Grand-Am Drivers' Meeting
Grand-Am Drivers’ Meeting

Another warm and sunny but breezy day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Grand-Am Rolex Series feature race as part of the three-day Continental Tire Sports Car Festival.

The drivers attended their obligatory meeting conducted by MARK RAFFAUF, Grand-Am Managing Director of Racing Operations. Extensive, detailed discussions covered starts, restarts, pitting, and other rules of the road. Grand-Am CEO, ED BENNETT spoke briefly,regarding the impending unification of Grand-am and the American Le Mans Series. He said he was excited; and that hardware and car classification will be first on the working timeline.

No.03 Extreme Speeds Motorsports GT Ferrari 458
No.03 Extreme Speeds Motorsports GT Ferrari 458

Fans were everywhere, thronging the paddock and pit lane for the FanWalk. Saturday the fans had an hour-long autograph session with all the drivers in the official marque/tent in the central pack. Lots of photos taken, posing with drivers and cars, autographs signed, hero cards disbursed, and a good time was had by all. Lots of families with little kids getting perhaps their first exposure to racing. It was another example of American road racing being fan-friendly.

Another fan-friendly idea was tested Saturday by having driver-media interviews held in the marque tent so the fans could attend and ask questions after the media had their turn. It’s in need of a little tweeking, because of the timing and location. For the Rolex Series top Daytona Prototype qualifiers session, the drivers were competing with the noise from and attention on the GT qualifying. The GT drivers had better luck with no on-track activity with which to compete. Their press ‘conference’ went very well.

Not quite so for the poor winners from the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race. They were already been worn out by their ‘race’ which seemed like a hockey game on wheels. The weary CTSCC drivers could only talk in short sentences, as the Star Mazda race was on, and the cars roared down the long front straight every 90 seconds. One CTSCC driver was timing his remarks accordingly.

But, all in all, the open media session was a novel idea, and with help, could really help build fan support.

Sunday’s Rolex Race starts at noon local time and will run two hours 45 minutes. It is the penultimate round of the 2012 season, with the finale at Lime Rock on 29 September 2012.

Last Modified on September 12, 2012
This entry was posted in Grand-Am
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