Team West Alex Job Racing Ready for Long Beach
TAVARES, Fla. - The Team West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk Ferrari had an early end to its day at the seven hour mark at the 61st running of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
After a positive start to the Sebring weekend last month with their new Team West AJR 458 GT Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) and Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) come into Long Beach looking for a strong finish. The team has had to work long hours on the 458 GT rebuilding the font-end from Sweedler's crash following a tire going down as he went through Bishop's Bend at Sebring. The team had to totally disassemble the car to check for further damage and then send the tub to a specialist Ferrari body shop to make the front end repair.
Sweedler and Bell have a podium history at the 1.98-mile, 11-turn temporary Long Beach street circuit. Bell won the Indy Lights race in 2001, and Sweedler finished second in the ALMS GTC Class in 2011.
"Following Sebring we got away so lucky in terms of minimal damage when you think about the size of the hit Bill took, Bell said. "Most importantly, was that Bill got out of the car feeling better than when he got in! Not the kind of chiropractic appointment we want to encourage, but very glad he's OK. We had a tough run last year. It really ended before it began in Turn One. We fell prey to a typical street course start when Bill got nailed from behind. With our rough, early finish at Sebring, we just need to have a trouble-free run this weekend."
"I know my way around Long Beach having won the Indy Lights race there in 2001. The track has great braking zones and there is room to pass. We will need a good qualifying effort and some cagey strategy on Saturday."
Sweedler appreciates the hard work of the team following the late race incident at Sebring.
"The team has really worked hard on the car since last month," Sweedler said. "I really like driving the Ferrari. It has great balance and, of course, makes a great sound. The balance will be key at Long Beach this weekend. We always have limited practice time and the race is shorter as well. Being the first time with the car at a closed street course we are going to really lean on our tire partner Yokohama for all of their data. The team has the car back to 100% and we are ready to make a good showing for our marketing supporters Battery Tender, Boardwalk Ferrari and WilliamRast."
Alex Job had his team working hard to get the Team West AJR Ferrari back in race shape following Sebring.
"Following Sebring we had to take the car to a bespoke Ferrari body shop to have the front frame rails installed on a special jig," Job said. "The complete car had to come apart so we could check for possible additional damage. There are all new parts in the front end. We are happy with the way the car ran at Sebring up until Bill's unfortunate incident. Townsend and Bill like the car and the way it handles, so we will be looking for a good run this weekend in Long Beach."
The Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prix will run April 19-20. The television broadcast will air April 21st at 1:00 p.m. EDT on ABC. Live streaming of the race will be on April 20 starting at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN3.com with live streaming qualifying running April 19th at 89 p.m. EDT on ESPN3.com.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 68 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won four championships (GTC 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts nine Sebring 12-hour wins.
The ALMS GT Class is comprised of production-based, moderately-modified, two-wheel drive race cars including the BMW Z4, Corvette C6.R, Ferrari F458 GT, Viper SRT 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.