NBCSN’s Verizon IndyCar Series analyst Townsend Bell is back behind the wheel at this weekend’ Petit Le Mans, with he, Bill Sweedler and Frankie Montecalvo piloting the Alex Job Racing Audi R8 LMS.
Bell has been a part-time competitor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year in addition to regular duty as an analyst on IndyCar telecasts.
Bell, who won the 2015 GT Daytona class championship with Sweedler, admitted that being a part-time competitor in 2017 has been a challenge, but that he feels the team is well prepared for Saturday’s 10-hour enduro, noting that recent testing at the Road Atlanta circuit has given the team a nice boost of confidence.
“We’ve been hard at work to catch up this season to the other teams that compete full-time and I think we’re much closer now.” Bell said. “The opportunity to test and calmly go through a progression of set-up options at Road Atlanta with the team is really going to help us this weekend. It will be nice to have good baseline on the car off the trailer so we can just tweak on it for the race.”
Team owner Alex Job, whose team has only raced at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Lime Rock Park this year, added that racing on a part-time schedule does put them behind the eight-ball, and that the aforementioned test should prove invaluable this weekend.
“We had the guys and the team at Road Atlanta for a test, which was really money well spent,” Job said. “With the level of competition in the GTD class it is very difficult to cherry pick events and hope for success, especially with a car that is new to everyone. The test will show its value this weekend. Instead of searching for a baseline set-up we will seeking that tenth of a second come practice on Thursday.”
The team’s best finish in their four previous starts in 2017 came at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, where they finished sixth in class.