Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs Earn Row 2 Starting Spots at COTA
AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 17 — When the grid forms for the start of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Circuit of the Americas Friday at 1:40 p.m. Eastern time, Row 2 will be filled with Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs.
Nic Hammann of Elkhart Lake, Wis., qualified third in the Lebanon, Ohio-based team's Nissan GT Academy #41 Thursday afternoon while Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va., qualified fourth in the team's #14.
Hammann's qualifying time was a 2:23.742 (85.153 miles per hour) on his fourth and final lap in the 15-minute qualifying session. Jaeger's was a 2:24.144 (84.915 mph) on lap two of three. The top four cars all set fast laps on lap two; Hammann was the only one of the quartet to better that later in the session when his last lap was 0.055 faster.
Hammann's qualifying time was only 0.510 off the time of the pole-winning Ford Shelby GT350R-C, and only 0.299 behind second, which went to a Porsche. Only 0.402 separated the two Nissans.
Hammann and his co-driver, Nick McMillen of Salem, Ore., are both making their first starts at this 3.4-mile, 20-turn road course, and they've been quick studies thanks to the computer simulator training required of the Nissan GT Academy and the help of their teammates, Jaeger and his co-driver, B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati. Both Hammann and McMillen are GT Academy champions.
Jaeger and Zacharias's #14 was seventh in the first practice session Wednesday afternoon with a 2:25.943 on lap 12 of 12, while Hammann and McMillen's #41 was 14th in that session with a 2:28.800 on lap 13 of 16.
Both Nissans were in the top five in the second practice session Thursday morning. The #14 was third with a 2:23.554 on lap seven of 12, and the #41 was fifth with a 2:23.637 on lap two of 17.
Live video streaming and live timing and scoring of Friday's race will be available on imsa.com. The race will also air on Fox Sports 1 on a tape-delayed basis at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time on Sept. 27.
Additional information is available on DoranRacing.com and the team's Facebook page.
Driver quotes follow:
Nic Hammann: "Qualifying third in the Doran Racing GT Academy Nissan 370Z was a testament to all the hard work and effort everyone at Doran Racing put forth in preparing the #41 for this weekend.
"Coming to COTA for the first time has been a challenge but a rewarding one, qualifying third. Brad and B.J. have been super helpful with onboard video, session debrief, and on-track practice, and I cannot thank those two enough. This help has accelerated my learning process immensely.
"Being in Texas is great! I really am enjoying talking with all the Nissan enthusiasts who stop by the trailer, and I'm hoping that Nick and I can get all Nissan fans watching a solid result in the race tomorrow.
"Tomorrow's goal is to hand the car off to Nick in the top five without a scratch on it, and I believe he can challenge for a podium finish!
"My parents, uncle, and a family friend have traveled down to watch the race from Wisconsin, and I'm hoping to put on a great show for them similar to my home race at Road America."
Brad Jaeger: "We locked out Row 2! It'll be an all-Nissan 370Z Row 2.
"It's pretty warm. I think we'll have a pretty competitive car in tomorrow's race. I didn't have my tires up to temp on my first flying lap, but on the second one I had a decent lap that put us fourth, so I think I had an OK qualifying session. Nic Hammann did an amazing job to qualify third. Doran Racing and Nissan put out a great effort. All in all, I think we'll be pretty racy tomorrow.
"It's supposed to be even hotter tomorrow. It might be uncomfortable, but I think the heat might help us to manage our tires better than some of the other competitors. We'll just have to see how that plays out."
For more information about the series, see imsa.com.
For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com.
The team also has a Facebook page.