Carrying the momentum of three straight race finishes, the Claro/TracFone DeltaWing Racing Cars team heads to their home race, Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta, with one goal in mind: a podium finish for the DeltaWing Coupe. The team hopes to improve upon last year’s race finish that saw them run in the top five most of the race and finish in fourth at the end of the endurance classic’s 10 hours.
Katherine Legge and Memo Rojas will be joined by Andy Meyrick for the 18th running of the Petit Le Mans, the final race of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. With three straight solid finishes (eighth at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in July, sixth at Road America in August and seventh two weeks ago at Circuit of the Americas), the team has improved the coupe’s reliability and its performance ahead of what they consider to be the most important race of the year.
The DeltaWing team shop is a mere 6.5 miles from the Road Atlanta front gates. Don and Nancy Panoz settled in the area 35 years ago and Braselton has long been home base for many Panoz companies, including DeltaWing Technology Group, Panoz, Élan Technologies and Élan Motorsports, as well as the world-renowned Chateau Élan Resort and Winery. The team’s family and friends will surround Road Atlanta’s 2.54-mile circuit to see the results of the team’s hard work first hand.
“The team does such a great job,” said Rojas, “The families of our crew know how much work they put all year long, so it’s great to have them come see the team in action. Add to that everyone from Élan and Panoz and that’s a good rooting section! We also have many fans in the area because of Dr. P’s history, owning the track and all the businesses. We really look forward to that. It means a great deal to have all the local support.”
Starting fifth, Legge took the DeltaWing coupe to the race lead, using the car’s efficiency to good advantage as the rest of the Prototype class cycled through pit stops early in the race. Recently-crowned Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves took the lead back on the next round of pit stops, staying in front for 12 green flag laps and 15 total laps. Fighting gearbox issues with over three hours to go in the race, Chaves and Meyrick combined to find the delicate balance between maintaining position, saving fuel and nursing the car to the finish. Meyrick took the checkered flag in fourth position after 10:01.32 hours and 395 laps.
Team ready for season finale
“I’m really looking forward to Petit,” said Legge. “We’ve done significant testing and development on the car and I think that for our home race we are all expecting and looking forward to a great result. We’ve worked on reliability, speed and performance and I believe this will all come together in the culmination of the season to make this our best race of the year. We finished the last three races and learned a great deal so we hope to make it an exciting race for our home crowd at our home track!”
”I’ve raced twice at Road Atlanta,” said Rojas. “I won here in Grand Am and finished on the podium last year in the first TUDOR race. This is one of the most iconic tracks and races in North America and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s very challenging. There isn’t as much room to overtake here: that’s okay for sprint races, because you’re “heads up” all the time. But in endurance races, drivers can make mistakes, especially at night. You have to be very precise in where you place your car, especially in turns like the Esses. We had our reliability problems early in the year but thanks to the hard work by the team and the engineers, it looks as though we’re past that. I think the car is strong enough to win races and Petit would be a great place to do that.”
“We’ve always run well at Petit and we tested there a few weeks ago with good results,” said team manager Tim Keene. “Looking at the times that we were able to do compared with the times the others have done testing there, it’s encouraging. The last three races make us feel a lot more positive going into this race. We’ve made another update that we’re going to try for this race weekend and with Kat, Memo and Andy we have a strong driver lineup. It will be nice to have Andy back, he always does a really good job for us. This is a better track for us than some of the places we’ve raced recently and with a bit of luck we can do well. It’s nice to end the season at our home track.”
Meyrick returns for Petit Le Mans
The 30-year-old Brit rejoins the DeltaWing team after helping Bentley Team M-Sport earn a second place finish in the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series. Alongside teammates Guy Smith and Steven Kane, he also finished second in the driver’s championship. Meyrick drove in all but one race for the DeltaWing team in 2013 and 2014.
“I’m very happy to be back with the DeltaWing team,” said Meyrick. “Petit Le Mans is such a big event, and even more special to the team because this is their home track. The car probably has more miles here than at any other racetrack, so that knowledge base will be a plus for us on Saturday. We know what the car will do here, so given our performance last year and with the increased reliability and performance the team has seen lately, I believe we’ll be there at the end.”
DeltaWing leads at Circuit of the Americas
The DeltaWing coupe once again saw the race lead at Circuit of the Americas, its fifth race lead. By the numbers:
Total laps led: 50
Road America, 2013 (14 laps: 20-27, 35-42
12 Hours of Sebring, 2014 (14 laps: 12-25)
Watkins Glen, 2014 (2 laps: 26-27)
Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, 2014 (17 laps: 35-38, 128-142)
Circuit of the Americas, 2015 (3* laps: 51-54)
* led the Prototype Class for one lap (lap 51)
The 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season comes to a close at Road Atlanta. The historic road course once again hosts the endurance classic, Petit Le Mans – race four of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup - on October 1-3. Qualifying will be live on IMSA.com at 3:20 p.m. Friday, with Saturday’s race coverage split between FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.com. A three-hour recap show will air on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, October 4 at 1:30 p.m. (all times Eastern).