Sweedler and Bell to Start West/AJR Ferrari from Sixth Row in GT
AUSTIN, Texas, (Sept. 20, 2013) - Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell will start the Team West/Alex Job Racing Boardwalk Ferrari from the sixth row for tomorrow's running of the American Le Mans Series event at the new Circuit of the America's (COTA).
Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) and Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) put in a strong day of dry running in the Ferrari during practice yesterday. The team had changing conditions throughout today's schedule which included wet Yokohama tires to start the 8 a.m. practice. The rain eventually stopped, and the team went to slick tires by the end of the session. Qualifying was run with full wet tires. Bell put in a time of 2:21.704 that will have the red and white 458 starting from the sixth row in GT.
"The new COTA circuit is very cool," Bell said. "The elevation change from the exit of Turn 20 to the entry of Turn One is pretty spectacular. The intermediate conditions didn't help us for qualifying. We needed it to be really wet. It is supposed to be dry tomorrow for the race, so that will help. Bill is doing a really good job learning his way around the track and improving with every lap. He will be strong for us at the start tomorrow. We will keep it clean and run hard to the checker."
Sweedler likes the new COTA circuit.
"COTA is a really smooth track," Sweedler said. "I am used to running up in the northeast where you have cracks in the track from the winters and cold weather. The esses are a great rhythm section to go through in our Ferrari. I would like to have a little more torque out of Turn 20 to launch me up that ski hill on the front stretch. Townsend did a good job in changing conditions in qualifying. Tomorrow afternoon it is supposed to be dry and hot for the race."
Alex Job, team owner, has his team working through the set-up on this new track.
"We have run in the dry, somewhat dry and a down pour this weekend," Job said. "Coming to a new track you hope to try and perfect a dry set-up, but we had everything today. Bill and Townsend were learning there way around this new track and doing a good job providing feedback to the team and improving every session. The weather will change again tomorrow and we are looking forward to a good race."
The American Le Mans Series race at Circuit of the America's in Austin, Texas will run Sept.19-21. The television broadcast from COTA will air Sept. 22 at 1:00 pm EDT on ESPN 2, live streaming can be viewed Sept. 21 starting at 3:45 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.