ALMS GT - Segal Brings GT Points Lead To History-Making Brickyard Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS, Jul. 26, 2012: Jeff Segal will carry the proud tradition of the “Prancing Horse” and the famous Ferrari red colors to the legendary grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) Friday where he will join co-driver Emil Assentato and AIM Autosport Team FXDD in the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race.
A timed three-hour race, the Brickyard Grand Prix can be seen live on SPEED, this Friday, July 27, at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT, with a scheduled green flag start time of 4:10 p.m. EDT.Segal, who will be making his first race start at Indy, brings the best race-win record in the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the GT class championship points lead to the Brickyard. Segal and Assentato co-drove the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am to victories this year at Homestead-Miami Speedway, New Jersey Motorsports Park and last month at Road America. Segal and the first-year AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari program also have a series-best six GT podium finishes in the season’s first eight races, with only one result out of the top four all year.
“We have been very serious about making Ferrari's return to the Rolex Series as successful as possible, and certainly leading the championship is the mark that we set for ourselves to achieve this,” Segal said. “A lot of work and planning has gone into this effort personally, by AIM Autosport Team FXDD, and with our colleagues overseas with Ferrari. I don't think I expected to be in this position, although it was certainly the goal for the program, and I'm definitely not surprised. If anything, I feel like we're right where we should be.”
Continuing this season’s success at Indy would be particularly gratifying for Segal and his teammates. Although GRAND-AM Ferrari Challenge and Porsche Supercup support races have been held on the IMS road course in the recent past, the Brickyard Grand Prix is the first headline sports car race in the Speedway’s more than 100-year history. Segal also has a chance to continue Ferrari’s impressive win record established in the Formula 1 races held at Indy in the last decade.
“Being a part of the first sports car race at IMS is definitely going to be special,” Segal said. “There is no doubt that everyone in the paddock is putting a special emphasis on winning this race above the others. When I look at the other races run at this track, it’s clear that Ferrari has been a manufacturer with a very strong record there, so hopefully that bodes well for us. On the infield road course that we will use this weekend, Ferrari won six of the eight races held there from 2000-2007, so I would like to follow in the footsteps of the Formula 1 team for sure!”
A challenge for Segal and every other competitor in the three-hour race will be tire management on the notoriously tough IMS racing surface. The series-standard Continental tires performed well during a two-day test earlier this month that was run in brutally hot conditions with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.
“Indy will definitely be a difficult test of tire wear and a challenging track to perfect the setup,” Segal said. “If the race is held in hot conditions like what we faced at the test, it will really demand a lot of finesse and patience to be strong over a full stint. The track is extremely low-grip, so as a driver I expect to be fighting the car the entire time, but I think we left the test with a good baseline to work from when we return for race day, and I'm confident that our tire management will again be a valuable asset. In a three hour race I have some concerns about our fuel mileage compared to our competitors, but we'll focus on maximizing our strategy and hope that this is enough for another strong finish.”
Segal, Assentato and the No. 69 Autosport Team FXDD entry come to Indy with a 16-point lead in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT Championship standings. Segal and Assentato have 250 points to top the driver standings while the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am leads the team championship with the same points total.