The Claro/TracFone DeltaWing Racing Cars team began the day on a positive note, with solid laps in morning warm up giving the team confidence for a good finish from its sixth-place starting position in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda. Ultimately, exhaust and brake issues ended the day early, but the team knows they are getting closer to a solid finish in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Katherine Legge started the race, scheduled for two hours and 40 minutes. As the nine-car prototype class barreled into the tight first two corners of Mazda Raceway’s challenging 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit, Legge was pushed off course and lost a position. Legge also found herself battling understeer as the race progressed. Team manager Tim Keene called for a change in the car’s aero package on the first pit stop, and the team accomplished the change of the entire front nose assembly in a quick 50 seconds. But shortly after the car exited the pit lane, team engineers began to see issues with the exhaust system with a resulting reduction in boost. Legge drove the DeltaWing Coupe back to the garage, where the determined team worked to replace the exhaust and get the Coupe back on track.
Memo Rojas stepped in to continue the race, but encountered a brake issue after several laps. Rather than risk the car or an incident, the team decided to withdraw with 16 minutes remaining.
“We went with the low-downforce package for the race and I had a lot of understeer, so I just tried to stay with the pack as much as I could and get to the first pit stop. We’re still testing, to a degree, as this is still a development project. We’re still trying to learn something every time we go out. We decided to change the front aero package and the team did a fantastic job of quickly getting the nose changed in the pits, which kept us from going a lap down. We were staying out of trouble and being careful but then we had the exhaust issue. Again, it was a great job by the team to get us back out on track. We know more now about what works on this car aerodynamically – people have to remember how unique this car is. You have to think about everything in a different way because it’s so much more efficient than conventional sports cars. Everyone on this team is so invested and committed to this project; we’ll get a good one next time.”
“The team did a great job to get the car back on track but we had an issue with the brakes and didn’t want to affect anyone else’s race. Everyone has worked so hard – on setup and on the mechanical side. We know we’re not that far off, we just need to keep working hard and keep pushing.”
“We are working on the reliability, but we also need to work on the speed. We’re trying new configurations; sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. But the exhaust was really a random failure that we’d never had before. We’re ticking things off the list so we can figure it out and negate the issues. The team worked really hard today, it would have been good to get them a finish. We will keep at it.”
Managing Partner Don Panoz
“We keep finding things that break, but that’s all part of the learning curve. We solve problems and keep moving forward. We know the technology works, now it’s a matter of getting even faster and working through the issues.”