Homestead Testing – Tuesday Report
The first of two days of testing at Homestead saw 35 cars set times, with Michael Valiante fastest among the DPs, his 1:14.151 in the Finlay Crawford Ford, just 11 hundredths faster than Patrick Carpentier in the Citgo / SAMAX Riley Pontiac.

Porsches were 1-2-3 in GT, followed by the pair of SpeedSource Mazda RX-8s, then the new Banner Racing Pontiac GXP in sixth (Leighton Reese / Kelly Collins / Paul Edwards).

One purpose of the test was to get more miles on the Bosch ECU, the standard system for 2007, and Travis Braun (brother of Colin) spoke to many teams and engine builders, and reports that “they all said the ECU is a lot better than at the previous test, but there are still a few tiny bugs to be worked out.

“No teams were prevented from testing due to ECU glitches,” continues Travis, “but there were still a few issues remaining to be solved by the Bosch engineers. One of those engineers, Charles Vogel, was pleased with the progress of the new ECU: “The new customers that are here with us are very happy. What we have here we'll run at the 24 Hours.”

“The biggest obstacle most teams had to overcome with the ECU is its missing traction control program, a new rule announced by Grand Am between the Daytona and Homestead tests," continues Travis Braun. "Teams worked on compensating for the absent traction control by refining their chassis setups, and most seemed to be coping well with the change.”

On the subject of the ECUs, Scott Spencer, the Deputy Director of Competition at Grand Am, released a document produced by Bosch (“a list of issues and fixes”) to the teams a week ago, to help them solve any problems with the Bosch 4.3 unit.

The document covers a whole host of “issues”, under the following headings: Cam and Crank Sensor Triggering, Engine Harness Grounding, Lambda Sensor, Gear Potentiometer, Beacon, Wheel Speed Sensors and Vehicle Speed, Accelerometer and Switches.

There are 24 areas for the teams to check. Presumably they’ve all had a busy week ahead of this test – which has paid off in terms of improved running (although with no traction control now of course).

The top 16 DPs were closely matched on times – all the way from Valiante’s best time in #19 down to the Cheever Crawford on 1:15.247.

In among this bunch were both of Peter Baron’s SAMAX Rileys. Besides Carpentier, second fastest in #11, the two cars were driven by Darren Manning, Ryan Dalziel, Jeff Bucknum, Tom Kimber-Smith and Milka Duno.

“Basically, the line-up is set for the CITGO car for the Rolex 24, but we haven’t announced that yet,” said Peter Baron. “We just cycled people through that car and the #7 car today. For the #11 car, it’s been about going fast, but being conservative at the same time. The drivers have driven good, fast laps, but nobody’s put a wheel off or run up on the curbing, which is good. That’s what the #11 car was all about today. Sitting P2, 1/100th of a second off the best time after the first day is pretty good.”

Of TK-S’s performance, Baron commented that “Tom was P8 on his first time in the car and that was pretty good. I know he’s looking at a few different options right now, but I’d like to have him in our car for the Rolex 24 and the whole season.”

Travis Braun spoke to 2006 champion Jorg Bergmeister about his plans for 2007. “The official word is I haven't signed anything yet (with Alex Job Racing), so I'm just testing right now.”

Travis was pretty sure that the tall German driver didn’t get any laps on the first day, because he said he didn’t fit in the car. The team was going to work on ‘fitting him in’ before the second day of the test. The #23 Crawford Porsche was fifth fastest, a time set by Patrick Long.

Crawfords were first, fifth, eighth and tenth fastest, the remaining spots filled by Rileys. The only non-Riley / Crawford at the test was the #77 Doran Ford – which was 14th fastest, driver unknown. The Riley Motorsports Riley, #91, was 11th fastest (Jim Matthews / Marc Goossens / Ryan Hunter-Reay). Jimmie Johnson will drive with these three at the Rolex 24, and will also race the Riley at the mid-season Daytona event.

Andy Wallace didn’t get much time in the Howard Motorsports Crawford, and ended up tenth. “Straight away the gear cut was working,” commented the Englishman, “but with larger tyres from Hoosier for this test we ended up hitting the rev. limiter with the gearing we had, at which point the car started ‘kangarooing’, but we’ve got another map to try on Wednesday.”

Why didn’t he get much time in the DP? “I spent most of the day in the (Crawford-built) Infiniti GT car, working on springs and things. Max wanted me to get the car settled in before the other drivers tried it. My first impressions are really good. The car is very comfortable to drive and it’s very quick, particularly through the oval portion of the track.”

This car should see Bryan Sellers, Johnny Mowlem and Terry Borcheller in it on day two.

The Ganassi Riley was being driven by Scott Pruett and Mexicans Memo Rojas and Carlos Pardo.

"Today for me was pretty simple, set up the car for Carlos and Memo and help get them up to speed the best I can so we could determine a second driver for the team,” said Pruett. “I ran a handful of laps first thing this morning and turned the car over to them. Our plan should be the same for tomorrow so we'll see how they run."

The Ganassi entry was twelfth fastest. Juan Pablo Montoya was present at the test with the Ganassi team, but didn’t drive.

With thanks to Travis Braun for gathering the comments indicated above.

Combined Times (morning and afternoon sessions)
1 19 DP Finlay Motorsports Rob Finlay / Michael Valiante Crawford Ford 1.14.161
2 11 DP SAMAX Motorsport Milka Duno / Patrick Carpentier Riley Pontiac 1.14.162
3 99 DP Gainsco/ Bob Stallings Racing Alex Gurney / Jon Fogarty Riley Pontiac 1.14.341
4 58 DP Red Bull/ Brumos Porsche David Donohue / Darren Law Riley Porsche 1.14.345
5 23 DP Alex Job Racing Patrick Long / Jorg Bergmeister Crawford Porsche 1.14.389
6 10 DP SunTrust Racing Wayne Taylor / Max Angelelli / Jeff Gordon Riley Pontiac 1.14 455
7 05 DP Sigalsport BMW Bill Auberlen / Matthew Alhadeff Riley BMW 1.14.571
8 51 DP Cheever Racing Tommy Erdos Crawford Porsche 1.14.699
9 7 DP SAMAX Tom Kimber-Smith Riley Pontiac 1.14.785
10 20 DP Howard Motorsports Andy Wallace Crawford Pontiac1.14.785
11 91 DP Riley Motorsports Jim Matthews / Marc Goossens Riley Pontiac 1.14.816
12 01 DP CompUSA Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Scott Pruett Riley Lexus 1.14.940
13 60 DP Michael Shank Racing Mark Patterson / Oswaldo Negri / Sam Hornish Jr Riley Lexus 1.14.946
14 77 DP Doran Racing TBA Doran Ford 1.15.093
15 16 DP Howard Motorsports Chris Dyson / Rob Dyson Crawford Pontiac 1.15.164
16 39 DP Cheever Racing Christian Fittipaldi Crawford Porsche 1.15.247
17 6 DP Michael Shank Racing Henri Zogaib / Ian James / Paul Tracy Riley Lexus 1.15.530
18 12 DP RVO Motorsports Roger Schramm / Jack Baldwin Riley Pontiac 1.16.230
19 84 DP Robinson Racing George Robinson / Shane Lewis Riley Pontiac 1.16.638
20 59 DP Brumos Porsche Hurley Haywood / JC France Riley Porsche 1.16.644
21 61 DP AIM Autosport Mark Wilkins Riley Lexus 1.18.296
22 85 GT Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Dominik Farnbacher / Leh Keen Porsche GT3 Cup 1.21.230
23 86 GT Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Dominik Farnbacher / Leh Keen Porsche GT3 Cup 1.21.475
24 72 GT Tafel Racing Wolf Henzler / Eric Lux / Robin Liddell / Bryce Miller / Andrew Davis Porsche GT3 Cup 1.21.642
25 70 GT SpeedSource David Haskell / Sylvain Tremblay / Nick Ham Mazda RX-8 1.21.704
26 69 GT SpeedSource Emil Assentato / Nick Longhi Mazda RX-8 1.22.486
27 06 GT Banner Racing Leighton Reese / Kelly Collins / Paul Edwards Pontiac GXP 1.22.493
28 22 Alegra Motorsports / Fiorano Racing Carlos de Quesada / Jean-Francois Dumoulin / Sooter Gabel Porsche GT3 Cup 1.22.613
29 41 GT Team Sahlen Joe Sahlen / Will Nonnamaker / Wayne Nonnamaker / Joe Nonnamaker Porsche GT3 Cup 1.22.740
30 45 GT Team HLM Andy Wallace / Bryan Sellers / Johnny Mowlem / Terry Borcheller Infiniti G35 1.23.101
31 15 GT Blackforest Motorsports Tom Nastasi / Alex Tagliani / Boris Said Mustang Cobra GT 1.23.426
32 17 GT Doncaster Racing Dave Lacey / Greg Wilkins Porsche GT3 Cup 1.24.039
33 49 GT Team Sahlen Joe Sahlen / Will Nonnamaker / Wayne Nonnamaker / Joe Nonnamaker Pontiac GTO 1.25.528
34 34 GT Canadian All American Racers Zave Aberman / Andrew Ranger Pontiac Grand-Am 1.29.170
35 42 GT Team Sahlen Joe Sahlen / Will Nonnamaker / Wayne Nonnamaker / Joe Nonnamaker Corvette 1.32.577

 

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