Long Beach: Intersport Racing preview
Intersport Racing Signs Nikolas Konstant - Heads West On The Attack Putting adversity behind them, Intersport Racing heads to the 2010 Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach with one goal in mind; go to the front. Ready for a street ...
Intersport Racing Signs Nikolas Konstant - Heads West On The Attack
Putting adversity behind them, Intersport Racing heads to the 2010 Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach with one goal in mind; go to the front. Ready for a street fight, the team returns to Long Beach fielding entries in the LMP1 class and the all new LMPC division.
Beginning at Long Beach, driver Nikolas Konstant will join the team as co-driver in the LMP1 car sharing the driving duties with Clint and Jon Field for the 2010 season. Konstant comes to the team with a background in Forumula racing and Indy Lights. Konstant had a very successful test in the LMP1 car earlier in the year during the American Le Mans Series winter test.
After a devastating incident that totally destroyed the No. 37 AER powered Lola B06 10 LMP1 car, the Dublin, Ohio based team spent the last three weeks upgrading and preparing their backup Lola.
"Obviously the wreck at Sebring took it's toll on the team," noted Clint. "Once back at the shop though, we formulated a plan to put the second car into service and focus on the rest of the year. It's a tough way to start the season, but we've got eight races ahead of us and we intend to race the same way we always race^a hard."
The team made a quick shakedown run at Putman Park this week and returned extremely pleased, noting Jon Field posted the fastest lap ever set by a sports car on that track.
"The car is exceptionally good," reported Jon Field. "Our primary car was extremely fast at Sebring. We posted one of the quickest lap times of that day. The new car feels as good if not better and, for what it's worth, I was able to put two seconds on my personal best time at this track. I'm confident we can get this car to the front at Long Beach."
Clint Field was on hand to put the No. 89 Quicksilver Oreca FLM09 LMPC car through it's paces and, like Jon, was pleased with the car's preparation.
"We had some mechanical challenges at Sebring, and we've made a lot of headway in sorting the car out," said Clint. "The biggest challenge for the team is that everything is different. It's a new car, new class^a and while we've put talented drivers in the car, they're also new to the team. In the end, it just takes time. I like the way car feels and I was able to put down some very quick times with it."
In an effort to advance the progress of the LMPC program, Intersport has called Mazda factory driver Ben Devlin into service. Ben, at just 28 years-old, is a well respected ALMS veteran and in great demand as a test and development driver. Ben is known for his ability to work well with race engineers in car set-up and preparation. Though he is currently under contract with Mazda, both Lola and Van Dieman have called on his services in the past to help with car development.
"I've always been close with Jon and Clint," said Ben and I'm appreciative of Mazda's cooperation in allowing me to come over and help. I also enjoy a good relationship with Martin Dixon and I think together we can help get the LMPC program further along. Both Brian [Wong] and Mitch [Pagerey] have a lot of talent, so I think it's only a matter of working with them and helping them understand some of the nuances of driving a prototype. Both drivers have most of their racing experience in GT cars. When you drive a prototype, you have to trust it and have confidence in the amount of grip these cars have. With more experience, I think they'll come to terms with that. Hopefully, I can help move that process along and also help them communicate back to the engineers what the car is doing so the appropriate set-up changes can be made. This is a good program with an excellent car and a couple of talented drivers^a we just need to work on communication. I'm confident I can help and I'm looking forward to working with everyone."
"Having Ben on board to help with the LMPC program is huge," added Clint. "As a driver, Ben has great communication skills getting information back to the engineers. In addition, he can mentor our drivers and help them understand what the car is doing and how to share that information with the crew. I think Ben's presence will really speed up the learning curve that we all face in the effort to bring the LMPC program up to speed."
This week Intersport Racing will join the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series for the Long Beach Grand Prix. Long Beach is the second round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. 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.
-source: intersport racing
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