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American Le Mans Series – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge Race Report

Monday, August 6, 2012 - 12:00
Lotus Alex Job Racing took another development step with the Lotus Evora GT in Saturday’s ALMS race at Mid-Ohio.

American Le Mans series, ALMS, Mid-OhioBill Sweedler started on the fifth row.  Turning strong lap times and doing a near hour-and-a-half stint Sweedler had the Lotus solidly in the top ten.  Handing over to Townsend Bell on lap 59, the Californian continued the strong run in the Saturday afternoon heat of near 90-degree temperatures.  In the closing minutes, with Bell running ninth, the team pitted him for a splash of fuel.  The splash was brief, too brief, and the Lotus ran out of fuel with just one lap remaining.

"We know what we have with the Lotus," Sweedler said.  "We need to some serious downforce on the car, which really can't be done by trial and error.  The car handled well in the tight spots and always has the measure the GT field under braking.  We also ran well through the back twisty section of the track.  We took another step in the development of the car today, and that is goal - keep moving forward."

Bell had to get a tow back to the paddock as he ran out of fuel going down the back straight.

American Le Mans series, ALMS, Mid-Ohio"The team called me in with a few laps to go for a splash, but we didn't get quite enough in the tank," Bell said.  "I tried to shake it around and use the slower engine maps, but just couldn't nurse it to the finish line.  Again, we had a good handling car in the tight stuff, and the Lotus really stops well.  We just need the kind of development that we can't do on the road."

Alex Job, team principal, knows the team has a class measuring stick now for the Lotus Evora GT.

"Running out of fuel at the end of race is a tough way not to finish," Job said.  "That is totally in our control, and we needed just a few seconds of fuel to get us to the checker.  With the new Vipers coming to the series this weekend it gives us a development measuring stick.  They have a big budget, so it will be interesting to see how that team progresses with those cars from this weekend to Petit Le Mans in October.  The bar just got higher in GT."