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Übercargeek
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
18645Since <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f47/drc-motorsports-lexus-350s-maiden-race-366750/">our last article on the DRC Motorsports team's Lexus IS SPEED World Challenge GT Series racer,</A> two more events in the series have been held. The first of these took place on Sunday 10 August 2008 at 2:45 pm at what has been referred to as the United States' best racetrack, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, whose turn on the backside known as "the kink" certainly rivals Laguna Seca's legendary Corkscrew for notoriety.

Unfortunately, our prediction and hope that the DRC Motorsports team's second Lexus IS, with Robb Holland at the wheel, would finally see action did not come true. Thus, it was again left to Jeff Altenburg in the #72 car, to be the team's sole racer. During the first practice session, Altenburg managed to beat a couple of Porsche 911s (a Turbo and a GT3), but, on the second practice session, Altenburg went into the gravel. As at Mid-Ohio, the team opted to sit out qualifying, and started at the back of the pack (ahead of only the #99 Dodge Viper) of the 26-car SPEED World Challenge Grand Touring class grid. Although that Viper got well ahead of Altenberg to eventually finish in eighth place, the #72 Lexus did manage to pass the aforementioned Porsche 911 GT3 (the #24 car, driven by Sean Allen), becoming the final car to finish on the lead lap. That, plus the retirement of five cars due to crashes or mechanical problems, resulted in a 20th place finish for Altenburg and the #72 Lexus IS, five positions higher than their start.

18644In a very interesting aside, my.IS member SportX, in <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f96/speed-world-challenge-368736/">a Race Related forum thread,</A> tells us how he saw the #72 DRC Motorsports Lexus IS first-hand at Road America while wandering around the paddocks (and shot several fantastic photographs in the process) and was casually informed by a crew member that the Lexus is powered by "essentially use the same engine as the Daytona prototype Lexus." This was certainly one of the possibilities mentioned in <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f47/yes-its-real-lexus-f-goes-racing-366272/">the discussion following our original my.IS Front Page story on this car,</A> but, lacking any official information from DRC Motorsports, it remains to be seen if that was indeed a slip from a loose-lipped employee or a red herring to throw people off.

With a weekend's rest in between, the seventh round of the SPEED World Challenge GT Series took us north of the border, to Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada's Mosport International Raceway. The race was held on Saturday 23 August 2008 at 6:30 pm. As competitor Andy Pilgrim reminds us, "Mosport is about momentum. You just can’t brake. If you’re on the brakes here, you’re going to lose time everywhere. You’ve got to brake to slow down, but you’ve got to get off the brake as fast as possible and just carry the momentum."

With no times registered for neither of the practice sessions, nor for qualifying, the #72 DRC Motorsports car, now referred to simply as a Lexus IS, started from the 22nd position of the 23-car grid. Sadly, this was the most disappointing performance to date for this Lexus racer, as it retired with mechanical problems after completing only 6 laps.

The Mosport race will be televised on SPEED TV on Wednesday 27 August 2008 at 10 AM Pacific Time / 11 AM Mountain Time / 12 Noon Central Time / 1 PM Eastern Time.

The next race in the series, at Detroit's Belle Isle Grand Prix circuit, will take place on Sunday 31 August at 12:45 pm.

Our thanks go out to <A HREF="http://www.world-challenge.com/">the official SPEED World Challenge website</A> for this information, to their photographer Mark Weber (not to be confused with current Formula 1 driver Mark Webber) for the first picture accompanying this article and to my.IS member SportX for the second photo accompanying this article.
 

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Übercargeek
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Discussion Starter #3
Does anyone know why SPEED has used a Ford symbol to accompany Altenburg's name during the broadcast of both races so far?
An excellent question, and one I don't have a definite answer for.

I do know that, as stated in previous articles, Jeff Altenburg joins the Lexus-powered DRC Motorsports team after winning the Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship last year in a Mazda (a company that is partially owned by Ford), and the other DRC driver, Robb Holland, used to compete in a Ford Focus (and is still, in fact, very highly regarded within their FocalJet fan community).

Still, that is a very tenuous connection, and I just think that SPEED TV's graphics department messed up, and they haven't caught their mistake yet.
 

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Hey guys, I had planned on posting a bit more than I have been but we've been a little busy.
Let me respond to a few of your questions.

1) Yes our engine has a lot in common with the 5.0L Grand Am DP motors. It has, however, been modified to fit within World Challenge rules. Our 4.7L makes about 10% less power than the 5.0L

2) We have had issues with getting the electric power steering rack working. We believe that we have the solution figured out but we won't know for sure until later this week. Getting this issue resolved has also delayed the completion of my car. The good news, however, is that we have sorted out all of the small new car issues on the #72 car and as soon as we solve the power steering issue we should have a very competitive race car.

3) Our withdrawal from the race at Mosport was planned and not due, as was reported, to any mechanical failure. We are still in test mode (if you look at the pictures posted in the thread in the Race forum http://my.is/forums/f96/speed-world-challenge-368736/ , notice the cameras mounted just behind the front fenders. We have several more located throughout the car) and still gathering information on the performance of the car.

4) My car should be ready to race at NJ in 3 weeks.... with power steering

5) I just saw the race coverage and I have no idea why SPEED is using a Ford logo as opposed to a Lexus one.

6) We are incredibly busy at the moment, but if you guys have any more questions I will do my best to answer them. The main reason for the early secrecy was due to the fact that we had not gotten our final vehicle spec sheet approved by SCCA Pro and didn't want rumors leaking out that our competitors could try to use against us in the process.
 
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