ELKHART LAKE, WI August 8, 2008 – In keeping with its reputation as the world’s fastest permanent road course, qualifying records fell sharply this afternoon at Road America for tomorrow’s Generac 500 American Le Mans race. The LMP2 pole time eclipsed the existing record by a second and a half, the largest P2 improvement this season. The two Dyson cars qualified almost two seconds quicker than their 2007 times and will line up seventh and eighth in class, with Marino Franchitti setting fast time for the #20 Porsche RS Spyder and Chris Dyson qualifying the #16 Thetford/Norcold entry.
“We qualified a tenth off the second Penske Porsche and have two well-balanced cars for the race,” said Dyson. “It is a four-hour race and you concentrate on setting up a car that works equally well in the diversity of high and low speed corners that Road America is known for. We have had good race cars at this track and have finished on the podium in three of our last five races here.” “This is one of the better tracks,” agreed Franchitti. “Unlike some tracks that feel like they were created in a laboratory, this is a very organic track. It is challenging track for aero balance where the car needs to be well balanced in all situations.”
“It is a known as a horsepower circuit because of the long straights,” said Guy Smith. “But it is also important to have mechanical balance because of the slow corners that you need to come off of as smoothly and quickly as possible because of the impact on your top end speed. Braking efficiency is also critical since you need to carry your speed as long as you can on the straights.”
“This is a circuit that lets the car do what it wants to,” commented Butch Leitzinger. “It gives you a feeling of freedom as a driver. They really did it right in the fifties when they were building this track. They went out in the woods – no slide rules, no architects. They built the track to the land and gave it a great natural flow. I watched a lot of races here when my dad was racing and always look forward to coming back each year.” Saturday’s four-hour race will start at 4 p.m. CT with the SPEED broadcast starting at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 10. XM will air the race from 4 to 8 p.m. ET on Sunday via Sports Nation Channel 144. Live radio coverage will be on American Le Mans Radio at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSAs live timing and scoring.
|5.||7||P2||Dumas/Bernhard||1:47.736||Porsche RS Spyder|
|7.||66||P2||de Ferran/Pagenaud||1:48.160||Acura ARX|
|9.||6||P2||Maassen/Long||1:48.160||Porsche RS Spyder|
|10.||20||P2||Leitzinger/Franchitti||1:48.586||Porsche RS Spyder|