Ryan Lewis will rejoin the American Le Mans Series at next weekend's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta as the Intersport team returns to two-car full strength for one of the premier sportscar races in the United States.
The 1000-mile race will see Lewis, who recently contested the Silverstone 1000km, race a new car with a new team-mate, after regular co-driver John Faulkner decided that he was not fit enough to race after the accident that destroyed the previous Intersport Lola the pair shared.
In place of the American, Lewis will be joined by friend, and fellow Briton, Luke Hines, who has been racing regularly in the British GT and FIA GT Championships with the CR Scuderia team.
“It's going to be good catching up with all the Intersport guys after a long break,” Lewis said, “Everyone seems really pumped about the new car, which is a more updated Lola than the one we had before. It was campaigned in the Le Mans Series last year by Charouz and we have all the tricky aero updates and a new engine supplier in Judd.
"The Creation I raced at Silverstone had a similar V10 engine from AIM, so I've had a bit of experience in the difference between the turbo and naturally-aspirated engines. Overall I think it will be a little quicker package than the previous car.
“Driving with Creation at Silverstone gave me the opportunity to learn some more about sportscar racing. The team was fighting for the 'petrol' championship and pushing for a big finish for the end of the year. It was certainly a more intense environment than I have been used to in the ALMS, but that is the difference between racing Stateside and racing in Europe. The American atmosphere is much more relaxed.
"It's easy to lose focus sometimes when you know that, regardless of your efforts, you will struggle to get within a few seconds of the car on pole, so it was cool jumping in with Creation and having the opportunity to mix it up with the much larger prototype grid. Me and the Intersport guys still go out there 100 per cent every weekend and try to shrink that gap and now, with the newer car, I think Petit is going to be our best run yet.”
The second of the ALMS' 'blue riband' events brings in the best teams that Europe has to offer, and Lewis will not only find himself up against Creation, but also the works Audi and Peugeot teams.
“Things will certainly be interesting at Petit with the influx of cars from Europe,” he said, “I saw first hand the pace of the Peugeot at Silverstone and, after losing out on the LMS title to Audi again, they will be out for victory.
"It's going to be good with more prototypes out there, giving us some more cars to fight with. We always struggle with qualifying pace, but our race pace in comparison to the rest of the grid is always good, sometimes giving us the opportunity to fight with the P2 guys. With it being a ten-hour race as long as we can stay out of trouble and be quick when we need to be, I think we've got the opportunity to turn some heads at Petit.”