Franchitti likes Road Atlanta
The 10th running of Petit Le Mans will mark Dario Franchitti’s third start in the American Le Mans Series this season. And after the 10th running of the Series’ cornerstone event at Road Atlanta, all three events will have been on completely different types of circuits.
Road Atlanta is a fast, flowing 12-turn natural terrain road course that covers 2.54 miles in the foothills of northeast Georgia. The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring - where Franchitti, Bryan Herta and Tony Kanaan won in LMP2 and finished second overall in the Series debut for Acura and Andretti Green Racing – takes place on the site of a former World War II base. Part of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit sits on an old runway with no elevation change. Long Beach, where Franchitti captured the overall pole position and led 39 of the first 46 laps, is a tight and twisty 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit that sits on the southern California waterfront.
But Franchitti, who has tested at Road Atlanta with AGR in preparation for Petit Le Mans, has become familiar with the Georgia layout over the years. Younger brother Marino has competed in the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic five times in the last six years and placed second in GT2 last year with Risi Competizione.
“I’ve been here and spent several times with Marino driving at Petit Le Mans in different types of cars and watching Allan (McNish) race too,” the Scot said. “It was fun to finally get out there with the car and see what it is all about. The track feels great with the grip from the recent repaving.
“The car is so much different than it was at Long Beach and certainly at Sebring,” the reigning Indy 500 and IRL champion said. “It really is spectacular and fast. Bryan, Marino and the rest of the Andretti Green Racing team have done a phenomenal job in improving it and I’m excited to get back in for Petit.”
The 10th running of Petit Le Mans, the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta, is set for 11:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 6. SPEED will provide live coverage from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 10 p.m. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.