Unfamiliar territory for AMR at Long Beach
Needless to say, designers at Aston Martin and Lola didn’t quite have the historic Long Beach street circuit in mind when they built Aston Martin Racing’s sleek closed-top Lola-Aston Martin prototype. Distance-wise, two laps at Long Beach is a little more than one pass down the famed Mulsanne Straight.
So that brings us to this weekend’s Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. Adrian Fernandez and Harold Primat will pilot the Aston Martin-powered Lola coupe around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit. One of the biggest questions of the entire event is just how the big prototype will maneuver around Long Beach on its first visit.
“We did street races with the (Ferrari 550 Maranello) GT car at Miami and Trois-Rivières so it’s not completely new for us,” said AMR team principal and manager George Howard-Chappell, who held the same role when Prodrive campaigned the GT1 Ferraris. “Of course this car isn’t suited for a street circuit – it was built for Le Mans. So we’ll be running the highest downforce setting we have. The car will be very good on the two long straights and we should be good for the race. But I’d be very surprised if we are on pole or on the front row. The P2 cars are so much better suited for tracks like this. But we’ll give it a good and see what happens.”
It has been a busy month for AMR. Fernandez, Primat and Stefan Mucke placed second in March at the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida to open the year. The trio also placed second in the Le Mans Series’ opening round this past weekend at Paul Ricard, finishing only behind Audi’s reworked R15 Plus turbo-diesel.
“Paul Ricard was good. It was fortunate for us that the (ORECA-run) Peugeot had trouble,” Howard-Chappell said. “We didn’t have any problems and neither did the Audi. We’re still not going to be the diesels; we have to be around to pick up some pieces. That’s what happened last weekend.”
The Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach is the second round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. The race, set at the historic Long Beach street circuit, is scheduled for 4:40 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 17 with coverage on SPEED set for 8 to 10 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche – a production of Radio Show Limited – as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 242. Visit the Series’ schedule page for ticket and accommodation information. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much, much more will be available on Racehub at americanlemans.com.
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