Houston: ALMS pre-race quotes
This weekend’s Lone Star Grand Prix marks the third straight street race for the American Le Mans Series. Already the Series’ cars and stars have made first-time visits to St. Petersburg and Long Beach. Now they head back to the streets of Houston and JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park for a second consecutive visit. What makes a street event so special, what challenges to they bring, and how will last year’s experience at Houston help teams and drivers?
Allan McNish, Audi Sport North America
“From our point of view, it can be an advantage because we have very limited experience with the Audi R10 TDI on these types of tracks. So we’re learning during every session we do. The only slight negative is that the R10 doesn’t really like that type of place. It likes to stretch its legs.”
Andy Wallace, Dyson Racing
“I really like the street tracks because the impression of speed is huge. When you sit down so low in an LMP car, you see walls on every side and it feels like a video game. Only there are much worse consequences if you get it wrong. The ones we go to, like Houston, are beautiful places and nice towns.”
Butch Leitzinger, Dyson Racing
“It was a great inaugural event. We definitely came to a lot of new people and the spectators that came to the event were very happy and wanted to learn about our cars. This year, not only do people now know what to expect, but the track has been improved a bit too. Last year we had some problems with bumps but they’ve been grinded down so I think we’ll have a great time.”
Guy Smith, Dyson Racing
“As drivers, we enjoy driving on the street tracks because they are very technical to drive and very technical to set a car up. We see it as a real challenge.”
Joey Hand, Panoz Team PTG
“You already have a pretty diverse crowd of cars between the LMP cars and GT cars. Running street races brings it to the people. You can’t have a better option than that. It’s tough to get people out of their houses and out of towns where some of the road courses are. When you bring this into their streets, they have to watch. Most people who watch racing will be fans. You just have to get them to watch it.”
Johannes van Overbeek, Flying Lizard Motorsports
“It’s nice to get in the rhythm with street courses because there is a different mindset. You can’t go 100 percent. You do have to leave a margin. Last year a lot of fans turned out and it was a fun event. I’ve heard the track has been resurfaced so I’m looking forward to that.”
The Lone Star Grand Prix at Houston’s JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park is set for 5:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday, April 21. The race will be broadcast on CBS Sports at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 29. International coverage will be available on MotorsTV, SPEED Latin America and 7TV in Russia. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.