Doran Racing Hopes for Strong Finish to Season
With Its Nissan 370Zs Friday at Road Atlanta
LEBANON, Ohio, Sept. 27 — After nine races from coast to coast, Doran Racing heads to the tenth and final race of 2015 on Friday, Oct. 2 at Road Atlanta in an even stronger position than it was in IMSA's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series last year. The team finished fifth in the point standings last season, but if things go well in Braselton, Ga., on Friday the Lebanon, Ohio-based team and its drivers could finish 2015 in fourth, third or even second position in the championship with their Nissan 370Zs.
Drivers Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va., and B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati have one second and four third-place finishes with the #14 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z, and they're currently in third place in the driver point standings with 240 points. A total of 35 points will be awarded at Road Atlanta, and mathematically they could end up anywhere between second and sixth place in the final point standings. The two drivers who are in second place have 258 points, and the four drivers tied for fourth place have 237 points, so it's all very close.
Nissan GT Academy champions Nic Hammann of Elkhart Lake, Wis., and Steven Doherty of Plainfield, Ill., will drive the #14's sister car, the Doran Racing Nissan GT Academy #41 Nissan 370Z. Although that entry isn't running for the championship it has also been strong throughout the season. Its best finishes are two fourths, one of which occurred at the most recent race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on Sept. 18, where the #14 posted its fifth podium finish of the season.
With the #14 achieving second- and third-place finishes this year, its drivers are hungry for an overall victory. With two fourths, the drivers of the #41 want a podium finish.
The season finale is important for the 2015 championship, but it's also important as the teams prepare for 2016. The biggest race of the season is always the season opener at Daytona in January, and it's actually the next race on the schedule in a short off-season.
Last year at Road Atlanta the #14 ran in fifth for a good portion of the race until a problem with its alternator and in incident with a Mustang caused it to not finish. All concerned want to keep their mount in good shape as well as in contention for the late stages of Friday's season finale, which is slated to begin at 12:15 p.m. Eastern time. It's a timed event of two hours and 30 minutes of competition on the challenging, 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course.
The first practice session is at 2:35 p.m. Wednesday, and the second practice session is at 10:05 a.m. on Thursday. The Grand Sport class qualifies at 5:15 p.m. later that day.
Live streaming of the race and live timing and scoring are slated for imsa.com. The race will also be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday, Oct. 18.
Additional information is available on DoranRacing.com and the team's Facebook page.
Driver pre-race quotes follow:
Brad Jaeger: "The big thing for us at Road Atlanta is going to be consistency. We have to have the same mindset as we've had throughout the season. We need to keep our heads down, keep the car clean, and work our way to a podium finish, and hopefully get that win that has been so elusive.
"I've driven three different types of race cars at Road Atlanta — Sports 2000, Star Mazda and the Nissan — and I do really enjoy the track. Turn 1 is unique; it's a high-speed, high-load turn, but it's off camber. The last turn is also unique. With the esses in the back and the long backstretch it's just a very unique track; there isn't any other track like it."
B.J. Zacharias: "I'm really looking forward to Road Atlanta!
"The 14 car will be looking to building on its success and end the season on a high note. One thing has eluded us all season, and that is a win.
"We have proven at almost every event that we are a threat, and Road Atlanta will be no different.
"Last year we had some electrical issues, and we feel like this track owes us one.
"I love the circuit and I believe it suits the Nissan well in all phases.
"Brad and I are focused on finishing either second or third in the championship, and for that to happen we just need to put our heads down and do our jobs.
"Brad has had a great year, especially in the last couple races, between his qualifying and opening stints. He drives very smart, and quickly.
"All in all it's been a very strong season for the 14 car, and much of the credit goes to the team assembled around us. Kevin and the crew have given us a chance to show what the Z can do every race weekend, and we're looking forward to the opportunity once again."
Nic Hammann: "After a solid fourth place finish at Circuit of the Americas, I am so excited to get back in the Doran Racing GT Academy Nissan 370Z. We were so close to a podium finish last time out, and I hope that we can end the season strong with both Nissans on the podium! I have never raced at Road Atlanta before, but I have visited the circuit two years ago as a spectator.
"I have practiced the circuit and watched the in-car videos to train, and I understand how important a strong run through the esses will be, as well as a good exit out of Turn 7 leading onto the backstraight. I cannot wait to take Turn 12 for the first time and experience the elevation drop that I just cannot experience on a simulator! I look forward to driving the circuit, and I believe the Nissan will fit the track nicely. Hopefully like Circuit of the Americas we will have long green-flag runs to showcase the long-run speed in the Doran Racing Nissan.
"I will be sharing my driving duties with the 2012 GT Academy winner, Steve Doherty, and I look forward to working together and learning from him. Like I said before, since this will be my first time at Road Atlanta, I will be leaning a lot on Brad and B.J. for valuable information about the car and the track.
"I know Kevin and the team will have a great setup in the car for Road Atlanta, so it will come down to me adapting as quickly as possible to the circuit.
"My dad and uncle are traveling down for the race and I hope that Steve and I can get a great result for them! I believe if I can hand the car over to Steve clean and in the top five, he will be able to challenge hard for a podium. We were so close the last time together at Road America. I know this time out we can cross the finish line third or better!
"I look forward to talking and sharing stories with all the Nissan enthusiasts and fans at the track, and I hope that we can make them all proud come race day!
"I have enjoyed all my races with Doran Racing since my start at Lime Rock, and I hope that we can end the season on the podium, showcasing all the team's effort and hard work!"
Steven Doherty: "It's the last race of the year! I'm very happy to be joining the Doran team again for the final round of 2015. The cars have been spectacular this year, especially the last few rounds! Atlanta is a great track; it has a great mix of high- and low-speed turns. It's a very challenging track, especially the final corner!
"The 14 guys have been doing a great job. I think the focus for this race will be to help them get the best finish possible and come out with maximum points. Obviously the team is long overdue for a win so that will be the goal as always, but we know the focus will be on giving the 14 the best shot at the championship.
"Our GT Academy car is also long overdue for a podium! So if we can't get that win then we will be aiming for our best finish of the year and to be on the podium!"
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.