This is going to be quite a week for one member of the dsc team;
on Friday (October 16), Deputy Ed. Graham Goodwin is marrying his
long-time sweetheart Trudie – in Cyprus. That means a trip
to the far end of the Mediterranean for the Ed. and David Lord (chief
wedding photographer this week), departure on Wednesday afternoon.
Systems are in place
to update the site from afar, but an even greater time difference
between California and dsc’s (temporary) base will unfortunately
mean a delay (typically until the following morning) posting Tom
Kjos’s reports from Laguna Seca, plus images from Gary Horrocks,
Regis Lefebure and James Davies.
It’s a one-off
event (well, actually two-off) for Graham Goodwin – but we
don’t expect a third. So please bear with us as we celebrate
Graham and Trudie’s nuptials, and try to bring you all the
significant news and race coverage too.
Thanks for the kind messages
from those of who know of the impending event. We’ll pass
Editorials have been few and far between this summer – although
hopefully you’ll agree that there’s been no shortage
of news and race coverage here, during this frantic 2004 season.
As a European-based site,
we’ve welcomed the arrival of the LMES as the most significant
new series on this continent since… the BPR? We’re anticipating
that the 2005 LMES will begin at Spa on May 8 (not confirmed yet),
and we’re expecting to throw ourselves headlong into coverage
of the four (or five?) 2005 events. But we’d like to see one,
simple change to the event schedule next year.
Qualifying needs to follow
the American format, doesn’t it? For fans who arrive a day
early, there should, we believe, be a short, 20 minute qualifying
session, to set grid positions.
It was Russell Wittenberg
who pointed out that it was worth being at Petit Le Mans this year
just to see the prototype qualifying session. Ironically, the series
that had the format spot on, was prepared to try a change this year
– a refinement that James Weaver hated.
When Weaver crossed the
line just before the chequered flag fell to end qualifying at Road
Atlanta, we all knew he had one last chance to take the pole. John
Hindhaugh was at his riotous best, as Weaver and the Dyson Lola
went for it. It was high drama, whether he made it or not. Fans
could see the #16 right on the limit, and all heard Hindhaugh announce
the pole as he crossed the line.
15 or 20 minutes are
enough, with the field more or less spit into two. With GT and GTS
cars having already completed their qualifying, obstructions are
more or less eliminated for the LMP1s and LMP2s, while the GT and
GTS cars have their moment of glory separately.
If it goes wrong for
one or two entries (mechanical trouble, or a spin) – well,
that adds to the drama in the early laps of the race.
In the FIA GT Championship,
the N-GTs and GTs could be kept separate, and unlike the GA format,
it should be the fastest drivers in each car going for a time, shouldn’t
it? Why should the qualifying driver have to start? Why take the
likes of Andy Wallace and Max Angelelli out of the qualifying session
So come on Europe, let’s
have a US-style, qualifying day show. Everything beforehand can
be called free practice, with no one under pressure to set a hot
lap, surrounded by 30 or 40 other cars, from two or four classes.
Then perhaps we won’t hear “traffic” as the reason
for a car not setting a representative time.
Le Mans itself can probably
afford to be different, around such a long lap: there’s plenty
of drama either side of the interval between each pair of qualifying
sessions, during each evening of timed practice.
‘Jimmy’ Weaver going to get up to in qualifying at Laguna
Seca? Or Nic Minassian? Or JJ Lehto?