|Race:||Long Beach Grand Prix|
San Diego, CA --- Autocon Motorsports today announced a mid-season change of chassis/engine combination to the Creation CA06H/Judd, which it plans to debut at the Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park, May 17-19.
"Our program has made great strides in the last year and a half, and this is one more step in that process," said team owner and co-driver Mike Lewis. "The Creation/Judd package is a proven, excellent platform capable of competing more evenly among the much enhanced group of prototypes assembled in the American Le Mans Series for 2007.”
Those watching the Series in 2007 have seen the theoretically slower cars in the P2 class regularly on pace or even outpacing the P1 class entries, including the Audi R10 that despite not capturing the pole in the most recent race, remains unbeaten in competition.
“The Lola was a necessary building block for us and identified a couple of areas that we needed to address from a technology and engineering standpoint,” added Lewis, referring to the beautiful, but aging Lola EX257 that the team campaigned in 2006 and into 2007. “The Creation partnership fills those technical gaps, and will make us faster and more competitive throughout each race weekend.”
The Creation has seen some of its best efforts in U.S.-based events, including in its only two stateside appearances in 2006, a pole at Petit Le Mans and a podium finish at the season-ending Monterey Sports Car Championship last October. Dunlop will continue as the team’s tire of choice.
The team will take delivery of the car approximately two weeks prior to the Utah Grand Prix, where fans will see the new girl run in its current pearl white coat prior to converting to the official team livery by Round Six at Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Plans to test the JEANRichard-sponsored entry at Miller prior are underway.
“Mike [Jankowski] and I are delighted that Autocon has shown so much faith in us and our Creation CA06/H, and we can’t wait to see them racing it in the American Le Mans Series,” said Ian Bickerton. “Michael, Chris and Bryan have shown huge loyalty to the top prototype class of the series, especially as they are up against one of the most successful teams in the history of the ALMS, and we’re confident that the Creation chassis will help them to extend their considerable tally of series podiums. That they will also be racing another Creation chassis makes us very proud indeed.”
The addition of the Autocon Creation will put two Creations into the regular race fray, since Very Berry Exoctics-sponsored Intersport Racing also debuted the same chassis/engine combination at the 12 Hours of Sebring, but on Kumho tires. "It’s going to make for some interesting competition and comparisons between Autocon and Intersport. Our teams are quite friendly, although we’ve never really had an apples-to-apples platform to compete on. I think both teams are really going to enjoy the camaraderie and competition that comes from running parallel programs,” said driver Chris McMurry.
Add driver Bryan Willman, "While the Lola/EX257 is one of the most storied cars in modern prototype sportscar racing, it is also the oldest. It is simply time to move forward both for competitive and rules reasons. The Creation is clearly one of the most amazing modern prototypes, and when an opportunity arose to add it to our effort, we took it."
The Creation in its current configuration meets Series rules specifications through 2008, and an update kit the team plans to acquire (which includes a new tub, front crash box and various new body work) should make the car legal in the Series, in the Le Mans Series in Europe, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans through 2010. The team hopes to contest the French 24 hour classic at some point with the Creation.
"We are very pleased to be working with such a high caliber team as Autocon on their 2007 ALMS program. The Creation/Judd package is fast and well proven and Autocon will benefit from the class-leading power, fuel consumption and reliability that our V10 engine has become famous for."
Autocon will have a busy schedule as it runs its beloved Lola at the Grand Prix of Long Beach next weekend, and the Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston the following weekend. "We have every intention of being competitive even before the change to the Creation." according to Lewis. "We will be doing double duty for a while as we prepare for the change. Our guys are ready for the challenges and the Creation staff will be of invaluable assistance during the transition."
"I want to also recognize the contributions that have been made by Lola and AER over the past year and a half. They gave us excellent products and enabled a small privateer team lead races and gain podiums in the most competitive sportscar series on the planet,” concluded Lewis.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Grand Prix of Long Beach. The race will start at 4 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 14. SPEED will provide same-day broadcast coverage from 8 to 10:30 p.m. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.