Lotus Alex Job Racing Looks Ahead with Development Plan
MONTEREY, CALIF. - Lotus Alex Job Racing (AJR) utilized today's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Monterey presented by Patron at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as another step in the development process of the new Lotus Evora GT. The team soldiered on through the race despite a transmission repair as well as an axle issue.
The weekend began with an engine issue that forced the team to revert to a 2011 spec engine. The Lotus AJR crew had the car ready for Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) to run in qualifying on Friday afternoon. Bell was able to put in a lap just two seconds from the pole qualifying Aston Martin, the closest the Evora GT has ever been to the front to the GT grid.
In the race, due to co-driver Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) never turning a lap in practice, the team was forced to start from the back of the grid. Bell had the controls for the start. For the initial 21 laps he was catching the next GT competitor and turning fast laps. On lap 22 he reported a gearbox issue forcing him to be towed to the paddock for repairs. The team returned with Sweedler at the wheel to gain valuable laps in competition. His run was thwarted by a half-shaft issue.
"A big test weekend for us with the Lotus," Bell said. "We were able to get Bill a lot of laps today and he did a great job putting in solid times. We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us with the car. We are a lot better than we were at Long Beach. If we can keep up the development at this pace, we will be a lot stronger at Lime Rock."
Although Sweedler didn't turn a lap until the pre-race morning warm-up, he is pleased with many aspects of the car.
"It was a tough weekend all around," Sweedler said. "We are really pleased with how far the car has come since Long Beach, but we need some development and laps under our belt before we go to Lime Rock in July. I was able to turn some solid laps in the race when we went back out. It was nice to feel the progress that has been made by the Lotus AJR team since we ran at Long Beach three weeks ago. The team is going to continue on the development path during the Le Mans break, do some testing and keep moving forward."
Alex Job, team principal, knew the team had to get through these first two races.
"We knew we were behind when we received the car after Sebring," Job said. "We wanted to run Long Beach and this weekend to really get a read on where the car is at in comparison to the competition. We have some data and benchmarks to work toward during the two-month Le Mans break. Together with Lotus we are going to continue with the development plan and hopefully arrive at Lime Rock with a much-improved package."
The American Le Mans Series will take its yearly break for teams to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The next event will be the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, July 6-7 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
The American Le Mans Series Monterey will be broadcasted on ESPN2, tomorrow, Sun. May 13 at 5:00 p.m., EDT.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing. The team's resume includes: ALMS GT series championships in 2004, 2003, 2002; a record 22 consecutive ALMS GT pole positions; two-time 24-Hour of Le Mans GT class winners; Eight 12-hour of Sebring wins in 2012, 2010, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999 and 1995.
The ALMS GT Class is production-based, moderately-modified two-wheel drive race cars comprise the GT class - BMW M3, Corvette C6.R, Ferrari F458 GT, Ford GT-R, Jaguar XKR GT, Lotus Evora and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The GT cars share many similarities to their showroom brands. With top speeds of up to 180 mph, these elite GTs produce between 450-500 horsepower and have a minimum weight of 1,145 kilograms (2,480 pounds). All GT race cars have green Leader Light System race position lights and green car numbers.