Andy Priaulx is happy despite a tough race in Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas - TUDOR United SportsCar Championship - round 10 - 19th to 20th September
Andy Priaulx was all smiles after what was probably one of the toughest races of his season in the TUDOR Unites SportsCar Championship, and this was despite only finishing sixth in the GTLM class with his American team-mate Bill Auberlen in the Lone Star Le Mans race at the Circuit of the Americas. The pair extracted the maximum out of their BMW Z4 GTLM and had to cope with not only much faster cars in their class, but also scorching Texas temperatures.
After qualifying the black number 55 car Andy also did the opening stint and came in after the first hour of the race at the end of lap 26 to hand the car over to Bill. Bill then stayed in the BMW Team RLL car until the end of lap 47 when he handed it back to Andy, who drove to the finish of the 75 lap race. Andy’s comment after the race was: "It has been a tough weekend, but we knew it was going to be really hard. Bill and I had two really tough first stints. The tyre we chose clearly wasn’t right for the conditions. Bill was up to speed really well and brought the car in in a really good position. He helped the team with the feed back to give me the right tyre for the last run, and that’s what made the difference. It was damage limitation in the first stint, Bill did a great job in the second stint, I saved fuel in the third and we were strong at the end so I am happy at that. It was a lot of effort. I felt I had won that race today. We both drove at eleven tenths without a single mistake.”
At the end of the race it came down to a fight on track between Andy and Dirk Muller, who drives the white number 56 sister car with John Edwards, with the Guernsey driver getting by to take sixth with two laps to go. They had started fifth and sixth on the grid with the number 56 car in front. This was, in fact, one place up from where they were in qualifying, as the pole sitter was disqualified due to a technical infringement. This was not the first time these team-mates had done battle as they used to drive for BMW in the European Touring Car Championship in the early nineties. At the end of today’s race Dirk said: "It reminded me of the good old touring car times. It was clean and I think that is how you should make it between team mates. Not make it easy to pass but have everything open with no contact."
After spending nearly nine weeks with his family in America travelling round in a motorhome, Andy is now returning home for a few days prior to Petit Le Mans, which is ten hours long and the final round of the series in Road Atlanta on the 1st to 4th October. “I have had an amazing summer and fantastic year in America. We are now driving the motorhome back to Tampa and will fly home on Tuesday. It will be nice to see Guernsey after such a long time away, but I am really looking forward to the final race of the season and hope we can finish the it back on the podium,” he said.