Braselton, GA, (Oct. 1, 2010), Alex Job Racing’s (AJR) Bill Sweedler qualified the No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron Porsche 997 fifth in GTC for tomorrow’s running of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron Petit Le Mans presented by Mazda. Sweedler is joined by teammates Romeo Kapudija and Jan-Dirk Lueders. The AJR trio has a lot to play for in tomorrow’s 10-hour/1,000-mile race.
– AJR driver Bill Sweedler remains in the GTC championship picture. He needs to have Pappas/Bleekemolen (54 car) not be classified and Lewis (88 car) to finish fourth or worse.
– Sweedler and Romeo Kapudija are battling for the GTC Founders Cup trophy, awarded to the top driver that does not derive his primary income from racing.
– AJR is still in contention for the team championship with 113 points. The team would have to win and have Black Swan (120 points) score a fourth place or worse.
Sweedler posted a lap time of 1:26.300 around the tough 2.54-mile, 12- turn Road Atlanta circuit. The black, green and yellow AJR Porsche will come to the green from the third row on the GTC grid. The field for this year’s Petit Le Mans will see 45-cars take the start, the largest field of the year. The top LMP cars from Audi and Peugeot are lapping the circuit nearly twenty-seconds faster than the GTC field. This will create an added challenge for the AJR drivers when the green flies at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow morning.
“The Alex Job team has done amazing work with the set-up of the car,” Sweedler said. “Right off of the trailer we were fast. The weather was difficult for Jan, Romeo and I, we had very little track time. Last night we had to cut the session short. What matters is consistency. With our drivers and this team we should be one of the most consistent tomorrow. Our strategy will be to stay out of trouble. There are almost 50-cars on the track. The GTC competitors are the slowest out there, so there is a lot of watching out for P1, P2s and especially the GT2 cars. The GT2 guys are fairly close in speed to us, making them the most troublesome.”
Romeo Kapudija has spent the practice time reacquainting himself with the Road Atlanta circuit.
“We had limited track time in the dry this week,” Kapudija said. “I haven’t been here in about six years, so I have had to relearn the track and the line. I thought my memory would have been better. The car has been phenomenal and the guys have done a flawless job with the car. I think Bill, Jan and I will be consistent in the race and I am looking for a podium finish. Our strategy will be to run a clean race. The prototypes are very aggressive. As we go through the esses they are on us instantly and they have been overly aggressive.”
First time Road Atlanta racer Jan Dirk-Lueders is ready for tomorrow’s race.
“Road Atlanta is a challenging circuit, but one I am finding to be very fun,” Lueders said. “I am starting to get the line down and find the rhythm of the track. I like the esses and Turn Five, the more flowing parts of the track. Turn 12 and One are really fun. The car has been really good and the handling is very balanced. The brakes have a lot of feedback to them. We will need to stay out of trouble as it is a long race.”
Alex Job, team owner, has his team ready for the second longest race of the year.
“We have had an interesting week of practice,” Job said. “We have a combination of first time Road Atlanta drivers and those who have been here before, but in the old configuration. The guys have done a great job on the car and it is ready to go. Bill, Romeo and Jan have shown good speed, but the element we won’t be able to control is that of the faster cars. Those Audis and Peugeots go around here very fast and that can create havoc for the other cars. Our first goal is to finish and we can refine that as we get into the night tomorrow.”
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron Petit Le Mans will be televised live on the SPEED Channel starting at 11:00 a.m. ET, tomorrow, Saturday, October 2. The racing network will provide flag-to-flag coverage for the entire event from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in ALMS history with 39 wins. This record is supported by 46 pole positions and 80 podium finishes. The team has won three championships (GT in 2002, 2003 and 2004) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts seven 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.
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