The Lowe's Fernandez team are hoping for a reversal of fortune when they return to Long Beach for the third round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series after seeing their strong pace in recent years go unrewarded.
Qualifying has shown Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz to be quick around the Californian street circuit, the pair starting on the front row in 2008. However, so far the pair have a best result of eighth position overall, achieved in 2007 when they ran out of fuel on the last lap whilst on the way to a podium.
Although their LMP2 status means they are unlikely to get on terms with their LMP1 Acura counterparts this weekend, both Fernandez and Diaz are looking forward to the 'world's fastest beach party'.
“This is always such a great event,” said Fernandez. “It would be hard to top the atmosphere around this race; the whole city is all about the Grand Prix. For me, it is like a homecoming because I have been racing here for so many years. It is a race that everyone looks forward to and I love everything about it.
“As for the race itself, strategy and traffic are really the key factors in these short sprint races. The team has given Luis and I perfectly prepared cars at Sebring and St. Petersburg, and I am confident of a strong showing here if we stay out of trouble. This is an important weekend for both Acura and Honda, with the race in their backyard, and we will do our best.”
Having opened up the 2009 season with two LMP2 class victories, Diaz is confident they can make it a trio of wins at Long Beach.
“Race strategy is very important here because you need to make a driver change and the timing can win or lose the race,” added Diaz. “This is a track where you really need to be both patient and aggressive. It is very fast with a lot of passing opportunities and that is what makes it both challenging and interesting.
“The biggest thing is to be mistake-free. I love street course racing because there is so much that comes into play. I have lot of good memories from racing at Long Beach over the years. We haven't had the success here in the ALMS that we wanted and, hopefully, we can change that this weekend.”