James French Petit Le Mans Race Recap

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James French came into the Petit Le Mans weekend focused on a strong result as he and his team has proven capable of in the #38 Dash Neighborhoods/Phillips 66 Prototype Challenge effort of Performance Tech Motorsports already this year.  Having reached the podium in two of the previous four rounds in which French has been with the team, drivers James French, David Ostella and Jerome Mee were confident the ingredients were there for more of the same at Road Atlanta this past weekend.

With the team missing the practice just prior to qualifying due to some red flags due to heavy rain, the team opted not to risk the car in wet conditions when they knew the race would be run in the dry the following day.  This cost the trio of drivers another hour to get better acclimated to the circuit and traffic of such a rigorous event.  In qualifying driver David Ostella would have the car in the ninth position for the start of the grueling 10-hour endurance event.

Ostella would start the race, and have the car up to fourth position in class before a compressor wire broke sending the car to the paddock for repairs.  French would enter the car and run his entire stint trouble free, albeit some 19-laps adrift of the class leaders.  Next up would be Jerome Mee, who would be new to the TUDOR Series for the event, although he’s tested with the team successfully prior to the race weekend and showed the ability to compete at a high level.

The teams’ effort would come to a halt when Mee was passing a GTLM car on the outside leading up to Turn 12, which would push him wide for the turn.  This is a turn that has caught out even the best in the sport over the years, and once Mee got into the dirt just off track to the outside, he was along for the ride, which sent him back across the racing surface just missing oncoming traffic and into the inside wall on the front straight.  Mee would be o.k., and continue around the track to bring the car into pit lane, but the damage to the car was too severe to continue, thus ending their seasons five hours earlier then all had hoped.

For French, his personal goals going into the season were met, and some even exceeded.  Now he focuses on his college coursework and his season ahead in 2015.

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October 7, 2014

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