Bring in the Reinforcements

October 17, 2013

Bring in the Reinforcements

October 17, 2013


Here at Petit Le Mans, most race team managers think that if two drivers are good, then three drivers will be even better. That is especially true if the third driver is as quick as, or perhaps even quicker than the regulars.

Adding a third driver to the lineup for the longer races of the year, including the 10 Hours/1000 Miles of Petit Le Mans, helps keep a fresh driver in full attack mode throughout the race and can also provide the opportunity to gain additional feedback or assess a future prospect.

While a driver’s name may appear third on the car or entry list, it is usually not a reflection of their skill set and experience.

The ALMS P1 class prototype series champions from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing have added former series and Le Mans Champion Romain Dumas to their lineup.

The defending Petit Le Mans race champions from Rebellion Racing add former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld to their roster.Nick_Heidfeld

Former Le Mans and ALMS champion David Brabham has joined former teammate Scott Sharp at Extreme Speed Motorsports in the #01 to help support Sharp’s P2 driver’s title bid while Britain’s Rob Bell hops aboard the #02 ESM Honda.

Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports countered that by adding Ireland’s Jonny Kane and the UK’s Peter Dumbreck, putting them with Guy Cosmo aboard the #552 car and sliding Marino Franchitti to the #551 car with Tucker and Ryan Briscoe.

Ideally, teams prefer to use the same third driver all season to maintain continuity, technical insights and team secrets.

In GT, Corvette Racing rolls with its regular third drivers, Jordan Taylor and Richard Westbrook while SRT Motorsports Viper does the same with Tommy Kendall and Ryan Dalziel.

BMW Team RLL adds Jorg Mueller and Uwe Alzen to the #55 and moved Bill Auberlen to the #56 car to join Dirk Mueller’s GT drivers title bid.

At CORE autosport, Denmark’s hot prospect Michael Christensen joins Patrick Long and Colin Braun aboard the #06 Porsche in GT, while Mark Wilkins joins team boss Jon Bennett and Thomas Kimber-Smith in the #05 PC entry.

Third drivers joining teams for a “one-off” opportunity want to adjust to the car, the team and their co-drivers and deliver the desired pace. While they may not be called upon to win the race, they are certainly not brought in to lose it.

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