July 2010 - Lime Rock
I thought nothing could top our dramatic win at Laguna Seca in May, but I am the first to admit I am wrong. We had to push 100 percent to the last lap to beat the BMWs at Lime Rock, and Pierre Kaffer was not far behind in the Ferrari. While the Melo/Bruni Ferrari is our closest rival, relaxing when they dropped out early would have been a mistake, as that would only have added to our vulnerability in the wild traffic among the four classes.
Friday’s practice and qualifying was done completely in the wet, but the rain is one of those things that is the same for everybody. Lime Rock in the wet is certainly a combination that's daunting. There is a fine line between being a hero and going into the guardrail, but the Flying Lizard crew and Michelin put us in position to turn a good lap in the steady rain. We tried every single lap to get it hooked up. I think the rear engine in the 911 helped us secure the pole.
We didn’t have any dry running on Friday so we knew that if we had a dry race on Saturday, all the teams would face the same set-up challenge. And we knew it was going to be a tough one—the depth of GT competition this year is intense.
By the time I took the wheel for my second stint, our strategy had gotten us the provisional lead—this is where Flying Lizard sets itself apart with strategy and pit stops. My job was to maintain the gap, but that was far from a natural challenge. I felt like I was swimming with sharks and I had a bloody foot. That’s Lime Rock.
Navigating the traffic was unbelievably difficult. I had to shift from trying to hold the gap to just keeping the BMWs behind me. With the speed they had, traffic actually then became my friend—each time I worked through a pack of cars I was able to increase the gap. Then the BMW just behind me would close it again on the straights, but we were better in the corners. I knew I just had to fight tooth and nail to the end. The victory came through our pit work, strategy and racecraft in traffic. Now we need to keep the momentum through the end of the season.
This week I’m in Belgium for the Spa 24 Hour race this weekend, driving for Matmut/IMSA Performance. It’s an all GT race and I’m pretty excited to chase an overall victory!
Send your comments and questions to Patrick at email@example.com. Although he can’t respond individually, he’ll get to as many as possible in his blog.