The Claro/TracFone DeltaWing Racing Cars team came into Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda with hopes of ending the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season on a high note in their hometown race at Road Atlanta. But three days of steady rain made racing conditions difficult, with the team’s day coming to an end just before the five-hour mark after a weather-related accident.
A light but relentless rain fell during morning warm up and continued throughout the early going of the race. Drivers Katherine Legge, Memo Rojas and Andy Meyrick knew that visibility would be a major issue, even with the new interior blower system installed Thursday. Starting sixth in the Prototype Class and 11th overall, Legge managed the difficult conditions early in the race, taking the DeltaWing Coupe to eighth position by the second lap. But heavier rain took its toll, and the first pit stop of the race saw the team in 14th place.
Memo Rojas took the wheel just short of the two-hour mark, only to have his race interrupted by several lengthy caution periods as cars spun off track in the worsening conditions. Coming back to the restart, Rojas and another prototype tangled in the chicane, sending him spinning. Able to keep the car on-track and running, Rojas pitted for new tires as the caution continued.
With rain getting harder, track conditions became more difficult as water made the racing line treacherous in several turns. At just over four and a half hours into the race, both Rojas and another prototype spun in standing water in Turn One, with Rojas going off track and striking several track signs. Seeing the nose damage via the FOX broadcast, the team was ready when the tow truck returned the car to the paddock. Unfortunatelys, the damage was too much to repair.
“It was a relatively uneventful stint. I just tried to keep out of trouble but the wetter it was, the more we struggled. We were good in the dry conditions earlier in the week but as soon as the heavy rain started, I couldn’t see. Zip, nada, nothing. It’s unfortunate to finish this way, we really wanted to see if we had the reliability to be competitive for the entire 10 hours. We had the speed in the dry, so it’s disappointing. It was however heartening to see so many fans who came out to support us.”
“It’s a shame, to have a race like this in the wet. We had a good car in dry conditions on Thursday but unfortunately, today was very wet. We couldn’t keep the pace we had in practice. We had to constantly watch the mirrors, which was pretty difficult with no visibility front or rear. I lost the car in a river that had started to form in Turn One when the rain picked up. I’m disappointed for the team, they’ve worked so hard and we’ve focused so much on Petit Le Mans, since it’s our home race. We would have liked to end the season with a podium, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
“It’s a disappointing way to end the season, not only with the crash at the end but because the weather was so bad. Mother Nature played a permanent role today and it’s not been good for anyone. We thought we could end the season on a very high note and unfortunately that didn’t happen. So we regroup and begin to look forward to next season.”