AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES – LONG BEACH
Lotus AJR’s Evora took the chequered flag in its first ALMS race at the weekend at Long Beach. Bill Sweedler was at the wheel at the start of the race and was hit from behind as he braked to avoid a stopped car. He was spun around and then, moments later, hit for a second time which caused severe damage to the exhaust and robbed the Evora of valuable horsepower. The crew made repairs, but Sweedler and team-mate Townsend Bell were down several laps. They soldiered on to take the flag.
Bill Sweedler: “It was an unfortunate start. There was pile up in the Fountain Turn, I got hit from behind by a GTC car and he spun me. I was getting back underway when a prototype came in and hit me harder. That caused the exhaust pipe to be crimped by about 90-degrees, so we were putting out about one-tenth of the horsepower. The guys did a good job to make the repairs and keep us going.”
Townsend Bell: “The team hustled and worked hard to replace the exhaust and keep us in the race. It was nice for me to go out and drive this car against competition for the first time. We have a long list of things to work on with this car. We are realistic about the challenge ahead of us. I got to ride around the streets ofLong Beachin a fast Lotus today, so that wasn’t all bad.”
INDYCAR – LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX
A tough weekend for the Lotus-engined teams in California. Having been sidelined for much of practice and qualifying due to bad weather and a water pump issue, Lotus HVM’s Simona di Silvestro suffered an engine failure 11 laps from the end of the 85 lap race, demoting her to 20th. Lotus Team Barracuda BHA’s Alex Tagliani, who qualified tenth, struggled during the race and was also hit by EJ Viso, forcing him to pit for a new front wing. Ultimately, he retired and registered 21st place. Lotus Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais finished 17th after hitting a tyre wall and losing two laps. His team-mate, Katherine Legge, also lost her front wing – she crossed the line in 19th. The highest Lotus finisher was DDR’s Oriol Servia. He dropped two laps due to a kafuffle in the pits, but passed champion Dario Franchitti on the last lap for 15th. However, a car pile-up bumped him back down to 16th, after he stalled and needed his crew to push him across the finish line.
Oriol Servia, Lotus DDR: “We lost a wheel nut and that’s what put us two laps down. Not the best day out there, but I’m really happy with the team, they kept their heads down and in the end that’s what will give us the results.”
Alex Tagliani, Lotus Team Barracuda BHA: “I think the car was decent in the race. We made some passes and I think the car would have been good to have a decent finish if we ran the whole race.”
Simona De Silvestro, Lotus HVM Racing: “We had issues in practice and qualifying and only ran like six laps total going into the race, so we were excited to be running such a great race. We had good pit stops and only 11 laps to go when we lost the engine, so it’s really frustrating. Not fun!”
Sebastien Bourdais, Lotus Dragon Racing: “I lost the car on brakes, lost the rear, and went sideways. By then, it was too late, I was in the tyre wall. I thought for sure the car was all broken, but when I checked for damage, there was nothing, When the safety team got me going, I was two laps down, but decided to bring it home.”