Leighton Reese and his Banner Engineering Corvette C-6 finish 5th at Road Atlanta SPEED World Challenge GT Series race. Braselton, Georgia: (April 17, 2005) Leighton Reese of Minnetonka Minnesota, fighting a steering problem and large amounts...
Leighton Reese and his Banner Engineering Corvette C-6 finish 5th at Road Atlanta SPEED World Challenge GT Series race.
Braselton, Georgia: (April 17, 2005) Leighton Reese of Minnetonka Minnesota, fighting a steering problem and large amounts of oil by a competitor in front of him, kept his head while those around him seemed to be losing theirs and prevailed to finish 5th in today's SPEED World Challenge GT race at Road Atlanta this morning.
Leighton, starting his Banner Engineering Chevy Corvette C6 in 10th position, got a great start as he jumped into the center lane while several cars on the inside row of cars had to take evasive action, some of whom wound up in the grass, to avoid Lou Gigliotti's Corvette which had stalled at the start.
"That was the actual highlight of the race for me," Leighton said after the race.
Leighton then got past defending series champ Tommy Archer on lap two "I got a good pass on Tommy. I beat him off of 7 and we had a drag race down the straight and got him going into 10."
Now in 6th position and running great Leighton started to pressure Andy Pilgrim's Cadillac for 5th but the handling on the Banner Corvette would go bad slightly due to a steering problem that caused the car to push, or understeer, and as the race developed the condition got worse.
Then as Leighton explained things got worse, "I got a really bad push and when Lou (Gigliotti) got past me Sofronas and I were getting the worst of his oil. Gigliotti would later get black flagged and eventually stop in the pits having pumped all of the oil out of his differential.
"We were really racy until the steering problem kicked in so then we paced ourselves to finish," commented crew chief Joe Kantarik. "Leighton was maintaining a gap on Sofronas (the Porsche behind him) and we didn't have anything for Tommy (Archer the car in front of Leighton). We held back because when Lou got past us we were getting the brunt of his oil we didn't know when he would blow up and put us both into the weeds."
"The car worked well, the motor ran well," Leighton said as he was helping the crew put the car and equipment in the truck to go home (a process that took less than an hour). "We just persevered and finished 5th."
"I am just happy for the Banner folks," Reese concluded of his Road Atlanta race. "We've had a tough start to the season so it's nice to get a good finish!"
Max Papis won the race after a controversial last lap that saw Papis' Cadillac running into Robin Liddell's Porsche, who was leading the race at the time, in turn 6. The resulting contact sent Liddell spinning into the concrete barrier as Papis sailed on to win and set up a Cadillac 1-2-3 finish. Tommy Archer finished 4th.
You can follow all of the racing action for Leighton Reese and Banner Racing at www.LeightonReese.com.