Disappointment and frustration were the words of choice for Drayson Racing as the team saw a potentially strong weekend – perhaps the best since the Anglo-American team made their switch to the Lola Coupe prototype.
The team had turned around their chances at Laguna Seca preparing for the six hour race at the Californian venue, the third round of the American Le Mans Series. Having begun the weekend struggling to reign in the car around the 2.2mile track qualifying saw the car and team come to life with team co-owner Paul Drayson making his ALMS qualifying bow.
With Drayson once more given the highest responsibility in the team in starting the car the Briton overcame a minor off in the opening laps of the race to eventually haul the car up to fourth in a rare double stint. The recovery only continued when Jonny Cocker replaced Drayson in the car, Cocker making it up third and setting the race's fastest lap up to that point.
However, the team's run came to an end when Cocker tried to change gear only to be greeted by what the team describe as “an eerie mechanical whine” and no drive to the Lola's rear wheels. The damage to the driver was such that, while the team were able to identify the problem, there was no time to make a repair before the race's end, the team officially retiring the car in the race's third hour.
“The race, right before the failure, was looking like we could have had a podium,” explained Cocker afterwards. “We know that we were quick; we were consistent. The car is very good. We got a lot of time in the car this week. Also, as a team, operationally we have improved as well. We have smoothed out any small issue we might have had.”
“A painfully disappointing end to a great weekend,” Drayson reflected. “However, we know what the problem is and we know we can fix it. So, although we didn’t receive the result we wanted at Laguna we know we have a very competitive car and team to take us to the Le Mans 24 Hours next month.”
The team remain positive ahead of making their LMP1 debut at Le Mans – the team competed in LMGT2 last year – though team manager Dale White did admit they team would carry a lot of negatives with them to France. The team will head back to its UK base before, entering with the no.11 Lola-Judd, once more with drivers Drayson, Cocker and Emanuele Pirro.
Photo Credit: Drayson Racing/Regis Lefebure