Luis Diaz is Back
Luis Diaz is Back
There was a fair amount of turnover from the end of the 2009 to the beginning of the 2010 American Le Mans Series season. One of the drivers left without a seat when the music stopped was Mexican driver Luis Diaz, who along with team owner and co-driver Adrian Fernandez captured the LMP2 class title in an Acura ARX 01-b last season (now the HPD ARX 01-c).
Diaz and Fernandez won all but two of the 10 races for Fernandez Racing in LMP2 last season. But the team had to withdraw due to a lack of sufficient funding. While Fernandez was able to collect an opportunity with the Aston Martin Racing team in prototypes, Diaz’s only chance for 2010 was racing in the GTC class comprised of Porsche GT3 Cups.
After four races, that ride went away and so once again Diaz had his helmet and firesuit all ready to go with no place to take them. However, Diaz is back in the saddle this weekend in the LMPC class for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, driving with the same co-driver as he has been with for all of 2010, Ricardo Gonzalez.
Although Thursday afternoon’s promoter test session marks the pair’s first drive in an LMPC car, Diaz has three years of prototype experience in ALMS from 2007-09 and should be able to adapt to the new spec-for-2010 Oreca FLM09 in the class.
“I’m really excited and very happy with the team,” Diaz said. “We have very high expectations for this project.”
“We were discussing next year and wanting to do LMPC, and we have the opportunity to do it this year,” Gonzalez said. “I think the technique of driving is quite different compared to a GTC car which has a lot less downforce.”
Bobby and Lisa Oergel, team owners for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, began their 2010 season at Long Beach. The team missed the 12 Hours of Sebring. In the last three races, the team secured its first class pole (Johnny Mowlem at Monterey) and podium finishes of third and second in class at Utah and Lime Rock.
Interestingly, the team has had a different driver lineup in each of their four starts. Former Atlantic race winner Jonathan Bomarito has helped each of the drivers as a driver coach on weekends he has not had other commitments. But having the veteran Diaz and the up-and-comer Gonzalez will provide a steady balance the rest of the year as the team looks for its first class win.
“It’s mixed feelings, as this truck was my old truck for Dorricott Racing!” Diaz said. “It’s like coming back home. The guys are good, we have great chemistry, let’s grow as a family!”