Shawn recently had a unique opportunity to see some of the inner workings of an American Le Mans Series team when he was invited to see and tour Green Hornet Racing’s shop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I will let Shawn take it away, on an unforgettable day!
The shop itself is housed in an unassuming industrial building off Route 1 in Portsmouth. When I first walked in my first impression was that the place was like a clean room, even though a couple of crew members assured me the shop was actually quite messy. You see, I visited during a race week. The ALMS Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park was only days away, so all the necessities of the upcoming race weekend were spread out, ready to be loaded onto the transporter and support trailer. Racks of tires, fuel cans, and all the equipment needed to operate a modern pit stall were all waiting on standby to be loaded up and trucked down to Connecticut. Couple this with the news that the Hornets were going to Lime Rock as a two car effort for the first time and you can see how a few things might have been a little out of place.
The fact that things were out of place and a little messy did nothing to dampen my spirits. In fact, the fact that it was race week only added to the atmosphere. Knowing that by the end of the day all the stuff would be loaded up so it could be transported to Lime Rock for the upcoming race weekend made it all seem somehow fitting and in its place.
I was mostly given free reign of the facility. They let me get up close and personal with their gorgeous cars painted in a distinct emerald green and black livery. All the crew members who were there that day were extremely hospitable and ready for a chat. One of them even took me aboard the transporter and showed me around in there as well.
Green Hornet Racing runs in the American Le Mans Series GT Challenge category, a division created exclusively for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, in which all cars competing are matched with similar cars and tires. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is a purpose built race car based on the 911 GT3 RS street car. It’s 3.8 liter, horizontally opposed 6-cylinder power plant produces 450 bhp while being limited to 8500 RPM.
In 2011 Green Hornet Racing burst onto the ALMS scene. In association with Black Swan Racing, the team ran 5 races and eventually scored their first podium, a third place finish at Laguna Seca. For 2012, however, Green Hornet Racing is a fully independent team running the full ALMS schedule, and they have gotten off to a promising start. At the 12 Hours of Sebring Damian Faulkner, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and team owner, Peter LeSaffre guided the #34 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to a third place finish. LeSaffre and Faulkner followed that success with even more success, a class win at the Long Beach Grand Prix, the first taste of victory for Green Hornet Racing. The Hornets ran into some trouble at Laguna Seca when Faulkner had a tire go down spectacularly on the front straight. The tire delaminated very quickly causing a bit of body damage and a severed brake line. This unfortunate incident required the team to push the car behind the wall for repairs. When they finally rejoined the action they found themselves seven laps down and essentially out of contention for the podium. However, the Green Hornet Porsche showed fantastic pace, even setting the fast lap of the race.
Now, after the first three rounds, the Hornets find themselves in the midst of a couple of championship fights heading to round 4 at Lime Rock Park. For the driver’s championship, Faulkner and LeSaffre are a single point behind Alex Job Racing’s Cooper MacNeil; and in the team standing Green Hornet Racing trails Alex Job Racing by only 5 points. This close battle in the championship is what is driving the addition of the second car, a sort of “strength in numbers” approach. At Lime Rock LeSaffre and Faulkner will take their usual duties behind the wheel of the #34 Porsche. While in the sister #33, Green Hornet has turned to veteran sports car driver Anthony Lazzaro to co-drive with LeSaffre, who will do double duty driving both cars.
When I asked the question, “What are your expectations for Lime Rock?” I got the same answer from everyone I asked. They all simply stated: “1-2.”
The American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park is Saturday, July 7, starting at 3:05pm. Tickets are still available and you can purchase them online to make sure you don’t miss out on the action and support Green Hornet Racing.
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American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix – Lime Rock Park