Genoa Racing Tackles Challenge, Captures LMPC Victory
Sebring, Mar. 20, 2011: It was a weekend of "firsts" for Genoa Racing at the 59th Annual Mobile 1, 12 Hours of Sebring Presented by Fresh From Florida. In only their second entry in this challenging event--the team swept the LMPC class by starting first in class due to a record breaking qualifying attempt by 23 year-old Dane Cameron. The 036 Molecule/DuPont entry charged on to first place in the LMPC class and finish 9th overall to deliver Genoa's first win at this historic event-which incidentally, is also their first win in the American Le Mans Series.
Led by technical director Thomas Knapp, the 036 car leapt off the pole and maintained momentum to cruise to an early lead of three laps above the next LMPC entry fielded by PR1 Mathaisen Motorsports. However, a minor communication breakdown three quarters of the way through the race shortened the gap and challenged the team to maintain their pace.
Through the continually changing guidance and steady perseverance of drivers Michael Guasch, Jens Petersen and Dane Cameron-the car continued to bring on speed to recapture their lead and run solidly in the top ten for the majority of the race. The fate of the event was sealed when Cameron jumped in the car for the final stint on lap 247 and kept his cool the last two and a half hours to carry the momentum straight to victory circle.
"Qualifying on the pole is more of an ego boost than anything else, it's such a long race so where you start is really irrelevant," said Cameron. "It definitely gave the team a morale boost, and gave us a boost to know that we had the fastest car in the field going into the race."
"Michael and Jens did an awesome job throughout the race and we just worked on staying clean and not having any penalties or any mechanical issues. So it was basically the most text book way to run the race-click off laps and mind our own business. The team prepared such a solid car for us we never had to worry about a thing-just work on our day." The 063 Green Dot/P.U.R.E/Zais Group car continually overcame a series of challenges that seemed to be defined by the grueling 3.7 mile circuit itself.
Hard contact on Lap 118 with BMW pushed endurance veteran Elton Julian into the tires in Turn 14. The incident caused steering damage and forced the car back to the paddock-where the Genoa Racing crew led by chief Steve Ragan-completed full repairs in less than five minutes after they received the car from IMSA staff, and re-joined the race only 20 laps behind. Julian continued on with his stint (his third in a row) to assess the repairs and ensure the car had the same performance as prior to the accident.
"I just can't believe it," said Julian. "He just came down on me! I was just cruising out there and the next thing I knew I was in the tires! I can't believe it. I am just so sorry for the team. But the car is the same as it was before-so no real issues from the impact."
The 063 entry pushed to regain lost ground-only to be forced back behind the wall on lap 209 to install a new under-wing floor in order to comply with sanctioned regulation that the car run with two brake lights. The mandated changes cost Genoa 17 laps and despite a strong push by 23 year-old Eric Lux to regain lost ground-the team, led by Manager Mark Scott--ultimately cruised to a comfortable finish of fourth in the LMPC class and 27th position overall.
The 063 car will head to Europe next week to participate in the ILMC.