What do you get when you take an Indy 500 winner that retired while still young, an even younger open-wheel star looking for a new career after ChampCar’s demise, the support of LMP2 manufacturer Acura, and a team loaded with crafty veterans? You get their well deserved spotlight in our latest ‘In-Car Theater’ video feature, courtesy of the American Le Mans Series.
de Ferran put his new Acura ARX-01b on the front row in qualifying, opted for a pre-race tire change that moved them to the back of the grid, and over the course of two hours and forty-five minutes, pulled the Acura just one spot shy of their intended starting spot with the help of his young French teammate.
Of the many things that stand out from dFM’s in-car camera, the most impressive has to be the incredibly poised, decisive, and attacking nature both pilots display. The images are those of a top team with years of sportscar racing under their belts, not a quickly formed group of racers conducting their first endurance event. It’s a drive people will be talking about for years in the ALMS.
(0:14) Starting from the back at your first ALMS race is no fun…
(0:31) …but passing three cars by the time you reach the green flag and another car by turn one isn’t so bad.
(1:00) The driver of the GT2 Corvette should look in his mirrors.
(1:07) The brakes on de Ferran’s Acura are VERY impressive.
(1:14) The driver of the GT2 Panoz should look in his mirrors.
(2:12) Gil de Ferran has now passed the entire GT2 field on the opening lap…
(2:56) …and the GT1 field is taken care of a third of the way through the second lap.
(3:27) For a guy that hasn’t raced since 2002, Gil sure find his rhythm awfully fast.
(4:44) I wonder if Acura would sell them an ARX-01b.
(4:49) Passing GT2 cars never loses its scare factor.
(5:14) Second time he’s lapped the Ford GT. Let’s start counting.
(5:20) Audi R10’s have a lot of top end speed.
(6:20) de Ferran Motorsports’ first pitstop isn’t a blinder, but they don’t lose too much time.
(7:01) Simon Pagenaud plugs in his helmet radio connection…but isn’t he forgetting something else?…hope he doesn’t get thirsty.
(8:56) Hey, is that a Ford GT blocking the road at turn 1…
(9:15) Pagenaud is putting in a mighty effort to keep pace with the R10.
(9:35) Hey, is that…
(10:02) Now Pagenaud’s finding his groove.
(11:35) After stalking his prey, Simon’s ready to pounce.
(11:42) For the third race in a row, the magically widening Penske Porsche has returned.
(12:04-12:26) Text book. The Porsche blocks to the left leading onto the front straight—the exact thing you don’t want to do, and Pagenaud opts for the classic wide line to get a better run down the mile long road. Bye bye blocking Porsche.
(12:41) Now he’s just passing everyone, including Acura stable mate AGR.
(13:20) Nothing like a smooch on the crash helmet from the boss to signal a job well done. 3rd place from dead last in their very first ALMS, and top Acura. Well done, de Ferran Motorsports.
[Source: SpeedTV.com and ALMS.com]