
The disappointment was that they had been within the top 5 in terms of speed all weekend and the team admitted that they had missed the qualifying setup a bit. The encouraging news is that the Banner Engineering Corvette is performing beautifully and Reese feels that they have a great car for the race.
"We were a little surprised at the level of grip out there," Reese commented after this morning's session. "But we went the fastest we did all weekend so we must be doing something right!"
The car is really good but this series is really tough," Leighton commented. "You pedal your butt off and wind up 5th or 6th. It's really competitive out here."
Competitive is the word in the GT division of the SPEED World Challenge Series as with two factory Cadillac CTS-Vs and a pair of factory supported Audis and several strong independent Corvettes and Vipers podium and top five finishes are at a premium.
"The car is awesome right now," added crew chief Joe Kantarik. "We left about a half a second out there on the track. Leighton did great but the track had more grip than we expected."
Unfortunately the Toyo tires used in the World Challenge Series only allow for one really strong lap so if either the driver makes a mistake or the setup is a bit off there is no real recovery possible to improve your lap time.
"The Toyo tires we use are good race tires and great tires for the World Challenge Series, but they are one lap wonders for qualifying," Reese explained.
What this means is that the drivers take one shot at their best qualifying lap after their warm up lap while the tires are still new. After that the tires fall off a bit and almost always lap times are slower. Fortunately the Toyo tires remain fairly consistent for the actual race.
Leighton smiled and said that he had better perform because Banner Engineering CEO Bob Fayfield and several local Banner distributors are here attending the race, but Leighton Reese never fails to perform so look for the black and yellow #6 at the lead edge of the pack when the checkered flag falls.
Leighton Reese will be starting 8th here at Portland and looking to move up as the very competitive SPEED World Challenge GT series will do their traditional standing start at 10:55 AM Pacific time for 50 minutes of non-stop action. Road racing at its best and Leighton Reese and the Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette are right in the middle of the action.
Round 5 of the SPEED World Challenge GT Series can be seen on the SPEED TV network on August 1st at 1 PM Eastern Time.