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Baltimore: Working Toward The Unknown

How to construct a strategy for a new venue

The new Baltimore circuit will present unique challenges to ALMS teams and drivers. Photo by LAT PhotographicThe inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix may be the most challenging race in 2011 for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón for a single reason – the unknown. Only days before the first on-track session at the new 2.1-mile street circuit along the city’s Inner Harbor, team engineers continued to do their homework, searching for any information that might prove beneficial in the lead-up.

“As the engineer of the car, you have to pick up any piece of information you can find about that circuit to try to be ahead of the game,” Dyson Racing’s Peter Weston said. “I personally used Google Earth to do a point-to-point study of the track. I did straight length distances between the corners to ascertain what gear we will be in when we arrive at a certain corner.”

“We’ll do what we do for any street course track like Houston or Long Beach,” added Craig Watkins from Flying Lizard Motorsports. “We’ll do a study of the radii of the turns, the lengths of the straights to find what the top speed of the car is likely to be.”

The first practice session for ALMS cars is scheduled for 9:25 a.m. Friday. At that point we’ll all see who did their homework and guessed right.

“It’ll be equal for all of us,” said CORE autosport driver and team owner Jon Bennett. “It’ll be a matter of seeing which team can figure out the puzzle first.”

The Baltimore Grand Prix is the seventh round of this year’s American Le Mans Series championship. It is set for 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 3. The race will air on ABC, Sunday, Sept. 4 at 4 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT) and be shown live in the U.S. on ESPN3 or americanlemans.com outside the U.S. Live coverage also will be available on Rogers Sportsnet One in Canada and MotorsTV in Europe. Ticket and schedule information is available on the ALMS schedule page.

Click the video link below to hear ALMS team and driver thoughts on the new Baltimore circuit.

http://youtu.be/G36eawyPKS8

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