LMP – Cocker’s Last Lap Pass Nets Drayson’s First Win and Michelin 1-2-3

August 22, 2010

LMP – Cocker’s Last Lap Pass Nets Drayson’s First Win and Michelin 1-2-3

August 22, 2010

Jubilation for Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker after their win at Road America. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

Every race this season has seen Drayson Racing make incremental steps forward. The results of all those little improvements culminated in a fantastic first overall victory with Jonny Cocker pulling off a series of incredible maneuvers in the final stages of the seventh round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series season at Elkhart Lake, Wis.’s Road America.

The No. 8 Drayson Racing Lola Judd Coupe, driven by Cocker and team owner Paul Drayson had the team’s best ever weekend. Not only was it an overall win from the team’s second straight pole position, but the team also won the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge for prototypes, its second this season. Additional icing on the cake was Cocker setting the race’s fastest lap at 1:52.420 on lap 55, so the team swept the weekend.

“Like I’ve been saying all weekend, we’ve been showing great pace,” Cocker said. “We carried that into qualifying and into the race. We didn’t have things go our way at Mid-Ohio but today we did. In the car at the end there, I knew when we got in the car and I know I was on the pole. I knew it was a fight from the start.”

“Dale (White) and I thought he could do it,” Drayson said, as he and team manager Dale White were watching the performance from the pit box. “It looked like an impossible task, but he has such a big heart and amazing talent. But we were SO hungry for that win. First for him to come out and just attack, really it was inspiring. We’ve been driving together since 2006 and he is an amazing talent.”

Cocker’s car needed three stops to make the finish, an early one on lap 10, a second on lap 37 and a third for a final few gallons of Cellulosic E85 on lap 57 to make it to the finish. Even though he was 20 seconds back of the leaders when he exited on lap 58, Cocker made up the entire distance.

On lap 62, Cocker passed Guy Smith in the Dyson Racing Lola Mazda Coupe. Although Smith later repassed Cocker, Cocker repeated the feat for third place on lap 67 at Turn 5. A lap later, Cocker passed David Brabham in the Patron Highcroft Racing HPD ARX 01-c again at Turn 5.

And on lap 69, the white flag flew. Cocker started the lap more than 5 seconds behind Klaus Graf, who was on track for another incredible story as well in the new Porsche RS Spyder tub for Muscle Milk Team CytoSport.

After missing the race at Mid-Ohio, CytoSport was on course for a win here. But the question was whether the Porsche – which runs on E10 – had enough fuel left in the tank to make the finish after pitting only on lap 31.

The answer was… yes and no. Graf’s car sputtered exiting Canada Corner (Turn 12), which was enough of a hiccup to allow Cocker the opportunity to make a move. And he did. Cocker dove to the inside on the uphill, left-hand Turn 13, which then became the outside on the final turn. Cocker held on to complete the pass, and Graf had enough fuel to make it up the final hill on the frontstraight.

The winning Drayson Racing Lola Judd Coupe. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

“I knew Klaus made some moves in traffic, I pulled some luck there with the way he had a bit at the end. Then to get around him, it was amazing,” Cocker explained. “On that last lap I could see Klaus hadn’t had a splash and suspected he was in fuel saving load. I was expecting to catch him, but not that amount. I think a big portion was he got caught behind a Porsche in turn 9 and the GT in 10. But I knew we had the pace to get on the rear of his car, and to get there in 12 and make it in 13. I knew it would be the only opportunity, if I was behind him on the straight I knew he’d be able to block me. It was a bold move for sure, but I wasn’t going to throw away a 2nd place. Well done to our team though.”

Second for Graf and Timo Bernhard, deputizing for the injured team owner Greg Pickett this weekend, was still a great result in the new tub. Unofficially, Graf closes a few points in the drivers’ championship.

Third place was a trying result for Patron Highcroft HPD and drivers Brabham and Simon Pagenaud. They also pitted on lap 31, so they completed the race on just the one stop. Highcroft is still the only team to finish on the podium in all seven rounds, which and keeps them atop the drivers’ championship.

Michelin technical partner teams completed a 1-2-3 sweep of the LMP podium, which restarts a win streak after not winning overall in Mid-Ohio.

A hard luck fourth then for Dyson, the Mid-Ohio winners. The team appeared in the catbird’s seat if the CytoSport and Highcroft teams did not make the finish on fuel. Autocon Lola led the first hour of the race, a good showing for the privateer, California-based team, but encountered mechanical problems at that point.

Despite not having the pace of some of the other cars in LMPC, the No. 99 Green Earth Team Gunnar car captured its third class win of the year. Drivers Gunnar Jeannette and Elton Julian have done a fantastic job of keeping their car together throughout the entire season – as the team has gone the entire year without changing the engine.

Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez again finished second for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and Level 5 Motorsports secured a podium finish with its No. 95 car for Scott Tucker and Andy Wallace.

Latest Photos

Latest Video

A memorable IMSA season ended with the excitement of Motul Petit Le Mans

Wednesday October 18, 2023