AGR team looking for better ALMS results
The last time we saw Andretti Green Racing at an American Le Mans Series endurance event, the No. 26 Acura ARX had taken an LMP2 victory and an overall runner-up at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in its Series debut. With the 10th running of Petit Le Mans this weekend, AGR is back in “endurance mode” with a lineup of Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira. The three, plus team principal Kim Green, took some time to talk about the 1,000-mile/10-hour event at Road Atlanta.
“It’s been a pleasure for AGR to be involved in the American Le Mans Series. We didn’t underestimate the task at hand. We knew we would have to be very good. Overall we wanted to be competitive at every event. At some tracks we have done a good job; at others we haven’t. But it has been a good experience. We’re proud to be a part of the Acura family and look forward to next year.
“In our planning for a third driver for this event, we did look at what happened last year with Vitor’s great race. It was a well-thought-out decision. We’ve raced against Vitor in Indy cars in the past so we know how well he is.
“We certainly see that the Porsches are setting the goalposts a little farther away each race. It’s an indication of the things we need to work on. With the development support from Acura and HPD, it’s critical for us to be competitive to provide them with information.
“It would be a privilege to go to Le Mans next year. I don’t know if we’ll be in position to be in that role. We couldn’t go there without the efforts of the factory and be competitive. We do have our hands up for the event but there is a lot of discussion to be had. That is a long-term goal of Acura to be there.”
“It’s been from the highest of highs to going through a period in the summer when we fell back and now we’re trying to close strong. AGR has been in a lot of racing; this is different and you can’t underestimate the challenge with the level of competition in the paddock.
“Certainly reliability has been pretty good for us this year. We’ve had a strong lineup all year and we have it here with Vitor. We don’t have any weak links and just have to get through stints to get the next guy in. The preparation has been very good and the longer race will give us a better chance for success.
“The ultimate goal is to win races and win championships. We’re in a position that at some tracks we’re on the pace of the Porsches and some places we aren’t. Next year I expect to be on their pace at every track.”
“When you win a race like Sebring it’s always fun. Racing with two my best friends and winning that race is something that I’ll never forget. I drove the car in Sebring and a couple more times today. Every time I jump in the car I have had a blast. I missed my son’s birth to test so that shows how much fun I’m having. Things have changed though in the course of the year and now that I’ve been in the car I see it even more.
“As the rules in the Series are open, we look at every possible adjustment. It’s much better, but so are the other people on the team. Everyone and everything is improving -- suspension, setup, chassis, engine. We had some issues at Sebring, which was expected but we still ended up winning the race.”
“I had good success with Highcroft last year. The learning curve is very steep. Bryan and Tony are supplying me with a lot of information and this car is better than what we had last year. If I follow what Bryan and Tony are saying then we will be fine.
“One thing that stands out is braking in high-speed corners, how fast these cars are. There really are no limitations compared to IRL as far as what you can do to the car. The car gets faster and faster and never stops. Those are two things that really stand out.”