It’s been “unseasonably cool” at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, not the type of weather typical for the annual fall sports car race. This weekend is the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron race, along with four support series – IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, Cooper Tires Prototype Lites, SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge, and Star Mazda Series.
All five series practice Friday morning, with qualifying in the afternoon for ALMS, IMSA GT3 and Prototype Lites.
ALMS had two hours of Testing Thursday, in cold foggy weather. The new ‘speedometer’ atop the track’s cross-over bridge shows the speed of the cars as they pass under and crest the Turn One hill. The fastest observed speed Thursday was 157 mph in ALMS. It’s hard to say which car it was, as the speed is recorded after the fact, as the cars goes out of sight.
Although it’s not usual for Test times, ALMS did post a sheet Friday morning for the Thursday session. The fastest drivers in each class were: P1 and overall-KLAUS GRAF/No.6 Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing AMR /Lola Coupe B08 62 at 1:16.293/105.603 mph. P2-CHRISTOPHE BOUCHUT/No.055 Level 5 Motorsports Lola Honda – only car in the class this weekend; PC-RICARDO GONZALES/No.06 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09; GT points leader JOEY HAND/No.56 BMW Tam RLL BMW E92 M3; GTC-MARTIN RAGGINER/No.30 NGT Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, a last minute substitution Thursday, replacing SEAN EDWARDS; and the UNC leader and only car in the class RICHARD LIETZ/No.911 Porsche Motorsports North America Porsche GT3R Hybrid.
The family that plays together stays together. In the IMSA GT3 field of 38 cars, there is a Mother and Son duo. MELANI SNOW/No.56 Snow Racing Platinum 2011 has been racing for years, but has not raced at Laguna Seca since 2009. The Platinum class is for 2010 and 2011 Porsches and has 25 drivers.
Son MADISON SNOW is racing No.62 Snow Racing Gold 2008. According to the driver and the Porsche representative, fifteen-year old Madison is the youngest Pro Series Porsche driver in the world. He is a Rookie and leading the Gold class points, ahead of 12 other drivers. Madison came to the IMSA GT3 Series from Go-Karts, which he has raced for a long time and a few Skip Barber Mazda races at his home track, Miller Motorsports Park in Utah – the only circuit this IMSA season on which he’s raced. All the other IMSA circuits on the 2011 schedule, including Laguna Seca, are new to him. Madison has spent a lot of time on video games learning the new tracks..
Madison likes the famed Corkscrew, says it’s fun, but thinks maybe it has too much hype. Overall he really likes Laguna Seca He said Thursday it was hard because the wind was blowing sand onto the track, and he had to adjust for that.
With school approval, Madison has skipped classes this week. He turns sixteen on 26 December 2011.