ALMS may lose Autocon teamAutocon Motorsports returned the LMP1 scene in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n this season. The California-based team, owned by Michael Lewis, placed third in the 2011 LMP1 team championship – certainly no small feat. Lewis explains Autocon’s season and what the future may hold.
ALMS: How beneficial were the chassis updates from Lola? Lewis: They were really not updates; it was more just a freshening of the chassis to make sure the loading capacity was still to spec. A weak spot in the front was identified and corrected. We also fixed a couple issues on the front bulkhead.
ALMS: What was Autocon’s best race of the season and why? Lewis: We had a number of consistent, strong races this year. I base that on the reality of what we can achieve as a small privateer team with non-pro drivers. We had a number of podiums – some of which were well-earned, some of which admittedly fell into our hands. I think the Baltimore race was a strong one for us, as was Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Although we did not get the end result there, it was a good effort. Petit Le Mans was also strong for us until the last 40 minutes.
ALMS: When you look back on the 2011 ALMS, what’s the lasting memory you’ll have? Lewis: I think Petit Le Mans was especially poignant for me as it was my last race as an ALMS team owner. There was special meaning in getting third place in the team championship as we beat out the No. 20 (Oryx Dyson Racing) car even though it ran one more race than us. That was something to be proud of for a small team from the West Coast in a vastly out-gunned car. I will take that with me.
ALMS: Can you give a couple hints on what 2012 will hold for the team? Lewis: I know Chris and Tony are working to put together a program and may carry on with the team name. It has been a wonderful decade in the ALMS for me and I will take great memories with me into the sunset. I will return to club racing from whence I came, and to where I always knew I would return. I love racing.
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