Laguna Seca post race review

11 June 2012

After lining up 5th on the grid for the 3rd round of 2012 American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a slew of crippling penalties handed down by race officials saw fit to hinder a potentially strong finish for Ryan and the Silicon Tech / Dempsey Racing team.

“I was so disappointed at the way things went for us on Saturday. Although we were not quite there with outright pace in qualifying, by the race we had all managed to improve the balance of the car to a point where we could be real contenders for a win. The first penalty came after I passed Tom (Kimber-Smith) for the lead into turn 1. Race control deemed that I had used a portion of the pit lane exit road during my move. I did get two wheels over the white line, but only after Tom had seen me move left and moved over a little on me, totally within his rights I feel, but I did not set out to use this part of the track. I had to in order to avoid contact. I have watched it again on the race broadcast and think this is pretty apparent. Whether race control had use of this footage I’m not sure, but I think the penalty we incurred was unfair”

The subsequent Stop/Go penalty dropped the STR/Dempsey entry to the rear of the LMPC field after previously climbing to the lead in the first 40 minutes of the race. Ryan’s co-drivers Henri Richard and Duncan Ende then both cycled through the car for their stints, battling through the at times frenetic traffic attempting to regain the deficit.

Inside the final hour Ryan was once again inside the Oreca FLM, tasked with closing out the remainder of the 6 Hour 30 minute race. However, once more a drive through penalty, this time with a 2 minute mandated hold in pit lane was handed down by race control. Confusion regarding a safety car wave by in a previous stint meant that the team would then go a another 2 laps down on the class leaders. A further disappointment for the STR/Dempsey crew

“It was just one of those days I think. I can question these penalties all I want but it changes nothing. Officials are never going to get it right 100% of the time. They have a whole other race to manage so it is to be expected. It is just so disappointing when early in the race you can get into the lead and show that the potential to be in the fight at the end is there, then have it taken away by circumstances out of your control. Henri and Duncan both had great runs in the car trying to pull the time back for us and handed me the car in a position that we could be looking to continue moving forward. Everybody at Dempsey Racing ensured that the car performed impeccably all week and we improved the car every time we left pit lane. As crushed as I am, I just have to chalk it up to experience. I can’t thank my team mates Henri and Duncan, all the support we had from the Silicone Tech Racing partners that were there to cheer us on and the crew at Dempsey Racing for their hard work. I look forward to being part of the team in the future.