July 21, 2012
Muscle Milk race team claims pole at Mosport GP
By DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency
BOWMANVILLE, ONT. - In four races so far this 2102 American Le Mans Series season Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf have finished first three times in the No. 6 LMP1 Muscle Milk Racing Honda ARX 03a .
And in all of those races the team started on the front row.
On Saturday in qualifying for the Mobil 1 Mosport Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park they did it again with Graf posting a lap of one minute, 6.486 seconds.
It would seem the Muscle Milk guys are starting to make it look easy.
Not so, said Graf.
“It looks easy when we are fast right away,” he said. “But I can tell you this team works very hard to make the car as good as it is (at CTMP).
“It is a complete team effort; we have a really strong group of people that every race gives us the best car.”
The qualifying session went off under near perfect conditions at the 3.957 km grand prix course at CTMP, with mostly blue skies and temperatures hoovering around the 30C mark.
Graf was asked if there was a danger that he and Luhr might be overconfident going into Sunday’s Mosport GP, with three consecutive wins in their back pocket.
“You need confidence when you are driving these cars; you really only brake twice on the whole course so it’s very, very challenging,” he said. “If you don’t feel confident at those speeds you just can’t be successful.”
But he denied either he or his teammate will take Sunday’s race for granted.
“You shouldn’t be over confident in anything in life,” he said. “You should always question yourself, your abilities, but you can do that without being overconfident.
“No matter how many races you win you have to be humble and down to earth.”
Graf said he learned that lesson Saturday when he almost wrecked on his pole winning lap.
“There was a moment today in Turn 2 where I almost lost it,” he said. “My eyes got really wide.”
Chris Dyson will start on the front row beside Graf after he set a lap of 1:08.637 in the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola B1260 Mazda.
Completing the top three in the LMP1 class was Eric Lux on a lap of 1:08.746 in the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola.
MARCELLI ON FRONT ROW
Barrie’s Kyle Marcelli narrowly missed his second consecutive pole in the LMPC class, delivering a lap of 1:10.863 in the No. 8 Merchant Services Racing Oreca FLM.
He will start beside American Colin Braun in the No. 05 CORE Autosports Oreca FLM, who lapped the CMPT track in record time of 1:10.698.
Braun took a jab at the home town favourite after the session.
“Everyone seems to think that Kyle is king (at CTMP), being this is his home track and all,” he said. “So it was nice to be able to beat him fair and square.”
Marcelli, who was the track record holder from last season when he set a mark of 1:11.331, was not so sure it was all that fair or square.
In fact his final attempt to beat Braun’s time was stopped when the flag man displayed a green flag then immediately pulled out the checkered flag to stop the session.
“I think we might have been able to get a faster lap if we would have been able to get one last flying lap in,” he said.
In the LMP2 class Martin Plowman will start on the pole with a lap of 1:08.853 in the No. 37 Conquest Endurance Morgan Nissan.
The Corvette Racing team showed its horsepower early in qualifying with Jan Magnussen posting a lap of 1:15.478 in the No. 3 C6-R to grab the pole in the GT class.
Teammate Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 C6-R dropped a lap of 1:15.782 to make it an all-Corvette GT front row.
In the GTC class Damien Faukner will start on the pole after his lap of 1:21,615 in the No. 34 Green Hornet Racing Porsche 911.
One hundred Tequila ... races
As a kid growing up in California, Johannes van Overbeek loved sports cars, the more exotic the better.
Even through his college years at Cal State Chico, where he graduated with a marketing degree, he fed his passion with frequent trips up to nearby Sonoma Raceway to watch sports car teams like BMW, Porsche and Ferrari race.
Fifteen years later van Overbeek is living his dream — big time — driving the No. 01 Tequila Patron Ferrari F 458 Italia in the American Le Mans Series.
In fact on Sunday the 38-year-old San Francisco native, will mark his 100th ALMS race at the Mobile 1 Mosport Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“I have always been a car fan and sports car racing is the ultimate extension of ‘Oh look at that cool car, I would love to drive it’ mentality that I had growing up,” van Overbeek said.
“A hundred races is a real milestone. I think getting to this point is a culmination of luck and a lot of hard work and dedication.
“I have always had a real desire to compete at the top level.”
Over his first 99 ALMS races, driving first for BMW, then Porsche, before moving this season to Ferrari, van Overbeek has notched six victories and 38 podium appearances.