Lotus Alex Job Racing Finish Development Season with Plan for 2013
TAVARES, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2012) - Lotus Alex Job Racing (AJR) closes the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season with lessons learned and a development plan for the Lotus Evora GT heading into 2013. Drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell are poised to continue the progress on the Evora with their sights set on next year.
The team debuted the Lotus Alex Job Racing Evora GT at the Long Beach Grand Prix in May. They made the conscious decision to develop the Evora on the track, on TV and in front of sports car fans across the country. The high water-mark for the team came at the American Le Mans Series VIR 240 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in September. Throughout the season the team had shown that the longer the race the better the Lotus Alex Job Racing No. 23 Evora GT performed. The previous top finish for the team, a seventh-place at Road America in August, was eclipsed at VIR with an encouraging sixth place run. Throughout the season the team reworked many key components on the Evora which resulted in a car that was dependable and quickly became a crowd favorite.
Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) embarked on his first full season of sports car racing in 2012. The open-wheel veteran, finished ninth in this year's Indy 500, found the ALMS brand of racing challenging and rewarding.
"It was a very interesting year with the Evora," Bell said. "Alex (Job, team principal), Greg (Fordahl, team engineer) and the guys developed the car on the fly this season. The competition in the GT series is serious. There are two full factory teams and two others with big factory support. It was impossible for our little team to keep up with those types of budgets. A bright spot on the year was the reception that we got from the sports car fans and Lotus enthusiasts. As the word spread that we were going to run the Evora the owners clubs and fans turned out for us at the races. We hosted a group of about 50 Lotus Club members at Petit. We were able to plant the seeds for success in 2013 on the business side while we made some real strides with the car all season. For 2013 we will need our partners to double their efforts to help us with a serious jump in performance."
Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) made a jump in competition, moving up from GTC into GT for 2012.
"The bar is high in GT," Sweedler said. "The team did a great job all year developing the car on the road. Our partners Battery Tender, Yokohama, and Schecter Guitars provided great support at all the races. Yokohama worked with us every step of the way improving the tire and helping us maximize the car all season. Townsend and I went to Hethel, England before Petit Le Mans and met with Lotus management and they were encouraged by our progress this year. We held a great sponsor activation event at Angels Rock Bar in Baltimore. The event gave our partners a look at what is possible with this great team. We are going to continue to develop the car with our partners and be ready for Sebring in March."
Alex Job, team principal, is already in preparation mode for 2013.
"We have a long to-do list with the Evora during the off-season," Job said. "Bill and Townsend are committed to keeping the development of the Evora moving forward and that is what we are planning to do. We are going to do some wind tunnel time and work with Lotus and Cosworth to get the car further up the ultra-competitive GT grid for 2013."
The 2013 American Le Mans Series will kick-off at Sebring International Raceway with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to run Saturday, March 16.
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; ALMS GTC series champions in 2012; 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.