After spending the entire season criss-crossing the continent, Robertson Racing won’t have far to travel for the final round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. That’s because the team’s Braselton headquarters is just around the corner from Road Atlanta, home to the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda 2 season finale (29 September – 2 October).
In recognition, Robertson Racing will, for the first time ever, enter a pair of their Ford GTs in the ten-hour/1000-mile event which has also been designated round two of the ACO’s new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
The privateer outfit has fond memories of racing at Road Atlanta. 12 months ago, against the might of factory-supported Ferraris, Porsches, BMWs and Corvettes, David Murry set a blistering time during qualifying to take the team’s first GT class pole position.
A year on, two Ford GTs will compete for that honour. David Robertson and Andrea Robertson are joined at the wheel of the #40 machine by experienced Grand-AM GT-class racer Craig Stanton, while regular partner Murry moves across to the new #04 chassis alongside double Le Mans class winner Rob Bell and former NASCAR and Indycar star Anthony Lazzaro.
The scale of the team’s efforts to complete their second car in time has been enormous with 12-hour shifts common-place since the Series’ previous round at Mosport last month.
Rolled out for the first time at Road Atlanta last Saturday, resplendent in a new Robertson Racing livery, the Ford GT completed its first laps during the Petit Le Mans open test held across the weekend.
Although visually similar to its sister machine, #04 harbours an Elan Motorsport Technologies-developed V8 engine converted to run on greener and more powerful E85 fuel. That, along with Dunlop’s latest specification tyres, could significantly improve performance.
Andrew ‘H’ Smith, Team Manager: “It’s been a massive effort to build a car from scratch but I was delighted to see it run for the first time last weekend. I’m so proud of every member of the team who has worked incredibly hard to prepare it in time for Petit. I’m also very confident in its reliability and can’t wait to see how much difference the new E85 motor – which we’re sure will offer more horsepower – and Dunlop’s special compound tyres will make to our performance. In fact, Dunlop is very excited about what we’re capable of and has upped their support for this race. These factors, as well as having three pro-drivers in #04, give us a genuine chance of a great result.”
David Murry, #04: “I’m excited for the whole team, not just for me. The Robertsons have been very gracious by offering me a seat in the new car along with the other pro drivers, so I must thank them for that. Last year our qualifying performance was excellent but this time I actually think it’s the car’s race pace that will surprise a few people. Road Atlanta’s my local track but there’s no real advantage to be gained from that anymore. Everyone knows the place! Instead, tyres will be key. There’s always a trade-off and I think this year we’ll have a more durable compound which will work really well throughout the race. Obviously it was great to get pole in ’09 but this year I’m looking forward to maintaining that pace lap after lap.”
Petit Le Mans will be broadcast live across America on the SPEED channel from 11am ET, while European viewers can see the race live on Motors TV from 5pm CET. Live commentary can also be heard on www.RadioLeMans.com.
Petit Le Mans schedule:
Wednesday, 29 September:
3:45pm – 4:15pm: Testing Session
4:15pm – 5:15pm: Testing Session
Thursday, 30 September:
10:00am – 11:00am: Practice
2:35pm – 3:35pm: Practice
7:00pm – 9:00pm: Combined Night Practice
Friday, 1 October:
9:30am – 10:30am: Practice
3:15pm – 3:40pm: Qualifying
Saturday, 2 October:
9:15 am – 9:40am: Warm Up
© RIF | MM