Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 24, 2001. “Undrivable” is the devastating appraisal race-car drivers give when a car fails to live up to their expectations. Such is the predicament faced by Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr before the eighth race of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The two Germans are among the favorites in the GTS class with their 996-generation 911 GT3 RS. Yet after the free practice sessions, Maassen and his teammate are both complaining about “terrible understeer.” In short: the car is undrivable. What can you do if the car simply doesn’t want to go into the corner?
Team boss Alex Job has two strong drivers in the works team duo, but he has another ace up his sleeve: Roland Kußmaul. The
But Maassen has to get used to the new setup first. He lays down three blazingly fast laps, but he’s still 0.2 seconds off the top time. “Where am I?” asks Maassen. “Second place,” team boss Job radioes back. “Give me two more laps,” demands Maassen, “I’ll crack it!” “Okay,” is the noncommittal response from the pit. But Maassen delivers. After a moderate lap to cool down the tires, with a time of 1:24.451 he’s 0.008 seconds faster than his toughest competitors from BMW. Job is ecstatic, and the BMW crew is listening in. “You were pretty sure of yourself,” the Bavarians respectfully heckle.
By Franz Ponder
Photo by Richard Prince
8th Race of the American
Le Mans Series (ALMS)
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
2.25-mile circuit length