Grand Am GT - Segal Brings Championship Lead To Laguna
MONTEREY, Sep. 6, 2012: Jeff Segal, with co-driver Emil Assentato and AIM Autosport Team FXDD, brings GRAND-AM Road Racing’s biggest championship points lead to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend for the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival, September 7 – 9, one of just two races remaining on the 2012 Rolex Sports Car Series schedule.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Festival’s featured 2-3/4 hour sprint is Round 12 of 13 races on this year’s calendar and can be seen live on SPEED this Sunday, September 9, at 3 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. PDT.Segal, Assentato and the first year AIM Autosport Team FXDD collaboration took the GT class points lead in April with their first of a Rolex Series-leading three victories this season and have not slowed down since. Segal and company have increased their championship lead after all but one race since that breakout Miami win. The 29-point advantage they have heading to Laguna Seca is the biggest lead any competitor has had in any GRAND-AM Road Racing championship this year.
“I'm very much aware of the different points scenarios for the championship and which of our competitors currently sit where in the standings,” Segal said. “Even though we have just two races to go, I still feel quite strongly that now is not the time to change our approach to the races, regardless of the size of our lead or what our competitors do. We've worked really hard to cultivate this points lead, and I have no intention of risking our lead to try and 'seal the deal' one race early.”
While Segal and his teammates won’t do anything to put their driver and team championship points leads at risk, they also have another important title to think about.
“We're also aware that Ferrari's lead in the GT manufacturers’ championship is anything but safe, so we're looking for a strong result to try and get some breathing room there before Lime Rock,” Segal said. “We expect two other Ferrari entries for this race, so that should provide us a bit of support for the manufacturers' points as well.”
Regardless of any championship pressures, Segal is still looking forward to enjoying the experience of driving the latest Ferrari GT car on one of North America’s legendary tracks.
“I'm really looking forward to getting our Ferrari 458 Italia on track at Laguna Seca,” Segal said. “It’s a car that has proven to be really exciting and gratifying to drive throughout the season, and I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't still some lingering 'wow-factor' each time I walk up to the car and see my name on the roof. I think that Laguna Seca is universally liked by the drivers as it features a bunch of really great attributes, like high cornering speeds, dramatic elevation changes and spectacular scenery. The combination of getting to experience this tremendous car on such a great race track will really be a treat, and I'm very much looking forward to it.”
Segal’s vast experience at Laguna Seca will also be put to good use this weekend.
“I've got a good amount of experience at Laguna Seca, and generally I've been fortunate enough to run pretty well when we race there,” Segal said. “I feel like I got a bit of a tune-up earlier this spring when I was here as a driver coach for the Ferrari Racing Days event in a Ferrari 458 Challenge car, so now I'm ready to hit the ground running with our 458 Italia GT Grand-Am. The track should really suit our car very well. There aren't really any straightaways to speak of, so we can maximize our handling and braking all around the track. The track demands an agile car with a balanced aerodynamic package, and that's exactly what we have with our car.”