Superlatives flow as GTLM field heads to Road America

August 2, 2018

Superlatives flow as GTLM field heads to Road America

August 2, 2018

Nearly all the competitors in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans class have a special affinity for Elkhart Lake’s Road America.

Ahead of this weekend’s Road Race Showcase, here is a mere sampling of the opinions from GTLM class drivers from all four manufacturers.

Dirk Mueller won this race last year with Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford GT. Mueller also won the pole. The pair enters this weekend as GTLM championship leaders by one point over the No. 3 Corvette pair and two over the No. 67 Ford pair.

“The track suits our Ford GT perfectly and we, as a team, we’re really prepared and looking forward to this great venue. We can’t wait,” said the German veteran.

Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen explained why so many European drivers love this track. The Dane made his track debut in an IndyCar race here in 1996 driving for Roger Penske. He has one win here for Corvette, driving with Johnny O’Connell in 2008.

“Road America is up there with places like Spa of everyone’s favorite tracks,” Magnussen said. “Most European drivers usually pick Spa as their favorites, but the ones that have gone to Road America will see the similarities. For sure it’s one of my favorite tracks.

“It pays to be committed at Road America. You have to go for it there. You can gain so much timein places like the Carousel and the Kink. If you do put it all on the line at those places and make it, you often gain time there.

“It’s a long track with a lot of stuff happening… tight corners, medium-speed corners and then big corners like the Carousel and the Kink. You get so much satisfaction going around a place like this.”

John Edwards of BMW Team RLL is another driver who cut his teeth at Road America in open-wheel cars, and has since transitioned nicely to sports cars here. A past Road America polesitter, Edwards explained why he thinks this course will suit the BMW M8 GTE this weekend.

“Road America is a classic,” said the young American. “The track has great flow with a big variety of slow, medium, and high speed corners, including the fastest corner on our schedule, the kink. It takes commitment, but it’s possible to take the kink flat-out at around 150mph, even in a big GT car!”

Porsche’s Earl Bamber famously set a new track record in qualifying here in 2015 on his first visit to the circuit (left). The New Zealander summed this venue up nicely.

“I’m looking forward to Road America. It’s my favorite racetrack in the USA. I like that the course is fast and challenging and also set in a beautiful location,” Bamber said.

On-track activity begins Friday for WeatherTech Championship competitors. The race airs live on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

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