BALTIMORE, MD August 31, 2012 – Guy Smith set the pace in the #16 Mazda-powered ModSpace entry in the morning’s first practice session today for the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge. In the afternoon, he exchanged fastest laps with Lucas Luhr four times in qualifying before Luhr finally claimed pole on the two-mile course that runs through the heart of downtown Baltimore and along the Inner Harbor. It was a two-three qualifying effort for Dyson Racing as Eric Lux qualified the #20 entry a close third.
“This is the kind of track where if you really hustle the car, you can gain half a second. We gave it a good shot today and the car was closer most of the session than I thought it would be,” Guy commented after qualifying. Guy won the pole here last year, part of a one- two Dyson qualifying effort that preceded a one-two Dyson Racing finish the next day at the inaugural Grand Prix of Baltimore.
“There were a few red flags in the afternoon practice session that took away valuable track time,” said Eric. “It took me the beginning part of qualifying to understand different areas of the track and figure where I could maximize the time. I went for it and we put in a good time. I came in and bled down the tires to give it another go and we only had one flying lap after that and I think if we had one more lap it would have been close.”
The abbreviated practice sessions were not the only challenge of the day as the teams battled temperatures in the high nineties. “The heat makes a big difference in the slower corners and with mid-corner understeer in general,” said Vince Wood, the race engineer for the #20 car of Michael Marsal and Eric Lux. “The more you depend on down force, the more the heat takes away performance. The track surface gets very hot and the more the boundary layer (the heat waves you see coming off the track) rises underneath the car, the less downforce you have. So you try to get the car as low as possible so that the tunnels can work, but then you run up against the problems presented by the bumpy nature of street courses. Plus the hotter the track, the less grip you have anyway, so it is a challenge all the way around. But if you can get your car working in the heat, a lot of times other people do not hit it as well, and you can really benefit.”
Tomorrow’s race marks the 100th American Le Mans Series race for Chris Dyson. He will be honored before the race for his accomplishment. “The one constant the past ten years has been the exciting diversity of cars and technologies, and the very strong racing that has produced over the years. The ALMS is a great paddock and it has been a real honor to compete for 100 events here.”
Saturday’s race starts at 4:30 p.m. ET. ABC’s broadcast begins at noon ET on Sunday, Sept. 2. Live coverage starts at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
You can follow Dyson Racing at: dysonracing.com, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.