Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Road America 2013 ALMS: GT In The Paddock

As always, GT promised to be a great race--and it was.  The cars are bloody fast, the drivers are too, and the teams are as good as any in managing race strategies.  I'm saving the Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia for its own post.

Above and below: the Team West Ferrari 458 Italia: an independent entry (no factory support), unable to match the
pace of BMW/RLL Racing, Corvette Racing, the best Porsche teams, and Risi Competizione's Ferrari 458.  They had
a midrange misfire problem in qualifying.

BMW/RLL: just off the pace of Viper, Corvette, and Porsche at Road America.  The Z-4 has less frontal area than the
sedans the team ran in previous years, but looks to be more of a handful to drive.

Flying Lizard, and several other Porsche 911 GT3 RSR teams, were fast as always.

If you have an engine problem like Team West, but you also have the big bucks, you don't have to solve the problem
right now.  Just swap out the engine.

I didn't get any good Corvette pix.  The tents didn't let in much ambient light, and the cars were pushed well forward
inside them (away from prying eyes).  There was a vibe coming from the Corvette paddock, and that vibe was
"secretive."  If this team has become relaxed and complacent after so many years on top, it sure wasn't
obvious.  The fan sucks cooling air past the transaxle?

It's (a bit) embarrassing to admit that I didn't get any pix of the SRT Vipers, one of which took the pole in the GT class.  The explanation is simple: I've never liked Vipers much.  Where the Corvette at least has a sharpness to its big-bore V-8 sound, the Vipers just sound blatty.  They didn't sound or look fast in qualifying--which is a tribute to their speed: they made it look easy.  (By contrast, the BMW Z-4 drivers were provoking and then chasing oversteer in Canada Corner, where I watched qualifying.)  In the race, a Viper overhauled a Corvette in the last half-hour, so the finishing order was Viper-Corvette-Corvette-Viper-Porsche.

I did get a few Porsche GT3 Cup Car shots:

There's more lattitude (and variability) allowed in rear wing adjustment than I'd have guessed.

The "office" of the same GT3 Cup car.  They had a marvelous rain race on Sunday morning.  We watched from Canada
Corner.  Lots of people went off, including two of the early leaders.  But the cars that finished 1-2-3 chewed on each
other for the last 20 minutes without mistakes.  They put on a driving clinic and got a standing ovation from our
grandstand on their cool-down lap.

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