Briscoe Set To Tackle Lime Rock, Pocono
Team Falken Tire Manager, Derrick Walker, Also Set For ALMS/IndyCar Double-Duty
LAKEVILLE, Conn (July 6, 2013) - Ryan Briscoe will be getting a lot of time behind the wheel this weekend – driving sports cars, Indy cars and passenger cars.
Saturday, he will be starting Level 5 Motorsports’ No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b from the pole in the P2 class in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Briscoe will tackle the tough 1.5-mile circuit in expected 90-plus degree heat before turning the car over to Scott Tucker.
Following the race – and a hopeful victory celebration – Briscoe will drive to Pennsylvania, where he will spend the night in the Poconos ahead of Sunday’s Pocono IndyCar 400, which he will contest in the No. 4 Chevrolet-Dallara for Panther Racing.
Note that Briscoe will be driving to Pocono – no private planes to assist in his double-duty weekend.
“It’s only a three and a half hours,” Briscoe said. “It’s a real nice drive – pretty easily, actually.”
He will start the 400-mile race from the back of the grid for the inaugural IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway.
“It’s not ideal skipping qualifying,” Briscoe said. “But Panther Racing is OK with it. Hopefully, starting from the back of the grid will not be too much of a hindrance. At least they’ll be doing a three-wide start, so that puts me a little more in touch with the leaders at the start. Turn 1 is a lot wider and more forgiving than Indy. It will be an exciting race. Pocono is a real tough track and we’ll see some good racing. Hopefully, I can work my way to the front.”
Briscoe’s busy weekend comes off his participation two weeks ago with Level 5 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he co-drove with Tucker and Marino Franchitti. Following the French classic, he flew directly to Pocono, where he tested on Tuesday, June 25 – his first visit to the 2.5-mile oval. He returned for Thursday’s test.
Following the Thursday session, he drove to Connecticut for Friday’s ALMS practice and qualifying.
The two tracks are total opposites. While Pocono is high-speed tri-oval with three left-hand turns, Lime Rock is a tricky 1.5-mile course comprised of mainly right-hand turns.
“Lime Rock is almost all right-hand corners – there’s only one left-hander,” Briscoe said. “I love
this track. It’s a little bullring. It’s exciting and fun. You’re always in traffic, passing cars on the outside and the inside. For me, this is one of the most exciting circuits we come to. It’s like a go-kart track, but it have really fast corners as well.”
Walker Also Set For Double-Duty
Derrick Walker is also set to drive to Pocono following Saturday’s ALMS Northeast Grand Prix.
Recently named president of racing operations for the IZOD IndyCar Series, Walker – the manager of Team Falken Tire – will be overseeing competition in the 400-mile race.
“A different kind of race – hopefully, it will be a little cooler at Pocono,” Walker said. “It’s been very quick there (speeds exceeding 221 mph in Saturday’s practice), but that’s partially due to the aero that we allowed them. Since it’s their first time at Pocono, we didn’t want to jeopardize the race so we let them use a lot more downforce. They’re running pretty fast there. But I think it’s the quality of the show, not the sheer speed, that matters.”
Walker will be “on the deck” overseeing the show, after talking to many participants prior to the race.
“Just trying to help look at the big picture and help steer the series from an operations and competition point of view.”
But Pocono was far from Walker’s mindset on Saturday. He was concerned with coming to grips with the heat at Lime Rock – which played havoc with the handling of the No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers.
“We never really tested as hot as it’s been here, and we’re not getting the results we wanted,” Walker said. “I don’t know if it’s the temperature, but we’re getting too much oversteer. We’ve opted to make some changes, and we’ll see if it works. But so far this weekend, we’ve struggled with oversteer. That’s not good anywhere, but especially at Lime Rock.”