Many inexperienced drivers run into the same issue by forgetting to “keep their eyes up” and look far enough down the track to plan their next move. In the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, race teams can’t afford to make the same mistake. As they head into the fourth round of 2010 at Miller Motorsports Park next week team officials, crews, and drivers cannot forget that they are beginning one of the most intense and tiring stints of the season –five races in just eight weeks.
“Running this many races so close together is always a challenge with our cars,” Drayson Racing team manager Dale White said. “Unlike other series, we do not have a stable of Lola-Judds back at the shop with an additional 40-person team devoted solely to their preparation.” White and the entire Drayson Racing team understand the difficulties associated with transport to and from races. The British team, founded in 2009, has a lot of experience in coping with the distance between its Gloucestershire, United Kingdom headquarters and North American events.
Regardless of experience level, plans in racing rarely run without a hitch. With so many parts and pieces that have to come together to make the summer stint a success, teams have to prepare for the unexpected. “We are flexible if we have unexpected issues,” White said. “The most difficult challenge is having the parts we need on hand. We do have a good spare parts supply and an expected maintenance parts replacement program but have no guarantee that suppliers will deliver on time.”
With the team headquarters an ocean away, timing can mean everything. “If we use the spares on-hand we may not get a replacement for a few weeks which could hurt us at the next race,” White added. “Trying to anticipate the unexpected is the biggest challenge with this many races back-to-back.”
In the end, success in the arduous summer stint can depend on a team’s perspective. Some teams, like Muscle Milk Team CytoSport, are not as concerned with the summer stint as a whole so much as the individual races. “In all honesty, this isn’t really hectic for us,” team manager Geoffrey Carter said. “We’re a team of professionals who are use to this kind of pace during a regular racing season.” Putting it in perspective the team, says Carter, has seen bigger challenges in recent memory. “I actually think it’s easier to plan for five races in eight weeks than it is to plan all the logistics behind going to Le Mans, which we did in 2008.”
Both teams and the rest of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón field are ready to kick off the summer stint with the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park. The two-hour, 45-minute race will begin at 2:35 p.m. MT on Sunday, July 11, with coverage beginning on SPEED at 4:30 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche – a production of Radio Show Limited – as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 242. Visit the Series’ schedule page for ticket and accommodation information. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much, much more will be available on Racehub at americanlemans.com.
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