Team West Alex Job Racing to Start Long Beach on Fifth Row in GT
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 19, 2013) - The Team West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk Ferrari driven by Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell will start tomorrow's American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Long Beach Grand Prix from the fifth row in GT.
In early morning practice, starting at 7:30 a.m., the team spent the first few laps of the session dialing the Ferrari into the track as well as checking every system after the car was rebuilt following Sebring. With a clean bill of health Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) and Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) proceeded to get familiar with the Team West AJR Ferrari 458 GT around the 1.98-mile, 11-turn temporary Long Beach street circuit. In the first practice, Bell posted a lap time of 1:21.140 good for ninth.
I qualifying, Bell got out to a fast start pacing the GT field for the first couple of laps. The Californian is happy with the progress of the team and it showed with a qualifying time of 1:19.533. The entire GT field is separated by less than a second.
"Morning practice was pretty good," Bell said. "This Ferrari is a real turn-key car. It is nice to comeback from Sebring where we had so much drama. It is nice to go out, get maximum laps under our belt this morning and just go through the process. I was pretty happy with the way the car felt this morning. In qualifying I was a bit surprised to hear that I was P1 after just a few laps. I haven't heard that in a while. Although we fell down the timing sheet I am happy with the progress of the car and the Yokohama tires. We have more work to do, but everything is moving in the right direction."
Sweedler coming from his Sebring incident is also happy with the car and progress of the team.
"It was great to get back behind the wheel this morning," Sweedler said. "The Team West AJR team did a great job putting the car back together after Sebring. The 458 GT ran great this morning. We put in some solid laps this morning. Townsend put in a nice qualifying effort. The GT field is separated by less than a second here at Long Beach, so the race is going to be exciting."
The hard work by the Alex Job racing team rebuilding the Team West AJR Ferrari was rewarded in qualifying by being within less than a second off the pole time.
"We've worked hard on the car since Sebring," Job said. "The guys did a great job getting the 458 GT ready for this weekend. Bill and Townsend got right in this morning and got down to work. We did our installation laps, checked everything and then turned them loose. The car is 100% and with Yokohama's help we are working our way up the time sheet. The GT field is really close here at Long Beach. It is going to be a good race."
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.
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.