Can you believe it’s been the whole racing season to date since I wrote the last one of these?
First of all: Road America. If you neglected to watch this weekend’s ALMS race, drop what you’re doing, find a torrent, and watch. It’s only three hours, and totally worth it.
Congrats first of all to Drayson Racing for their maiden victory, and second to the American Le Mans Series for their incredibly successful prototype rules. Fans of the series will recall that, due to flagging interest from factory teams, the ALMS ditched the ACO’s LMP1/LMP2 classification and combined both categories into a single heterogeneous “LMP” class, with weight penalties and engine restrictors and such to achieve some sort of parity. What that meant this weekend was that Drayson Racing (and its Judd V10-powered B09/60) stacked up against Patron-Highcroft’s Acura ARX-01 and Team CytoSport Muscle Milk’s Porsche RS Spyder — both LMP2 engine/chassis combinations revamped for the new regulations.
You’d expect the much faster and slightly heavier LMP”1″ cars to run away from the lighter, slower LMP”2″ cars on Road America’s three long straights. You’d be wrong. While pole-sitter Johnny Cocker ran laps five seconds faster than the RS Spyder in clean air, he also burned far more fuel doing so and was forced to pit under green with less than half an hour remaining. In the end, he passed David Brabham’s ARX-01 for second with only a few laps to spare and took the lead from Klaus Graf’s Porsche through Thunder Alley on the last lap, as the German slowed to make it across the finish with only fumes left in the tank.
This, folks, is racing. All of the LMPs were competitive, but in different ways and at different points in the track. Team Autocon Motorsports’ jarringly orange Lola/AER (“LMP1″) was by far the fastest car on track, and held the lead until it broke a shift linkage in the first hour, but the Dyson Motorsports Lola/Mazda (“LMP2″) and of course the RS Spyder were damn quick from T6 through the T9 carousel and dangerous under braking. Patron-Highcroft brought a modified “Le Mans” package for a bit less downforce and a bit less drag and split the difference between speed and quickness, giving them opportunities to attack all over the track but less margin for error. (This is the sort of thing you can do when you have Simon Pagenaud and David Brabham driving for you!)
It was glorious.
Speaking of glorious racing: next weekend is going to be a good one. We’ll have the Belgian Grand Prix and ALMS at Mosport. If your mantra leans more toward “four wheels good, two wheels better“, you’ll be pleased to watch Ben Spies and Valentino Rossi at the Indianapolis GP. Actually… just book off your whole Sunday.
And speaking of Formula One and dubious segues, this is why Korea is cool:
A business park inside a Formula One track, with a Satriani soundtrack. Yeah.
Finally, we find that Jalopnik have distilled their thread of epic win into ten illustrative (and illustrated) examples:
It’s… vindicating, in a backhanded sort of way. And the comment thread is likewise full of win. (And with that link, this post gets tagged “haterade” — for the jerkoffs who inspired #7 and #3.)