Into the night Alex Job Racing will switch from sprint to endurance mode for the Petit Le Mans, final race in the American Le Mans Series 2002 season. The 1000-mile, 10-hour race is set for Oct. 12 on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course in...
Into the night
Alex Job Racing will switch from sprint to endurance mode for the Petit Le Mans, final race in the American Le Mans Series 2002 season. The 1000-mile, 10-hour race is set for Oct. 12 on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course in Braselton, Ga.
Greg Fordahl, engineer for the No. 23 McKenna Xybernaut Porsche, says the priority is to make the car safe and comfortable for drivers Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen.
"Our team needs to be extra careful," he said. "Normally, we're very good preparers of the car but we need to inspect every critical component of the car, probably two or three times leading up to the race. From an engineering standpoint, it's important to make the car very comfortable and very driveable. The drivers will be in top form, so we need to provide a car that will be in top form, so it's not difficult to drive and doesn't tax them for the 10-hour race.
"Road Atlanta is a unique combination of mostly high-speed, very fast corners, so stability becomes paramount. We would sacrifice a small amount of the ultimate performance if we could make the car more stable, therefore less threatful to drive. It takes the stress away and makes the drivers sharper for a longer time."
Renaud Dufour engineers the No. 22 Porsche usually driven by Jörg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard. They will share the car with Marc Lieb for the Petit Le Mans. "Timo and Jörg are pretty much the same in the car," Dufour said. "We'll have another driver at Road Atlanta so we'll try to make the car comfortable for the three drivers."
He noted the long race will require a different engineering strategy and car setup. "It is a little bit different for a 10-hour race because we begin at noon and finish at 10 pm, so maybe we will use different tires during the afternoon and the night. And I think we will go softer for the night after 6 or 7 pm in order to get maximum level of grip," he explained.
"You have to think about all that can happen and you need to hope to be there for a long time. You have to make the car fast for qualifying, safe for the afternoon, safe during the night. A long race is a bit more difficult, but it's much more exciting!"
Alex Job Racing has swept the ALMS GT championships this season, winning the team and IMSA Cup titles and helping Porsche and Michelin win manufacturer championships. Only the driver title remains to be decided at the Petit Le Mans. Lucas Luhr has a one-point lead over Sascha Maassen, but the team hopes Maassen will gain a bonus point for driving the most laps in the final race, making them co-champions.