ALMS media day excerpts Three American Le Mans Series drivers who figure to be key players in this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg were part of Media Day on Thursday in downtown St. Petersburg. They spoke on the second round of the season, being on the Florida coast and what else the event offers.
Patrick Long, Flying Lizard Motorsports
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2)
“St. Pete is a little of a home track, and I am excited to be here (Long lives in Bellaire, Fla). The American Le Mans Series is unique with the four classes of competition. Last year, I drove a prototype against these guys (referring to Acura’s Gil de Ferran and David Brabham). This year I am in a GT car. Overall, it should be a wild race.”
(When to be aggressive and when to be patient?) “Turn 1 is a big passing opportunity. It is also a huge risk zone. The front straightaway is part of the airport runway, and the width is almost unheard of in street course racing. After Turn 1, you have to watch your line as the street narrows and turns into almost a bottle neck.”
David Brabham, Patr¢n Highcroft Racing
Acura ARX-02a (LMP1)
“There are a lot of street races around the world. And at St. Pete, the whole city gets behind the race. Everyone on the team is really looking forward to it. The atmosphere makes a big difference (lifting the spirits surrounding the paddock, pit lane, racetrack).”
“Coming to this race is a great window of opportunity for my family. We (his wife and children included) have come here to enjoy Florida and St. Petersburg. We were on the beach yesterday. … And I go racing on Saturday.”
Gil de Ferran, de Ferran Motorsports
Acura ARX-02a (LMP1)
“2004 was when I was first here. I was commentating for IndyCar Racing on TV. Since then, it is a little bit of a family outing. I came here with my wife and two kids. We make a great weekend of it.
“For me as a driver, I have never driven here in my life. I enjoy street circuits and I hope to do well. I don’t know much about the track and will be taking more track time (leading up to the race) to familiarize myself.”