Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing debuted its much-anticipated new Crawford bodywork during this morning's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series practice session at Watkins Glen International.

Bill Auberlen was the first driver to put the newly modified #23 Porsche-powered Crawford to the test and, in the first 15 minutes of the practice session, it was clear that everyone was very pleased with the new-look bodywork.

"That was one of the nicest roll-outs I've had in a long time - everything worked," Auberlen said of his initial impression, "The team did an awesome job of putting everything together, like we knew they would.

"I was definitely surprised with how balanced the car was right off the bat and that made me really happy. It was almost spot on to what [Crawford] said it was going to be in terms of balance. We are in a very low downforce configuration right now. It feels to be the equivalent of our highest downforce from what we had before, which makes everyone smile because we can improve the downforce. Throughout the weekend, you will see the downforce get packed on more and more."

"My initial impression of the car is that I am incredibly encouraged with what we have," team owner Alex Job added, "This [practice session] is really our roll-out. The car came directly from Crawford to The Glen. We did not have any time to do a shakedown, so, this is our shakedown. The car is performing quite well. Obviously, we've got to tweak it a bit. But, I am incredibly encouraged. I love everything I've seen so far."

The team has been waiting to receive the updated bodywork in an effort to improve its performance this season, and marque owner Max Crawford believes that the upgrade answers many questions.

"Obviously, I am very pleased," Crawford, owner of Crawford Composites, said. "I was a bit concerned with the aero balance, which was my biggest issue because of the Porsche engine. We tested this in the tunnel, but it was with a Pontiac, so I was very worried about the aero balance, but I am very pleased.

"I am pleased that everyone thinks it's a pretty car, which is important. We're in a series where we don't want to make ugly cars. It is actually quite different than anything out here. In terms of general performance, it was pretty quick right out of the box.

"The inspiration [for the car's design] came from taking all of the issues we had with the old car and designed those out of the new one. So, by that stage, you end up with a general shape. Then, we went to the tunnel and did a lot of testing. We came back to the general idea of what we were trying to achieve. We tried to do a whole lot of different things to the car and this is what we ended up with."

 

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