JONNY COCKER'S LONG BEACH DIARY
Drayson Racing Lola-Judd driver Jonny Cocker continues his updates on lola-group.com telling us about his experiences in this seasons American Le Mans Series. Jonny updates us on his Long Beach weekend and having an overdue stay in California.
“I should be writing this diary from a fairly chilly UK but due to the angry volcano in Iceland I am still here in California with some of the Drayson team and also Dan Cox from Lola, who is working with the team this season.
I suppose that there are worse places to be stuck but home is still home and it looks like we won’t be back in the UK until the middle of next week! It’s a bit annoying as you always want to maximise your time effectively. We even looked at doing a test at Fontana but it couldn’t quite be done so we will have to look forward now to the 6-hour race at Laguna Seca in a month’s time.
It was a tough weekend at Long Beach and the result of 6th place in LMP didn’t reflect at all the pace of the Drayson Lola-Judd. We went a little under the radar in terms of what we achieved because we managed to get the second fastest race lap and if it were not for a long pit stop, we would have been right up at the front of the field I’m sure.
Qualifying was pretty much a non-starter for us as we had an electronic problem that halted us after a lap. So we started and Paul (Drayson) did a really excellent job. The circumstances were not easy at the start of the race as there was a lot of traffic. He did exactly what the team asked of him and had a longer stint than planned due to the full course yellows. He handed the car over to me in 4th place, which was a good position for us to be in after the qualifying issues.
When he came into the pit, there was a real traffic jam as the space between the pits was very cramped and we had to do a three-point-turn to get into our pit! We couldn’t re-fuel as the filler line wouldn’t reach the car and we ended up off the lead lap, which was very frustrating.
The Drayson Racing Lola-Judd felt really good around the tight Long Beach streets and I managed to get into a great rhythm straight from the off. We had great tyre wear and ran the whole race without stopping. I think we were the only ones to do this.
As I mentioned, we managed to get the second fastest race lap which was nice and the recovery drive was going to plan until a GT2 car turned into me at Turn 9. The rear wing touched the tyre-wall and we had to make another pit stop.
At the end of the day we were quick and we got some points which could be very crucial come the end of the year. The team were once again fantastic and we are getting more and more confident and comfortable with the Lola-Judd.
Now we look to Laguna Seca which will really suit us. It will be the first track where we have prior knowledge and data from, so I am very much looking forward to it. Then after Laguna we have a huge logistical job to do to get to the Lola factory and then to Le Mans for the 24 Hours. So, a few more days in California will really be the calm before the storm!”