Autocon – Great Test At Butonwillow
Michael Lewis and the Autocon team chose to test their B01/60 Lola
in California this week, rather than Sebring last month. The test
went so well (on Monday and Tuesday), they stopped at that point,
not needing a third day.
“This was very much a familiarity test, as
much as anything,” said Michael Lewis. “The Lola is
new to everybody on the team, from the crew to the drivers. The
two days went about as perfectly as one could imagine.”
Under clear blue skies and mild 70-degree temperatures,
the team turned nearly 150 laps on the 1.43-mile, 12-turn east loop
of Buttonwillow Raceway.
Butch Leitzinger was there to assist, and was “impressed
with how effortlessly everything went and how quickly Autocon has
adapted. There’s a difference between the older generation
Riley & Scott the team campaigned last year and the Lola, and
the team looks ready to make the change successfully.”
Butch set the best lap, a 57.8 second lap, near
the unofficial east loop record, while the best from the Autocon
trio (Lewis, Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman) was an impressive
58.3. The only glitch during the two days was a broken shift linkage
that took only a few minutes to change.
Butch’s insights on what the car likes and wants was super
beneficial,” commented Chris McMurry (right). “We all
picked up some useful pointers we’ll use all season, and as
everyone knows, he’s a great personality and consummate pro.
“The jump from the (Miracle) Courage C65 to
the Lola felt natural. Both have the AER turbo and many similar
characteristics. But as a driver you always want more, and the most
rewarding differences were the better acceleration and braking of
the lighter car, and the less physical experience of the paddle-shifting
and power steering. The car is a pleasure to drive, and we all feel
really good about what we’ll accomplish this season.”
The team is using Dunlop rubber this season, and
apart from “a little difficulty getting heat in the fronts,”
said Michael Lewis, “but that was more of a track issue,”
the drivers were very happy with their tyres.
chasing (and sometimes beating) the Lola my entire sports car career,
it's a great pleasure to actually drive it, at least after learning
how to control the fire-breathing turbo," said Bryan Willman
(below). “We'll have one of the most completely sorted cars
in the P1 field going into a 12-hour race on the roughest permanent
course in North America. If ever there was a time to catch the rest
of the P1 field out, this will be it. I am very hopeful.”
Next stop Sebring.