JONNY COCKER'S ALMS DIARY
"It’s been a crazy time in terms of the schedule since Le Mans for us all at Drayson Racing. It seemed that no time had passed from us taking the chequered flag at Le Mans before we were going into three races in five weeks (Salt Lake City, Lime Rock and Mid Ohio.) "I, the team and our Lola-Judd have been improving throughout the year and I think we really have made a step, especially since the Mid-Ohio race a few weeks ago. As we saw at Mid-Ohio, where we were by far the quickest throughout the weekend and claimed our first pole position, that hard graft has really paid off. You don’t get these things for free, especially in championships like the American Le Mans Series. The Drayson Racing team have all worked really hard with Lola and Judd.
The potential has been apparent to everyone that we are a very quick proposition and at Lime Rock in July we were fast through all the sessions. We led the race and started to pull away before we had a problem later on but at the end of the day that’s racing. It sounds a bit of a cliché to say but it’s the way it goes sometimes. You have good luck one day and the next you don’t.
In terms of confidence within the team, the great thing is that everybody knows now that the Drayson Lola-Judd is the car to beat. We were well ahead in qualifying at Mid Ohio but it didn’t go our way in the race after an incident with a GT car, but as a team we move on and take the positives from the experience. We immediately believe, ‘the next race is ours.’
We are going to one of my favourite tracks next – Road America. I know that our Lola-Judd LMP will be incredible around there. The Lola is genuinely thrilling to drive, it’s so much fun, just superb. Road America is a seriously fast race circuit and it reminds me so much of the run from Mulsanne down to Indianapolis at Le Mans.
I qualified in P2 at Salt Lake and got into the lead on the first lap and was actually passed by John (Field) at the start, but I got him again and from there I was just biding my time. There was no rush and I passed him with a nice little move and pulled away. I think I got a 28 second lead and then the safety car came out, so it was frustrating because all that hard work had gone. Emanuele (Pirro) who was deputising for the injured Paul (Drayson) brought the car home for a solid 2nd place, which was a nice reward for the guys in the team.
At Lime Rock we were fourth on the grid and then I got a great start to go into second place straightaway. I could have been a little bit bolder and pushed for the lead at the start but at the end of the day it’s a 2 hrs 45 race. It took a little bit of patience but I passed Chris (Dyson) pretty quickly and then started to pull away before an electrical issue. That was disappointing but as I say, we get over these things as a team and we get over them quickly.
I think we are now really making waves in the ALMS and people are sitting up and taking notice, which is nice because we all want to make a name for ourselves. Let’s hope we can really follow up our results and pace with a debut win in Wisconsin this weekend and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you after the following race at Mosport at the end of the month."