Tactical class swap for JBS Lamborghini
Roger Lago’s JBS Lamborghini will compete in Class B of this weekend’s Bathurst 12 Hour after a tactical decision to run the car to its 2011 homologation.
The entry had been expected to front as a 2013-specification Class A contender, running alongside the new Justin McMillan-owned Gallardo that arrived in the country last month.
Lago’s team believe, however, that the lower drag of the 2011 aerodynamic package will shine on the long straights of Mount Panorama.
The JBS team tested in 2011, 2012 and 2013 configurations last December, after which it was decided that a dry forecast for the race would trigger a move to the lower downforce model.
Lago’s second Gallardo is at the circuit in 2012-spec and will act as a spare parts carrier for the racing entry, which is being co-piloted by David Russell and Lamborghini factory ace Peter Kox.
“We really struggled at Sepang in September in a straightline, we were 10 to 15km/h down on the Mercs and the Astons,” Lago told Speedcafe.com of his team’s experience at Malaysia’s Sepang 12 Hour last year.
“The thinking we had here is that we really need straightline speed to be able to pass people. We’re going to forgo aero to hopefully be quicker down the chute.
“Once we overlay the data with Justin’s car, if it’s only a couple of kays quicker then it’s probably been a mistake, but we think it’ll be more than that.”
As the car was scrutineered in its 2011 specification on Thursday, it cannot be changed for the race.
Although expecting to benefit from the switch, Lago is realistic on his team’s chances of outright success given the level of competition.
“It’s going to be really hard for us to be in the top five if everyone goes hard all day,” he said.
“There are so many good cars with strong drivers. With me, my two guys can go hard for four and a half hours each but I’m really going to have to keep my end of the bargain up.”
Lago meanwhile is hoping that fast tyre changes from his imported Reiter Engineering mechanics will gain valuable time back in the pits.
His team will face even stiffer competition when it heads to the Blancpain Endurance Series’ Spa 24 Hours in June.
Lago has signed Russell, Steven Richards and Steve Owen to make the trip to Belgium for his first attempt at the legendary race.
“It’s really good having those guys onboard,” he said.
“I don’t really know Richo or Steve Owen that well, but I sent them both a text asking if they wanted to go to Spa and five minutes later I had two confirmations!
“All I want to do is go over, enjoy the week, enjoy the track and run for 24 hours without an incident,” he added of expectations.
“Where we come has no bearing at all. We just want to enjoy ourselves and finish the race.”
Lago’s only Australian GT Championship appearance this year will likely occur at the Phillip Island 101, with the Brisbane-based businessman electing to focus his domestic efforts on the Carrera Cup Australia.
Having won the 2010 and 2011 GT3 Cup Challenge titles, Lago says it was time to step back into the German machinery.
“I know that in Cup Car every car should be the same and it’s more down to the driver, where in GT you really don’t know what you’re up against,” he said.
“It’s very hard to work out the parity in GT and it takes a lot more budget than the Porsche.”