Law and Donohue Take Top 10 Finish in Mexico City Grand-Am Event
After a 3rd place qualifying effort that again showed the strength of the resurgent #58 Brumos Porsche Riley squad, drivers Darren Law of Phoenix, Arizona and David Donohue of Malvern, Pennsylvania took a 10th place finish in last Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Mexico City 250 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The 2 hour 45 minute race gave fans south of the border, the sizzle that they have come to expect from Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car events, with 18 Daytona Prototypes taking the green Saturday afternoon and 14 of those cars making it to the finish, with some exciting green flag racing in between. The Mexico City race marked the 3rd race of the 14-race 2008 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype schedule and also marked Law’s 100th race in Rolex Series competition.
The #58 Brumos came off the trailer strong in Mexico City, putting in 3rd quick time in the first practice session. The remaining two practice sessions before qualifying would see the Law/Donohue duo turning laps near the top ten as they worked with the Brumos engineers to find a competitive qualifying and race set up.
Donohue then placed the #58 third on the grid with a lap of 1:19.652, just missing the front row, as the pole winning Telmex Lexus Riley of Memo Rojas stopped the watches at a 1:19.508. Despite the higher altitude of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit, which has traditionally favored the torque of many of the V8 powered entries, the Porsche powered Riley chassis combination was clearly running well, and both Law and Donohue were confident that their race performance could be good.
"We made some set up changes during practice that seemed to help the balance of the car quite a bit," remarked Law. "We were strong through the esses section of the track, and the car was good under braking as well. The top ten cars qualified pretty close to one another, and we knew that the start was going to be tough, but both David and I were happy with what the car was doing."
Donohue had a clean start and maintained 3rd place through the early part of his stint. The Ford powered entry of Mark Willkins pitted on lap 13 moving the #58 to second overall, and Donohue took over the lead from Rojas on lap 15 as the home crowd favorite pitted under green for fuel and tires. Donohue would maintain his lead until lap 22, when he brought the #58 into pit lane during a full course caution and handed the driver’s seat over to Law.
Through the pit cycle, Law came out of the pits in 5th with a fresh set of Pirelli slicks and a full tank of Sunoco race fuel. With the #58 Brumos working well, Law immediately worked his way up to fourth on the restart. By lap 40, Law was leading the event, although several of the top cars had pitted under a full course yellow on lap 39 for fuel and tires. The Brumos squad elected to stay out and gain track position in the hopes that another yellow would come out before the end of the 100-lap race. Law would end up leading through lap 59, when Scott Pruett, now piloting the 01 Telmex entry on fresh tires, would move to the lead.Eventually, Law would be forced to pit under green flag conditions on lap 69. Despite getting fuel and fresh tires, the stop would drop Law to 13th overall. Darren used the remaining green flag laps to hunt down the cars ahead, and would eventually take the checkered flag in 10th.
"I guess looking back on it, we should have pitted during that yellow early on," said Darren following the race. "But we really felt that another yellow might be in the cards. On fresh tires the car was really good, we just stretched it a bit far. We started running a fuel conservation strategy hoping for that yellow. We’ll take those top ten points though, and see what we can do in Virginia. VIR’s been a good circuit for us before, and hopefully we’ll see another podium finish there again this year."
Darren is getting ready for the next event on the Grand-Am schedule at the rolling and picturesque VIRginia International Raceway circuit the weekend of April 27th. Law and Donohue scored an emotional and popular third place podium finish last year following the death of Brumos team principal Bob Snodgrass. Both Darren and David will be looking to improve on last year’s performance just that little bit more to reach the top step and earn the Brumos squad a much anticipated victory.