Clint Field – On Intersport’s 2004
© Gary Horrocks

You can’t keep Intersport Racing down. Since the team’s arrival into the ALMS, their blue, red and white cars (usually anyway) have been a permanent fixture. Now, their ambitious efforts include an entry in each of the two Prototype classes, and Intersport also recently experienced the team’s greatest success, with the LMP2 class win at Le Mans in June.

Unfortunately, it seems that the team is ‘snake bit’ when it comes to entering two cars this year. The better the success for one, the worse it is for the other.

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Le Mans (above) saw Clint Field teamed with Bill Binnie and Rick Sutherland win the LMP2 class, while his father, Jon Field, who was teamed with Duncan Dayton and Larry Connor, had to retire early in the LMP1 car. Sears Point saw Clint team with Robin Liddell and Jon to win the class, while the other car did not start due to a chassis failure. In a reversal of sorts, Jon was able to bring home his car home second overall at the last race at Road America (a race which included an interesting moment wit JJ Lehto, below), while Clint and his Lola were disqualified, due to some irregularities while attempting to repair the throttle cable.

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dailysportscar.comFortunately, for the fans, this team is always around, putting forth the best effort they can, adding greatly to the ALMS circuit. And no matter how good or how badly things are going, this privateer team continues to plug away, racing against the hi-dollar factory efforts, making the best of their resources that they possibly can.

Clint Field has had quite season so far, winning not just Le Mans, but also four of the seven races run so far in the ALMS, all in what is only his second full season of ALMS competition. Instead of running a Lola B2K/10 or the team's R&S MkIII (below) in the LMP1 class this season, he is concentrating on the LMP2 class, driving a Lola B2K/40, powered by a Judd.

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Why, Clint?

dailysportscar.com“It was an easy choice for us to go racing in LMP2. Bill Binnie signed on to drive the endurance races and wanted an opportunity to win. We felt that this was the best choice we could make. The Lola was a known quantity and we have had a good experience working with Judd. The package seemed like a natural for us.

“While the cars between the classes are similar, it is unfortunate that the class is looked at as half assed right now. I think the LMP2 class needs more attention now, and maybe we would get it if the cars kept running. Most of the season, they just haven’t kept running. To me, the Lola B2K/40 is just not as strongly constructed as the LMP1 type cars. It’s nimble but in comparison to our LMP1 Lola, it is fragile. I think the MG was a durable car, but the AER motor let it down. That’s why we tried the Judd.”

dailysportscar.com“As far as the future of the class for us, I just don’t know. For now, other than the Courage, there just aren’t any other cars available. While the Courage appears to be a good car, I think we could have stayed with them at Road America if we had kept running. But, we do plan on staying in the ALMS. They have good ideas, good promotion and are good people. We feel very comfortable here.”

At Sears Point, Jon had the fortunate (?) experience of the chassis failing in the pit lane, rather than on the track. At the time, Jon explained that, “I’m just glad it did it in pit lane. If it had happened out on the track, I hate to think what might have happened.”

So what did happen? According to Clint, “the car that failed this year at Sears was the same car that was wrecked so badly the previous year. That chassis was repaired and that was the car that we debuted at Petit last year, with the Judd motor. What we found out was that when it was repaired, there was no hard point made for the air jack, so that every time we used the jack, the chassis started to crack, eventually completely failing. As the chassis was cracking, it became difficult for us to really get a handle on the car. It just wouldn’t respond how we thought it would. We lost time trying to set up the car but we were never able to gain any workable knowledge. We ended up chasing our tails.”

When the Lola appeared with the Judd a year ago, the thinking was that this was a good package for the future. “But we just weren’t able to develop it properly with all of the (chassis) problems that we had. Compared to the AER, the Judd is down on power and does have a higher c/g, but we are happy where we are with the Judd. We just don’t have the funds to develop a car like Dyson does.”

Tires always seem to be a touchy situation in sportscar racing, but Clint seems happy with what they have. “Pirelli has given us an unbelievable tire for our LMP2 car. It’s consistent and grippy. I’m really happy with them. For our LMP1 car, we are running the Goodyear tires and they have been good for us, but the car, when it was an MG, was designed for Michelin tires. To have Michelin tires now would be unbelievable. We’re always talking to them and they hear our cries. The Goodyear tires obviously work well, especially on the Dyson cars, but ours is not developed to their level.”

dailysportscar.com“Next year, we can run all three of the cars that we own, as all three will still be eligible under the 2005 ALMS rules. For now, we really don’t know what next year will hold for us. That will come in the off season. For me, my ultimate goal is to have a career in racing. Right now, where I am, I look at it like I have been given a drive. I hope that the win at Le Mans and the other success that I have can be used as a stepping stone for the future.”

Petit Le Mans has generally been kind to Intersport entries: will it be kind to one or both this year? The LMP1 car will be raced by Jon Field, Duncan Dayton and Mike Durand, with Clint joined by Robin Liddell and Milka Duno in the LMP2. Class wins at Le Mans and Petit Le Mans in the same season, perhaps?

 

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