Leighton Reese sets the pace during World Challenge GT Practice at Sebring Sebring, Florida (March 15th, 2006): Leighton Reese after suffering through a less than ideal test on Tuesday went from a self proclaimed zero to a hero as crew chief and...
Leighton Reese sets the pace during World Challenge GT Practice at Sebring
Sebring, Florida (March 15th, 2006): Leighton Reese after suffering through a less than ideal test on Tuesday went from a self proclaimed zero to a hero as crew chief and the Banner Racing team found more than enough speed to cover the field here at Sebring during Wednesday's practice sessions.
Reese and his familiar black and yellow Banner Engineering Chevy Corvette C6 was second quick in the morning practice and upped the ante by improving even further as he blasted the talented field with an afternoon best time of 2:09.666.
"I was really frustrated yesterday because we were slow. It is amazing, a couple of tweaks on the chassis and it works," Leighton said with a big smile after the first practice session of Sebring and the season.
"We were fighting a loose condition and the car got really good for the last session (yesterday) and we did it all with the chassis," Leighton continued. "I was begging Joe for more wing but it is a trade off between corning grip and straightaway speed. He finally tipped some more wing into the back and lo and behold we went another half second faster. We did it before the session based on what we learned last night."
In the afternoon session Leighton Reese clicked off a quick time of 2:10.699 as he chased Lou Gigliotti. Gigliotti did a best lap of 2:09.844 right in front of Leighton's #6 Banner Engineering Chevy Corvette but Leighton squeezed past and smoked off a 2:09.666 to set the fastest lap of the day. Leighton backed that up with a 10.9 and pitted.
"He said he liked that change," said crew chief Joe Kantarik to the crew as they packed up at the end of the session.
Liked it? Leighton loved it!
"The car is chassising good and I am driving it well," Leighton Reese said simply as he and the Banner Engineering Chevy Corvette set the World Challenge GT pace in practice at Sebring today.
"We are doing little subtle tweaks now, I think we are showing all our cards and we keep thinking that that is all that is left in the car and then we seem to find more," Leighton continued. "I am getting a little more aggressive with it because I am feeling more comfortable with it. Going a little deeper into the corners, it sounds like a broken record but the car is sticking and it is working well."
"We're really thrilled right now," said Leighton Reese with a huge smile when he got out of the smoking hot Banner Corvette. "We have a really good shot at a win if not a podium."
"It has been an incredible turn around," said Reese describing how his feelings had changed from Tuesday morning to Wednesday afternoon. "It just shows you how getting the chassis right makes the car faster. You enter the straightaway faster because you got through the corner faster and it gives you encouragement so you drive the car deeper because it goes around the corner better."
"So I am excited, yes," Leighton said of his own performance and that of the Banner Racing team today at Sebring. "The emotions and your fortunes just swing wildly in this sport."
"Yesterday I was wondering, how am I going to hang up my helmet gracefully without my tail between my legs so you can go from a hero to a zero or the other way real fast," Leighton concluded with a smile!