Mopar Comp. Coupe Season-Best at Important Atlanta Finale
New Jersey Blindside Blow Puts Team Mopar on Tight Turn-Around for Atlanta
Cindi Lux (Aloha, Ore.) has always risen to the challenge at premier events and the Petit Le Mans SPEED World Challenge GT is among the elite sports car races of the season. By any criteria the October 3, midday race is a major event. It is contested on one of the quickest tracks in North America, Road Atlanta. It supports the world renowned Petit Le Mans and it is the 2008 season-finale for the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) SPEED World Challenge GT. All-in- all, Friday's 50-minute event shines one of the brightest spotlights that Team Mopar will race under all season and the 12-time road racing champion could not be any happier. After racing a partial season with impressive results, Lux has marked the Petit Le Mans weekend as the time to put her No. 2 Team Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe on the SPEED GT podium.
While the on-track competition is always intense in the road car-based series, meeting Lux's goal was made much more difficult at the first turn of the second lap in last Saturday's (Millville) New Jersey Motorsports Park event. The 2000 American Le Mans Series Women's Global GT Series Champion had a strong qualifying run in New Jersey to start tenth. The No. 2 Mopar Dodge Viper Comp. Coupe was under braking for the second of 14-turns at the new facility when an over- aggressive out-braking maneuver by a competitor would take the Viper off course. Lux, now pushed off the track into the dirt and debris, had heavy damage to the Lux Performance Group LLC-prepared ride. Included in the tally was a damaged front splitter - an aerodynamic device used to generate downforce - and the right front wheel which was bent and toed-out excessively. Despite now being dead-last on course, the World Challenge sophomore returned to the track with her "never give up" attitude. She refused to make a pit stop instead relying on years of experience to diagnose and then overcome the handling maladies that resulted from the brutal, blindside blow. With a machine many would have retired on the spot, Lux fought from last in the field to just outside the top 10 to take 12th less than 50 minutes later. Lux's dogged determination, shown so clearly at New Jersey, will be required of the whole Mopar team as they turn-around the seriously damaged American supercar in time for this week's finale. In total, the team has approximately 48 hours to ready the car for the first on-track sessions at Road Atlanta.
To-date, the only road racing member of the elite Team Mopar has a season-high finish of fifth, earned at Salt Lake City. However, the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta facility has long been a favorite of Lux. To extract the last tenth of a second from the V10- powered Mopar machine the track encourages aggressive but very precise and skilled driving. In 2007, her first time racing the World Challenge here, she nearly took a top-five finish in a rain-soaked event. Lux did earn a top-five in the Petit Le Mans GT2 class in 2000 after making her first appearance in the prestigious race in 1999 with an all female driver lineup.
Lux will took time out of race preparations of the No. 2 Mopar Viper to visit West Hall High School in Oakwood, Ga. on Monday. She premiered her "Quick Tips on Winning in Life" to a group of 120 students at the area high school as part of the "Racers Who Care" (MySpace.com/RacersWhoCare) program. Lux presented her vision on what it takes to "win" in life with a focus on education, character and a positive attitude; all aspects of Lux's character well demonstrated during her career.
The final round of the 2008 SPEED GT championship can be seen on SPEED Channel at 1 PM (ET), October 15. Live timing and scoring can be found at: World-Challenge.com.
QuotesCindi Lux: About Atlanta: "Road Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks. It really suits my style. I have had a lot of success there including my first race in an American Le Mans Series GT car at Petit Le Mans in '99. In 2000, I earned my highest ALMS finish taking a top-five at Petit and last year we had a great World Challenge race there. I am really excited to get out there this week and close the year on a good note for everyone at Mopar and Chrysler."About New Jersey: "It's such a disappointment when an overly aggressive move on the second lap by another driver ends our day for another possible Top 10 finish. I guess the Team Mopar Dodge Comp. Coupe was collateral damage in that one. It is doubly bad for us because the turn- around between New Jersey and Atlanta is so short. Looking back now, it is one of those deals that you shake your head and wonder what he was thinking. I wasn't coming into the pits unless we overheated or the wheels came off the car. This is really a testament to how well Dodge and Mopar build these cars and how strong those Forgeline wheels are. I don't know too many other race cars that could take a hit like that, hold together and go from dead last to 12th in less than 50 minutes. It is great to be associated with a product like that! We have all the Mopar parts we need so we'll go hunting at Atlanta."
Sunil Lahoti, Senior Manager - Mopar Marketing and Brand Strategy, Chrysler LLC.: "We couldn't be happier that Cindi will represent Mopar at such a significant event as the season-finale race at Road Atlanta. Following a great qualifying run in New Jersey, she unfortunately was hit going into turn one on the second lap. Even with severe damage on her No. 2 Mopar Dodge Viper, her 'never-say-die' attitude got her back on track and she made it to the checkered flag. That's the racing spirit our enthusiasts expect from our factory-backed Mopar drivers."
70 Years of Mopar When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.
Originally used in the 1920s, Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It was also widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s-the muscle car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "Special Parts" for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.
Today, Chrysler LLC's Global Service & Parts division is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 250,000 authentic Mopar replacement parts, components, restoration parts, accessories and performance parts for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles sold around the world. To assure quality, reliability and durability, all Mopar parts and accessories are designed in strict adherence to Chrysler engineering standards.