EVENT: Round 9 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, 2 hours & 40 minutes
DRIVER LINE-UP: Marc Goossens (Belgium), Renger van der Zande (Netherlands)
HURRICANE IRMA: Following Hurricane Irma, VISIT FLORIDA Racing’s Daytona Beach-based race shop sustained flooding with two feet of water in the fab shop. The team spent several days cleaning up the damage before turning its focus to race prep. The team thanks everyone for their messages of support and encourages everyone to support the areas hit hardest by the Hurricane.
TROY’S THOUGHTS: “I don’t think anybody was prepared for the amount of water this area ended up getting. I think it was that the winds blew the water out of the ocean and blew it up a lot higher than anyone was predicting. It is going to be awhile before we get through everything. Right now, we are just getting through the essentials.
“All my crew guys stayed here in town. We thought about going to North Carolina – Riley invited us to come up there, but we had everything shipping here to the shop so we stayed. Plus, I didn’t want my guys to be away from their families for weeks at a time – especially during the storm. Everyone faired pretty well at home – some of them have trees down but nothing major. Some still don’t have power. That’s the biggest thing right now. Once we get power back, we’ll be good to go. We won’t have power here at the shop for likely a week.”
TEAM HISTORY AT MAZDA RACEWAY: In eight starts at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Daytona Prototype competition – VISIT FLORIDA Racing has a strong record of success. In fact, over the previous five years, the team has come away with two pole positions and three podiums – two of which were victories in 2012 & 2015. The team finished runner-up in last year’s edition of the race with Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel.
GOOSSENS & VAN DER ZANDE AT MAZDA RACEWAY: Both Marc Goossens and Renger van der Zande have stood on the podium at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Each has a best finish of second at the track. Goossens was second in 2008 (Bob Stallings) and 2016 (VISIT FLORIDA Racing) while van der Zande was second last year driving for Starworks Motorsport.
CAR SPECS: Ligier JS P2
Chassis – Monocoque Carbon / HP Composites
Safety equipment – Crushable Nose box, 6 point safety harness, Onboard fire suppression system, Air conditioned cockpit for driver safety and comfort.
Transmission – Hewland six-speed sequential, paddle operated rear wheel drive.
Steering – KYB electrical power-assisted steering
IMSA Weight – 930 kg
MICHAEL HARVEY: Prior to the 2017 season, VISIT FLORIDA Racing added Michael Harvey to the team as Director of Race Operations. Harvey, who has a long and varied range of experience in the sport, most recently managed the competition efforts for Fall-Line Motorsports’ multiple-championship winning programs in IMSA and SCCA competition as well as serving as a Series Director for the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA series.
MARC GOOSSENS: “I love Laguna. We had a strong second place finish there last year so hopefully we can run up front again this year. After a good start at Road America with the new car, we went testing and we believe we learned a couple of things with regards to set up. So hopefully we can qualify well because overtaking is pretty tough due to the nature of the track and its elevation changes.”
RENGER VAN DER ZANDE: “Laguna Seca is a very nice track that we go to. It’s actually the first track I ever raced on in the United States and I’ve stayed racing here for the last four years! You can feel the motorsport history there, obviously with the Corkscrew being so famous – it is very special. I have always enjoyed the track it is one of the tracks I know where I am quick. I think it is a special track where you need to know how to drive it – it changes quite a bit. There can be some sand on the track and some areas have more grip than others. All together you really have to take a deep breath every lap you go for a big push. It makes it very challenging. It is very good to go there with the Ligier. I know the whole team has been working hard having gone through the Hurricane so I hope it is a breath of fresh air for the team to get back to the racetrack and focus on racing. It is great to be back on track because it has been quite a while since we last raced at Road America.”
Source. Sunday Group