Robertson Racing leaves this year’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda 2 slightly disappointed by their luck in the 10-hour/1000 mile race, but optimistic about the future of the team.
And, with both Ford GT cars running to the finish at the Road Atlanta circuit, there’s plenty to build on during the off-season, as the team aims to expand to a two-car entry for the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
The number #04 car – piloted by David Murry, Rob Bell and Anthony Lazzaro – lost time to an incident early in proceedings, and was then hit by starter issues during the pitstops. However it was able to enjoy clean running in the second half of the race, setting competitive lap times with the rest of the GT2 class to finish eighth.
This weekend’s event saw experienced Grand-Am GT-class racer Craig Stanton join regular drivers David Robertson and Andrea Robertson in the number #40 machine, and he settled in to his new role well. After losing time to a spark plug problem they were able to bring it home 12th in class.
Andrew ‘H’ Smith, Team Manager: “Overall we’re happy that we got both cars to the end, but we had higher hopes for a better result than we got. Still, we had a brilliant team of people – all of the crew and the group of drivers worked very well together.
“An incident with a Ferrari at the beginning cost the #04 car a few laps, and after that we seemed to keep catching the yellow flags and pace car periods at the wrong time. The car then ran a good pace throughout the remainder of the race, setting lap times competitive with the rest of the field, and we finished – that was the main thing. We got a brand new car to the end, so the reliability was good. We did have some starter issues, and had to bump the car a few times to get it fired up, but this didn’t slow us down in any way, which was positive.
“During Andrea’s second stint in the #40 car we short filled her, but she had an incident after struggling to get past a GTC runner who was blocking her. Eventually she tried to get by at turn one but got out on the marbles, which rolled her off the track. She caught the tyre wall and we lost 30 minutes, but we got it back out and there were no issues afterwards – the car ran just fine.
“It was good to have three more drivers giving good feedback, and our job now will be to work on the car. The speed is okay, we’re just looking to improve it over the bumps and under braking. Next year our goal is to run two cars in the ALMS, and if we do my choice would be to do so with exactly the same team of drivers.
“We’re going to take a break for a week now, then come back and re-prep all of the cars and get ourselves sorted out with equipment and work on our plan for next year, because come January we’re off winter testing again – it’ll come round really quickly!”
© RIF | MM