Following round three of the American Le Mans Series championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Merchant Services Racing held a two-day test for their LMPC cars at VIR. Together with the series' annual June respite for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team feels exceptionally ready for this week's Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
"We had a very productive private test at VIR," cited team principal, Brian Alder. "We included most of Merchant Services Racing's primary drivers, Lucas, Matt and Anthony Downs, Kyle Marcelli, Tony Burgess and Rusty Mitchell. The drivers all got up to speed quickly and turned some impressive laps. Not only was this a great opportunity for general testing, we're also looking forward and ready for when the Series' has its debut here in September."
"The extended Le Mans' break taken by the series is the first time we have been able to catch our breath since Sebring," said Alder. "It's allowed us catch up on some house cleaning procedures that we've really not been able to address since March. I'm confident the cars and crew are finally ahead of the curve and well prepared for the next four months."
The four months Alder referred to will see seven American Le Mans Series events - including extended endurance events at Road America (4 hours) and the season wrap-up 10-hour race at Petit Le Mans. But first, the team must tackle the short track of Lime Rock Park.
Lime Rock is a natural terrain course located in Lime Rock, Connecticut. The track boasts some of the fastest speeds in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Average qualifying and race speeds are well in excess of 100 mph, even for GT cars. While technically challenging, the real challenge facing ALMS drivers is traffic. Given the track is only 1.53 miles in length, featuring only seven mostly right-hand corners, the ALMS mix of 30+ prototype and GT cars lapping in well under a minute, there's never a dull moment.
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix is Saturday, July 7. The two-hour, 45-minute race is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET from the 1.5-mile, 10-turn Lime Rock Park circuit. ESPN2 airs the race the same day at 4 p.m. ET. Live coverage is available starting at 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN3.