Sweedler and Bell Looking Forward to Baltimore in Team West/AJR Ferrari
TAVARES, Fla. - Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell are ready to take on the streets of Baltimore in this weekend's American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Baltimore to run Aug. 31.
The 2.02-mile, 12-turn temporary Baltimore street circuit surrounds Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, and traverses along the scenic Inner Harbor district. The concrete lined race course also encompasses a set of train tracks that are temporarily asphalt covered. Team West/AJR drivers Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) are returning to the track with the Ferrari 458 for the first time. The handling and balance of the Ferrari 458 has the team hoping for better things this weekend in the Charm City.
Sweedler returns to the team from a two race absence and is anxious to get back behind the wheel of the 458 GT this weekend.
"I am ready to get back to racing," Sweedler said. "Baltimore is becoming one of the great street racing events on the calendar. The fans really embrace the event and have been coming out in huge numbers. It feels like a giant block party around the Inner Harbor! The circuit itself is a great layout, except for the bone rattling jump over the railroad tracks. I can't wait to get the Ferrari 458 out in practice. The team has been making steady progress on the car, proof positive by Leh's qualifying lap at Road America three weeks ago. Yokohama has been steadily improved the tire and I am really looking forward to the last four races of the season."
Bell likes the challenging Baltimore circuit and is looking forward to exercising the Ferrari through its streets.
"The track has an interesting layout, and the promoters keep tweaking the course to make overtaking a little easier," Bell said. "Patience is the key to running on street courses. Lots of things happen, and we can benefit from others over exuberance. This track rewards torque, and we have some of that this year. This is the ultimate driver dream - taking a Ferrari through the city streets with no police escort. When the racing is over, we will be having our second annual rocking party at Angels Rock Bar Saturday night."
Eduardo Espindola, team co-owner, is looking forward to Baltimore.
"I am anxious to see our 458 on the streets of Baltimore," Espindola said. "We showed some speed at Road America and with our handling package the Ferrari should be really good this weekend."
Alex Job, team co-owner, is ready to move to the next event as well.
"We showed good speed at Road America, now we need to focus on the handling," Job said. "These street races always have limited practice time, so we have to be good right off the truck. Yokohama continues to improve the tire and a street race is pretty level playing field for everyone. We are welcoming Bill back and looking forward to a strong weekend."
The American Le Mans Series will travel to Maryland for the Grand Prix of Baltimore to run Aug. 30-31. The race will be televised on ABC Sept. 1 at 12:00 p.m. EDT on ABC. Live streaming of the race can be viewed on ESPN3.com, Aug. 31 at 3:30 pm EDT with live qualifying streaming Aug. 30 at 4:20 pm EDT on ESPN 3.com.
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.