Hi Speedcafe.com.au readers – it’s great to be a member of the Café Crew to keep all the readers up to date with the latest news from the American Le Mans Series.
At this stage of the season it’s vitally important to keep putting points on the board for Patrón Highcroft Racing and that’s what we did at our home race at Lime Rock.
We had just won three races in a row and things went well in qualifying when I put our HPD prototype on pole in really wet conditions.
My team-mate Simon Pagenaud did a great opening stint. The car was a bit difficult to begin with. As more rubber went down on the track the car got better and better and I was able to drive each lap like I was qualifying to close on the leader.
Unfortunately the telemetry told us I had developed a puncture when I was chasing down my old Panoz team-mate Klaus Graf in the Porsche Spyder.
I could see Klaus was going to get held up coming onto the front straight at one stage so I backed off, got a good run and went to go up the inside. I was alongside when he moved right and I was pushed wide with almost all four wheels off the track. I kept my foot in but it’s been pretty wet around here in recent days so I couldn’t get enough speed to pass him.
The traffic was heavy and in fairness to Klaus I don’t think he realised I was so close, but it was good racing. The Cytosport Porsche crew did a great job on strategy and closed the championship gap a little.
Whatever was in the tyre was dislodged when I was pushed on to the grass and the tyre went down the following lap.
We knew it would be tough to beat the Porsche at Lime Rock, as they are lighter than us and have more downforce, so I’m pleased we were able to attack. We put on a great show for all of our Patrón and GE guests who were all kept on the edge of their seats.
It should be a really exciting end to the season. Next race up is Mid-Ohio which is a circuit that will again suit the Porsche. But we are gathering more information about how our car works with the new aero kit all the time, so I’m really looking forward to continuing the championship battle there.
Leading up to the weekend I also got the chance to drive a real piece of motor racing history. I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, but I’ll have some news on that in my next Café Crew column …
We have a very important stretch of the championship coming up – three races in four weeks. That should really shape the title race. Highcroft is seven points up and we plan to hopefully extend that lead a little before the last race at Petit Le Mans in Atlanta.
After Mid-Ohio, Road America and Mosport – I’m off on a plane to visit another great circuit and get back behind the wheel of a V8 Supercar at Phillip Island.
I’m really looking forward to driving with Alex Davison aboard the Irwin Tools car. It’s been a couple of years since I was back in a V8 and I really can’t wait.
Having that extra race on the Gold Coast will also be a major plus – especially getting the chance to race in front of a lot of friends and family.
We’ll have a lot of other international drivers coming down for Surfers but hopefully with me getting some additional miles, Alex and I will have a bit of an advantage.
I think some of the international guys will be in for a bit of a shock – the V8 Supercars are great to drive but they will be unlike anything they are used to.