Orbit Racing will be close to home for the next American Le Mans Series race but, having logged thousands of miles across North America - and across the Atlantic - this season, the 80 miles it covers from its Florida base in Jupiter to Miami won't necessarily mean racing is any easier.

After the logistical nightmare of transporting the team, race car and 5000 pounds of equipment to Europe for the prestigious 24 Heures du Mans - where Orbit Racing savoured a second-place GT finish - team owner Rodger Hawley acknowledged that preparation for a home race is easier. But he said the big attraction of this weekend's event is the city of Miami itself.

"Miami could easily become the biggest race on our calendar," he said, "People associate it with Monaco and I think that association is a lot closer than people realise.

"Miami has a unique mentality - it's a South American, living, enjoying community. It's a community that embraces events - they've got basketball, football, hockey and every other event. It's a community that likes to go out and do things."

The new configuration 1.22mile street circuit incorporates a new section and longer front straight than previously - which should prove great for speed, if a little tough on brakes. To combat the rigours of street racing, the Orbit Racing Porsches - the #42 machine of Peter Baron and Marc Lieb, and the #43 of father-son team Joe and Jay Policastro - will sport new brake rotors similar to those used on the bigger prototype race cars.

"The straight is longer, so it's going to be even harder on brakes than it was last year," team technical director Tim Munday explained, "We will fit extra brake cooling ducts into the car and we're running new prototype-style front rotors. They're better for cooling and long life of the part itself."

The Policastros will drive the Miami street circuit for the first time this week, but they'll take advantage of the team's previous experience there.

"We are going to get there early so we can walk the track a few times," father Joe said, "The compressed schedule does not give us a lot of time to find the 'sweet spots' of the track, so we need to use every second of track time to get familiar with the course. I am sure Rodger and the crew will have the car set up to the max based on last year's experience, but we will be doing a lot of note-comparing with our other team drivers."

 

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