Drayson Racing will at the Larry H Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix from the outside of the front row, the team's highest ever start in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
Jonny Cocker qualified the Judd powered Lola Coupe – that he will share with Emanuele Pirro for the race, lapping the 3.05 mile perimeter course of Miller Motorsports Park in 1:34.886. Cocker briefly held provisional pole before Simon Pagenaud clinched pole for the two-hour 45-minute race, Drayson Racing's outside pole start only just falling short of the team's best ever qualifying result when they started on pole for the Asian Le Mans Series races last year – Cocker having qualified the car on that occasion also.
“Great result for the team. This is the strongest qualifying position we’ve had in the American Le Mans Series,” enthuses Cocker. “Congratulations to the Highcroft team for a good effort. It was really quite close to the top-four qualifiers. Exciting for everyone. It is hard to predict what might happen but we are quietly confident that we will have a good overall result.”
“All the time the Drayson team has spent learning and improving is starting to show. I can’t wait for the race tomorrow. It is going to be interesting as the P2 cars can get tyre temperatures faster but we have a top-speed advantage. We will try and get a jump from the start but it will be difficult. Everyone will be trying to do the same.”
The result comes with regular driver and co-owner Paul Drayson watching his car compete from the metaphorical (and probably actual) pitwall for the first time.
“We were really gunning for pole position but we’ll take outside front row this time. As a team we really wanted to get this pole position for Paul,” describes team manager Dale White. “We aren’t through yet. We have been working very hard to learn the car and get to the point where we are a legitimate contender for poles and wins. We still have a little to gain but we are right there on the edge. The car is really good in race setup and Jonny and Emanuele are very happy with it.”
Like the 20-minute qualifying session the race is expected to see high temperatures for the drivers, car and their Michelin tyres to battle against, though Drayson himself doesn't expect the expected 30C+ to be to high for the team.