The massive crash that halted the start of last Saturday's American Le Mans Series race at Baltimore caused significant damage to a number of cars – some beyond immediate repair. For the Falken Tire Porsche ALMS GT team, it has necessitated the switch to a three-year-old spare chassis starting at the September 21 round at Circuit of The Americas.
Falken driver Wolf Henzler was one of many drivers sucked into the multi-car pileup, and with no room to avoid the carnage, the German hammered the back of fellow Porsche team CORE autosport, shortening the front of his No. 17 entry by many inches. (BELOW, screen-grab image from ESPN).
“In reality, the car will never be the same as it was before the crash,” Walker told RACER
. “The chassis is junked, and getting a new chassis in time for [Circuit of The Americas] was going to push things far too close, so we've opted to take out the 2010 car and get it ready to use.”
Figuring out the exact configuration that will pass IMSA's tech requirement is the immediate job at hand for the Indianapolis-based team.
“Given that it hasn't run in anger for quite some time, that's our best option to get to the next race and it will definitely involve a lot of updating,” added Walker. “We can go and try to apply some of the 2013 aero parts and maybe get the current restrictor size, or just take the car to Austin as-is with the narrower body, smaller splitter and other items that were per the regulations when it last raced. We're talking with IMSA right now to determine which option will work best for them.”
Provided he receives permission, Walker's goal is to adapt as much of the 2013 bodywork to the 2010-spec 997 RSR, which would then complete the rest of the season in its updated form.
“We're looking for approval to use the 2013 aero parts because we think that would give us the most competitive car – give us the most downforce – and run with lighter weight, but we're still going to be severely handicapped,” he continued.
“It's a situation that's far from perfect, but with all that's involved with getting a new chassis in from Germany, prepping it, converting everything over from the damaged car that's still good, all of the other new items that would be needed to be prepared, and the rest of what it takes, we felt going this route would best ensure we're on the grid and giving it a go for the rest of the season. There's only three races left, and having to buy a new chassis to use for one month of racing just didn't make sense.”
RACER also confirmed with the CORE team that its Porsche chassis was destroyed in the impact, but it will go the replacement route for COTA.