MIAMI, FL, OCT. 5 — Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing teammates James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger piloted their #16 MG-Lola EX257 to a runner-up finish in the two-hour, forty-five minute Grand Prix Americas. The Anglo-American pairing, who had started the race in twentieth position, moved gradually up the field and were poised to take the lead in the LMP675 class before starter problems blighted their charge.
James Weaver drove the first hour of the race before handing off to Butch Leitzinger in a routine pit stop. The Pennsylvanian went to restart the car after the car had been fueled, and the turbo AER four cylinder unit did not fire. The team quickly traced the problem to the starter motor. Since a car must start under its own power in the American Le Mans Series, the crew behind the pitwall so Leitzinger could be push started and rejoin the race. The team lost nearly eight laps in the process, and Leitzinger spent the remaining hour and a half chasing down the second-placed Pilbeam-Nissan. On the last lap, Leitzinger caught the slower car and overtook for a hard-fought result.
“We struggled to generate tire temperature this weekend,” James Weaver said afterwards. “But the car is almost there. I think we will be in much better shape (at the Petit Le Mans) in Atlanta next weekend.”
Leitzinger was pleased with the car`s progress, epecially later in the event. “We seemed to be much closer to the lead pack when the grip levels went off, so that is encouraging,” he said. “I am looking forward to the Petit.”
The team heads northward this week to Road Atlanta, for next Saturday`s Petit Le Mans. British star Andy Wallace will be re-joining his Dyson teammates for the enduro. Testing begins on Wednesday.