DeltaWing Racing Cars ended its second weekend of the 2013 American Le Mans Series season on the podium, marking the first for the DeltaWing in ALMS competition. Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge ended the race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in third place in the P1 class in the No. 0 DeltaWing powered by Élan, running with Bridgestone tires.
A mixed weekend for the team saw several issues arise to the car, but in all instances, the DeltaWing team and drivers worked through them. The four-hour American Le Mans Monterey was to prove no different, with engine, transmission, and ultimately, a terminal electrical failure in the final half hour of the race all throwing the unexpected at the team.
Although the race had a disappointing ending, there were undoubtedly strides the DeltaWing team made this weekend compared to its initial outing with this new program at Sebring in March. DeltaWing Racing Cars team boss, David Price, said the result was a net positive for the team despite the way the race ended.
“We had a difficult couple of days, because after some good days testing with very little going wrong, a lot did here that we hadn’t seen before,” said Price. “But we managed to work through them. Although we failed so close to the end, it was almost a victory getting that far, and a bit relieving.”
Legge started from the rear of the grid because she had not completed laps in any official practice sessions prior to the race day warmup. From there, she drove the opening stints of the race, and remained in the car when it was initially stopped for more than 15 laps thanks to a loss of power. The crew fixed the engine bay and Legge returned to the track, posting laps on par with how the car had performed all weekend.
It marked Legge’s first race with driver changes since the 2007 24 Hours of Daytona. It also marks the first time a woman has finished on the podium in the P1 class of ALMS; Liz Halliday won races in the P2 class but has a best finish of fourth in the P1 class (Mazda Raceway, 2008, Creation Autosportif).
“For being out of a car for a while, and not in a race since last September, I think I drove a positive race,” said Legge. “Today was really about attrition and we went as fast today as we have all weekend. It’s been a pleasure working with the guys, Andy was great to work with and I’m happy we nearly brought it home.”
Meyrick, the first driver to race the DeltaWing twice, took over from Legge on lap 63 of the race. He described the rate of development the team has made to the car since Sebring.
“The improvements are there for everyone to see, I think,” said Meyrick. “At Sebring it was tough to go out early but spectacularly. Here, although we had an issue towards the end, we did come away with a podium. It’s a testament to the team, Élan, and Bridgestone.”
Meyrick helped Legge throughout this week, from testing at Buttonwillow Raceway on Monday through the weekend in Monterey.
“For her first race in sports cars in a while, she couldn’t have been dealt a harder or more difficult deck of cards. But she handled it all with aplomb, as though she’d been in sports cars her whole career,” said Meyrick. “She handled everything just fine from the deep end.”
Tape delayed coverage of the race airs Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The ALMS resumes at Lime Rock on July 6, following the traditional break in the schedule for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.