Lotus Alex Job Racing's (AJR) Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell drove their No. 23 Lotus Alex Job Racing Evora GT to a tenth place finish in today's American Le Mans Series Baltimore Grand Prix presented by SRT.
Sweedler had the controls of the Lotus Evora for the start of the two-hour race this afternoon. Under overcast skies, 90-degree temperatures and near 100% humidity the car's handling and driver stamina was tested. As usually happens in closed course street racing, the first turn proved to be a challenge. Sweedler went in and was jostled on all four corners, but emerged pointed in the right direction with all parts attached, but a slight alignment problem. Handing over to Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) on lap 27 the Californian took the streets of Baltimore that surround Camden Yards, home to the Orioles. Bell did a strong stint to keep the Evora on pace as he struggled with high engine temps that robbed the Evora GT of power and an ill handling car.
"It was really hot out there today," Sweedler said. "It was really hot at the start. It was a slam, bam, bang them up first turn. That is really a one-car turn. There must have been 10 or 12 cars stuck in that corner. I think I got hit on every corner, front, sides and back. That affected the car's alignment, and we had to hold on to it all day. We had some new tires from Yokohama, and we are very happy with the upgrade from them."
Bell inherited an ill handling car that was heating up.
"Bill really got banged around at the start," Bell said. "He came out of it pretty good, and we kept him out. When I got in the car, it was heating up, so under the cautions I was trying to get clean air into the radiator. We were pretty much in survival mode. Yokohama brought us some new rubber this weekend, and that is just one more step forward for this hard-working team and the Lotus Evora GT." Alex Job, team principal, comes out of a tough street circuit with the car in-tact and another good finish.
"Bill had a tough start today," Job said. "He was able to keep his composure, assess the car and we decided to keep him out there and running. He had to adapt his driving style, but he did a good job. Townsend got in and had to manage the engine temperature and tires to the end, but that worked out as well. We had some new-generation Yokohama Tires on the car this weekend, which will definitely help us in the future."