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Titles Still on the Line for Lowe's Fernandez Racing

Lowe’s Fernandez Racing drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz can breathe a sigh of relief heading into the ultra-challenging Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda6 endurance classic this week. A class win in the last American Le Mans Series race, which was held at Mosport International Raceway three weeks ago, clinched the LMP2 driver championship title with two races remaining. In what can only be described as a dream season, Fernandez and Diaz have driven the Michelin-shod #15 Lowe’s Acura to seven class wins and six pole positions.


Three more titles remain on deck in LMP2 competition heading into this weekend -    team championship honors for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and engine and chassis manufacturer’s titles for Acura. All can became a reality if Fernandez and Diaz make it to the 70 percent race distance mark in the grueling test of stamina.


Despite strong showings in the Sebring endurance race including a class victory this year, the team has not fared well in the 1,000 mile/10-hour Road Atlanta challenge, retiring due to contact the last two years.


Saturday’s race will begin at 11:15 am ET with a field of 30 entries expected. Flag-to-flag coverage will be provided by SPEED and SPEED Latin America starting at 11:00 am ET.


Race Notes:

•Circuit – 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course

•Race length – 1,000 miles or 10 hours

•Driver changes – a driver may not drive more than seven hours total in the race and may not drive more than four hours in any six hour period


Of Note:

•This will be the third career ALMS start for Fernandez and Diaz at Road Atlanta•Diaz has made one prior start at Road Atlanta in Indy Lights competition [2001]

•The pair have yet to finish the Petit Le Mans race, retiring last year with three hours remaining and, in 2007, only reaching the four-hour race mark due to contact

•Fernandez and Diaz clinched the driver championship title at Mosport on August 30 and have posted seven class wins to date this season (Sebring, St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Salt Lake City, Mid-Ohio, Road America and Mosport)

•Lowe’s Fernandez Racing has won two Michelin® GREEN X® Challenge awards to date this season at St. Petersburg and Road America; the award acknowledges competitors that demonstrate the best overall performance and fuel efficiency with the least environmental impact

•In 31 ALMS starts to date, Fernandez and Diaz have claimed six class pole positions, seven class wins and 13 podium finishes


Fernandez on Petit Le Mans: “First of all, it is nice to come here with the drivers championship wrapped up. It would have been heart-breaking to lose this after the season we have had. Obviously, we are not done yet and will be working hard to bring home the team championship and manufacturer’s titles for Acura as well. As for Petit, it is just a great event. The spectator areas are fantastic and drivers love coming here. This race is all about finishing and that has been easier said than done for us the last two years. It is also what makes winning a race like this all the more sweeter.”


Diaz on the challenges this weekend:  “This is another track that I love. It is a very fast track and very challenging. There are a lot of fast corners, tight corners and blind corners, and the race is quite physical. For us, I strongly feel that reliability won’t be an issue. The car has been fantastic all year. The issue will be staying out of trouble and we have had problems with that the last two years and, unfortunately, both times have been while I was driving. It would be very rewarding to finish this race.”


Engineer John Ward on the Petit Le Mans:  “Keeping the car running for 1,000 miles is always a big job for the drivers, crew and engineers. Mechanical failure and crash damage are always possible, and we must be ready to deal with whatever situations arise and return the car to the track if at all possible. The track conditions are always changing, starting the race in daylight and ending at night. We need to have contingency plans to deal with these changes and, hopefully, correctly anticipate them. The track itself is fairly fast and requires an efficient aero setup with medium downforce. This gives us more top speed on the long straight sections while still having efficiently generated downforce.”


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