Bell and Keen Looking Forward to Road America in Team West/AJR Ferrari
TAVARES, Fla. - Leh Keen and Townsend Bell are taking their No. 23 Team West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk Ferrari to this weekend's American Le Mans Series Orion Energy Systems at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Aug. 9-11.
Keen (Charleston, SC) is once again subbing for Team West/AJR regular Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) who will be back behind the wheel for the next round in Baltimore. Keen will be pulling double Ferrari duty this weekend in both the Grand-Am and ALMS races at Road America. Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) counts Road America as one of his favorite circuits in North America and is anxious to see how the Team West/AJR Ferrari runs at the undulating Elkhart Lake circuit.
"I rank Road America in my top three favorite tracks in the U.S.," Bell said. "I raced there back in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and tested ChampCars there as well. In that little Barber open-wheel car I was flat-out from the exit of Turn Eight all the way to the entry of Turn Ten or Canada Corner. The mid-engined 458 is going to be a real blast to drive around that four-mile track. With the handling and ever evolving Yokohama tires I am excited to see how it handles around the Carousel and through the Kink."
Keen is also entered in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari for the Grand-Am event to run on Saturday.
"I actually have only been to Road America a couple of times," Keen said. "It is one of the premier road courses in North America and I look forward to going there every time. It has three long straights that tie together some fast and challenging corners. I will also be driving in the Rolex race that weekend, so I will be getting double the track time. It is an advantage because I will see the track nonstop and know it a little better than the other competitors. I will know how it rubbers in or changes throughout the weekend. But it will also be tough because I will be jumping in and out of two different cars, although both are the wonderful 458 Ferrari. There will be different brake zones, different lap times and differing amounts of grip. So that will be a little bit of a challenge, but also will be part of the fun. All 458s move the same way around the chassis. Whether it's the street car or a GT2 racecar you know you are driving a 458. They have a certain feel especially during corner entry."
Eduardo Espindola, team co-owner, is anxious to see his car at Road America.
"Road America, like Mosport, has a lot of sports car history," Espindola said. "The Ferrari is a great handling car and I am looking forward to seeing what we can do on that great circuit."
Alex Job, team co-owner, had a strong weekend with the Ferrari.
"It will be a very interesting weekend," Job said. "We are running the same track on the same weekend as the Grand-Am Series, which will merge with the American Le Mans Series next year. It will be fascinating to see how the different classes of cars will match up and what everyone thinks the future will hold."
The American Le Mans Series Orion Energy Systems event will be broadcast on Aug. 11 at 3:00 pm EDT on ABC with live qualifying streaming on ESPN3.com on Aug. 10 starting at 10:30 a.m.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 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.