19294Following on <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f47/drc-motorsports-lexus-road-america-mosport-369204/">our previous story on the DRC Motorsports team's #72 Lexus IS SPEED World Challenge GT Series racer,</A> the team hit something of a rough patch. The mechanical problems that forced the Lexus IS racer to retire from the event in Ontario, Canada's Mosport International Raceway after completing only 6 laps also led the DRC Motorsports team to miss the following event at Detroit, Michigan's Belle Isle Grand Prix on Sunday 31 August 2008. Fortunately, the race after that one, at the Thunderbolt Raceway portion of New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, took place nearly a month later, on Saturday 27 September 2008 at 1 PM, giving the team adequate time to fix those problems. As the team described it, "For the first time this year, (driver) Jeff Altenburg and the DRC Motorsports team had a competitive car. After months of frustration fighting a programming glitch, the DRC Motorsports team gave Altenburg a car with power steering. For those of you who know, driving a car with a power steering rack, but no power, is a difficult task and for the first time this year, Altenburg was able to test the limits of the car."
Altenberg did much better than that, placing 11th in the 22-car grid during on-an-off rain in the first Practice Session, 7th during the second Practice Session and a solid 10th-place qualifying position on the grid. Unfortunately, while testing the limits of the car, Altenburg had a slight off between turns Eight and Nine and collected enough wet New Jersey Motorsports Park mud in the front splitter to affect the cars ride height. Upon post qualifying inspection, the No. 72 Lexus IS was found to be "approximately” four to five millimeters too low in the right front splitter area. This in turn made the rear wing “approximately” 3/16” too high. Hence the 10th-place qualifying position was disallowed, forcing Altenburg to start from the back of the field for Saturday's race. As team technical director Greg Fordahl stated, it was a SPEED World Challenge rule not allowing the mud to be rinsed from inside the splitter which was causing the infraction. When the team got the car back to their paddock and removed some 60 pounds of wet mud from the front splitter, the front ride height went up, the rear wing went down and the car came back into compliance!
The DRC Motorsports Lexus IS stalled on the opening lap of the race, but went on to finish in 14th place overall, the team's best result this season.
The New Jersey race will be televised on SPEED TV on Wednesday 8 October 2008 at 9 AM Pacific Time / 10 AM Mountain Time / 11 AM Central Time / 12 Noon Eastern Time.
The next race in the series, the 2008 SPEED World Challenge GT Series season finale at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, will take place on Friday 3 October at 12:20 pm.
Our thanks go out to <A HREF="http://www.world-challenge.com/">the official SPEED World Challenge website,</A> including a <A HREF="http://www.world-challenge.com/news/story.php?ID=1108">DRC Motorsports Press Release</A> and to photographer Mark Weber for the photo accompanying this article.