Ex-Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran, young French star Simon Pagenaud and the de Ferran Motorsports squad make their return to the American Le Mans Series this weekend at Connecticut's newly revised Lime Rock Park circuit.
The team's Panasonic-sponsored Acura ARX-01b raced for the first time at the previous round of the championship in Salt Lake City - finishing 3rd on debut. While neither de Ferran nor Pagenaud have raced at Lime Rock Park previously, all ALMS teams will face a revised Lime Rock layout in 2008 - the track recently undergoing a US$5 million redevelopment.
GIL DE FERRAN"Following the great result in our debut race at Salt Lake City, Lime Rock is likely to be a challenging weekend for our team given our lack of familiarity with the venue. Neither Simon nor I have driven there before and none of our technical team have any experience at Lime Rock. Preparation is the key to a good performance and unfortunately we were unable to do any pre-race testing as the circuit was going through extensive remodeling. In addition, this will be a two day weekend with limited on track time, all of which will weigh against our preparation. "However, on the positive side, this weekend will be somewhat of a clean sheet of paper for most competitors as the track is newly repaved and the layout has changed slightly, so our lack of experience will not be as big of a handicap as it could have been."On the whole, I am looking forward to getting back in the car, going racing again and coming home with a decent result! This long break that we’ve had since the last race has given us an opportunity to tick many more items on our ‘to do’ list and the whole team is more prepared than we were going into Salt Lake.”
SIMON PAGENAUD"Lime Rock Park will be another unique challenge for Gil and myself. I have taken the chance to study the track layout and look at some video and photos, but I haven't raced there before. It normally doesn't take me too long to learn the tracks - it depends a little on the length."Lime Rock is pretty short so I am not expecting too many problems. "Since our debut, I had the chance to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That was a great experience for me. Because of its length, that track is very challenging to learn but I still had the opportunity to do a lot of miles in a sportscar."Unfortunately, we didn't finish the race but it was still a great learning experience for me."
LIME ROCK PARK FACT FILE
WHAT: Round 5, 2008 American Le Mans Series
WHERE: Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, CT
EVENT: American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix
RACE DURATION: 2 Hours, 45 minutes
LAP RECORD: New track configuration for 2008
TRACK LENGTH: 1.51 miles, 10-turn road course (2007 configuration was 1.53 miles)
TIMETABLE:Friday, 11 July10:45pm - 11:45pm: Practice (All Classes)2:45pm - 3.45pm: Practice (All Classes)4:20pm - 4:40pm: Qualifying (LMP1/LMP2 Classes)
Saturday, 12 July10:05am - 10:30am: Warm Up (All Classes)1:55pm - 2:55pm: Practice (All Classes)2:05pm - 4:50pm: Race (2 hours, 45 minutes)
2007 RESULTS: LMP1: Overall: P5. Rinaldo Capello/Allan McNish, Audi R10, 173 lapsLMP2: Overall: P1. Sascha Maassen/Ryan Briscoe, Porsche RS Spyder, 174 lapsGT1: Overall: P8. Oliver Gavin/Olivier Beretta, Corvette C6-R, 165 lapsGT2: Overall: P12. Jorg Bergmeister/Johannes van Overbeek, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 156 laps
TELEVISION:Sunday, 13 July - Tape DelayedUSA: SPEED TV, 12:00noon - 3:00pm (EDT)
Saturday, 12 July - LIVEEUROPE: Motors TV, 8:00pm - 11:05pm (CET)UK: Motors TV, 7.00pm - 10.00pm (BST)