Lotus Alex Job Racing's (AJR) Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell took a season-high finish of sixth place in today's running of the American Le Mans Series VIR 240 run at Virginia International Raceway.
The season has proven that the longer the race the better the Lotus Alex Job Racing No. 23 Evora GT runs. In the previous high-water mark for the team, a seventh-place finish at Road America, the four hour-long VIR 240 improved on finish better with a sixth place run for Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) and Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.).
Bell had the wheel of the Evora at the start. He had to take evasive action heading into Turn One on lap one when a P1 car spun in the middle of the track. The Californian was able to stay out of trouble and take advantage of every break. Handing over to Sweedler to run the middle stint, the Connecticut resident put in consistent laps around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn undulating road course located just north of Danville. Sweedler handed the wheel back to Bell to close-out the race. On lap 126 Bell had a spin in the last turn, but was able to gather it up and bring it home in sixth.
"The Lotus Alex Job Racing team did a great job all weekend," Sweedler said. "The team was really on their game in the pits and had great strategy today. We are in the deep end of the pool in GT. We are making progress every race. The whole Yokohama crew has been right with us the whole way. Battery Tender is so supportive, and we had a great group of Lotus owners and enthusiasts that we visited with today. It was just a very positive weekend all the way around. I love Road Atlanta, I am looking forward to the last race."
Bell likes the way the team is moving forward.
"The Lotus seems to like the longer events," Bell said. "The race came to us today. I had to avoid that crazy melee down in Turn One on the first lap. We came through that without a scratch and turned strong laps all day. Bill did a great job in the middle of the race to keep us up in the pack. I had a bit of a moment down there in Turn 17 toward the end of the race, but no harm. The guys talked me through reentering the track, so there was no problem. Sixth place is a good finish for us today. It sends off to Petit Le Mans with some momentum for the longest race we will run with the Evora this year. I am looking forward to it."
Alex Job, team principal, keeps the wrenches and wheels turning on the Evora GT.
"We were happy that we were some two seconds faster than we tested here in June," Job said. "The race was one of survival. The first lap had a lot of drama, but Townsend did a good job to get through it. Bill had a very strong middle stint. Sixth place is a good finish for us this weekend. We are going into Petit Le Mans next month knowing that the longer the race the better we run. Who knows what will happen?"