Successful test at Road Atlanta prepares team for demanding Sebring circuit
With weeks of hard work behind them, the Claro/TracFone DeltaWing Racing Cars team hopes their gearbox issues are in the past as they focus on race two of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Saturday’s historic Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.
Drivers Katherine Legge, Memo Rojas and Andy Meyrick will contest the grueling endurance classic, run on the 3.74 mile concrete and asphalt racetrack that America’s oldest road racing circuit. The team looks to take the next step in the DeltaWing history book: earning a victory for the revolutionary sports car prototype. But the first step has been to eliminate gearbox issues that caused the team’s early exit from January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The team spent the latter half of 2014 working with EMCO Gears to design and build a new gearbox for the DeltaWing coupe, one that could handle the car’s increasing performance. Receiving the gearbox just days before the Rolex 24 at Daytona and with only one day of testing possible, the team and EMCO fought through issues that limited the car’s track time at Daytona. Despite the lack of track time, the team qualified fifth and ran among the leaders for the first 90 minutes of the race, before gearbox issues struck again.
Since Daytona, EMCO and DeltaWing team mechanics have worked tirelessly to identify and rectify every area of concern inside the gearbox, making the internal structure sturdier and more able to carry the required load. In a test session at Road Atlanta last week, the car ran well, including navigating its first laps in wet conditions on Continental rain tires. The team now turns its focus to the task at hand: managing systems and strategy while Legge, Rojas and Meyrick deal with 46 other sports cars for 12 hours on Sebring International Raceway’s notoriously rough surface.
“One of the top priorities after Daytona was to make sure we’d fixed the gearbox issues. The team, working with EMCO, did a tremendous job getting everything sorted. The test was flawless; the gearbox was fine. We really didn’t have any issues. Before this test, I had run maybe 10 laps in the DeltaWing, so this was a great chance for me to get more acquainted with the car. I keep getting surprised by the great performance this car has – the technology really has been proven, we just need to work hard to have it show on the track. We ran in the wet and in the dry, and we were able to make some setup changes that helped me get more from the car. Because the car is so light, it doesn’t lose grip under hard braking in the wet like some of the other prototypes, so I hope we get to race in the rain at some point this year!”
“The test went remarkably well, everyone is buoyed by the improvements we’ve made. We are hoping that Sebring will be our breakthrough race, where we can really showcase what the DeltaWing is capable of. It’s been a lot of work by the entire team and we feel we have a strong package going into the weekend. Sebring is brutal: it is bumpy, it’s aggressive, it puts everything to the test, car and driver. It really is the epitome of endurance racing – survival of the toughest. Sebring is one of the legendary races on our schedule, so for us, coming off a disappointing day at Daytona, it is important to get a result at Sebring. That’s what we’ve been pushing for.”
“This will be my third Sebring with DeltaWing and the second time the coupe has raced here, so we have a good amount of background information to draw on this time; a base setup rather than starting from scratch. We know the rough surface at Sebring is an element entirely on its own, especially given the light weight of the car. We believe we’ve got our gearbox problems solved, so I’m looking forward to a good race. We were competitive at Petit and the car was very good at Daytona, so we need to keep up that positive momentum.”
Team Manager Tim Keene
“It was also a great benefit for Memo, to get some significant time in the car. We also had the chance to run the car in the wet for the first time on the Continental tires and it was pretty quick in the wet. The car is lighter and tires are so much narrower in the front, so they cut through the water quite well. Going into Sebring, we know we have the pace, looking at what we did at Petit and what we were able to do with the time we did get to run at Daytona, so we’re confident we will be right up there with everyone else. But Sebring is such a rough racetrack, the car just takes a beating. It’s key to stay out of trouble, reduce the amount of issues we have, and eliminate mistakes.”
Managing Partner Don Panoz
“The gearbox problem has been going on for a while, so we’re very pleased that EMCO, who has been a good, longtime supplier for us, has put their resources to work to solve the problems. We want to thank them for their concentration and efforts the past couple of months. We look forward to a good result at Sebring!”
Claro Video and TracFone Wireless, Inc. are subsidiaries of Mexico’s largest telecommunications group América Móvil. Claro (the name means “bright” or “clear”) is an innovative VOD streaming service, while TracFone operates as a mobile virtual network operator.
DELTAWING RACING CARS
Under the guidance of Managing Partner Don Panoz, DeltaWing Racing Cars builds and maintains the revolutionary DeltaWing coupe. The radically innovative sports car prototype takes efficiency to a new level, as the DeltaWing® architecture vastly reduces overall mass and drag. The result is a race car that is approximately half the weight, requires roughly half the horsepower and uses about half the fuel of its competitors. The unique efficiency approach is changing street-legal vehicles as Panoz works to take the DeltaWing® platform from the racetrack to tomorrow’s roads.
News & Notes
Sebring Broadcast Information
FOX Sports 1 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
FOX Sports 2 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
IMSA.com 7:00 – 10 p.m.
FOX Sports 2 10:00 – 11:00 p.m.
A two-hour recap show will air on FOX Sports 1 at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. All times Eastern.
DeltaWing/Panoz Display at Sebring
The DeltaWing roadster will be on display in a DeltaWing/Panoz tent on vendors’ row, behind the pit complex, along with Panoz 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT sports cars. Fans will also be able to check out the full line of DeltaWing team and Panoz fan gear.