MacNeil and Bleekemolen to Start from Third Row in GTC at Road America
Front tire leak hampers speed
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen will start their No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche from row three for tomorrow's running of the American Le Mans Series Orion Energy Systems 245 at Road America. A front tire leak in qualifying hampered the handling of the WeatherTech Porsche.
The Mosport race winners from two weeks ago are having trouble finding the necessary speed balance at the four-mile, 14 turn natural terrain road course. Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo) put in a qualifying time of 2:12.989 that was good for sixth in the GTC Class. MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill) will start the two-hour-and-forty-five minute race tomorrow.
"We were already slow in free practice," Bleekemolen said. "The time we are losing is on the straigths. We made some adjustments for qualifying which only made the car worse. I had a lot of oversteer in the car in qualifying. In practice we had a good handling car with no power, in qualifying we had better power, but I couldn't get it down to the track. We found out later that one of the front tires had a leak and it lost half of its pressure. We now need to get the balance right for the race. We have all day to work on it and then prove it out tomorrow morning in the warm-up."
MacNeil tested here a week ago and put in some fast laps.
"We worked hard at the test and we were able to get some good notes for this weekend," MacNeil said. "I was having trouble getting back to my testing times and Jeroen wasn't showing his usual speed as well. We tried to make-up for it with aero, but that made the car loose. The leak in the tire was an unlucky break. The guys have a plan and we will see what happens in the warm-up tomorrow. We will figure it out and be up there competing for the win tomorrow afternoon."
Alex Job, team owner, has his team making adjustments.
"It was a little frustrating this morning." Job said. "We were not on our usual pace in practice and that carried over into qualifying. We are down on power on these long straigths. It takes the right balance of aero and horsepower on these identical GTC cars to be at the top and we didn't have it this morning. After the session we found a tire that was leaking, so that contributed to our lack of speed. We have a plan and will get it right for the warm-up tomorrow."
The American Le Mans Series Orion Energy Systems event will be broadcast on Aug. 11 at 3:00 pm EDT on ABC.
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 GTC category is specific to one of the most popular factory produced racing cars in the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Developed for Porsche's one-make series around the world, the new version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is based on the road-going 911 GT3 RS. The power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup is largely identical to the production engine of the 911 GT3 RS with the same output of 450 bhp and the same maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm.