Lotus Alex Job Racing's (AJR) Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell are ready for the American Le Mans Series VIR 250 to be run at Virginia International Raceway, Sept. 13-15.
The team took the opportunity to attend the test held at VIR in June. Sweedler (Westport, Conn) and
Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) were using the test session to get familiar with their new Lotus as well as making valuable data-gathering test laps. With seven races on the Lotus Evora GT, the team continues to improve the car while racing it in the tough ALMS GT Class.
The 3.27-mile, 17-turn undulating road course located 10 minutes north of Danville has nearly every kind of turn. The team had its best finish of the year, seventh, at Road America in August, a track very similar to VIR.
"The first time I ran VIR was at the ALMS test day," Sweedler said. "My reaction was a resounding 'WOW"! The facility is surrounded by beautiful country roads and when you get out on the track, you realize you are on the same undulating, tree lined, meandering country roads that happen to make up the race track! I can't wait to see the facility crowded with local fans cheering for our cars in the ALMS. The Lotus AJR Evora GTE should be well suited with its strong handling and braking characteristics to conquer the terrain. The entire AJR team, along with Yokohama, has been hard at work since the test to provide Townsend and me a great car for the VIR race. Battery Tender, Schecter Guitars, and William Rast plan to have a large guest list at the track, so our entire team in pumped for a strong run this weekend."
Bell is looking forward to seeing how far the Lotus has come since the test in June.
"I turned my first laps at VIR at the June test," Bell said. "It felt a lot like my favorite natural road courses like Mid-Ohio and Road America. At that time, we were in the early stages of feeling out the Lotus Evora. I am anxious to get back to VIR to see how far we have come with the car. Since then the team, together with Yokohama, have done a lot of work on the car. I hope that the high-speed aero work we have been doing pays dividends at this fast rolling road course."
Alex Job, team principal, is glad the team attended the test in June.