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American Le Mans race team calls Catawba Island home for the summer

AnthonyMoujaes • Jul 19, 2011 at 12:30 AM

From his seat during an American Le Mans Series race, Dave Caracci has his eyes on a pair of computer screens that feed him real-time data.

He uses it to plan pit stops, fuel stops and driver changes -- all key parts to road racing.

So when the Le Mans Series decided to base most of it's summer schedule in the nothern United States and Canada, Caracci, the team's logistics engineer, and the Performance Tech team found a way to make the Catawba Island Club its temporary home.

The team, based in Hollywood, Fla., is using the CIC as a temporary race shop in the summer. With races throughout the United States and one this weekend in Ontario, Canada, Performance Tech can save almost 3,000 thousands of miles of travel on race weekends by using the CIC as a makeshift base in the summer.

"Not only does it cost you a fortune, with the semis... We also lose an extra day going each way. So CIC chairman and owner Jim Stouffer is a vintage sports car racer. He knows me, and I'm the guy who figures logistics," Caracci said.

With 200,000 square feet of storage usually used for boats in the winter, the CIC had plenty of open space. It opted to join on as a Performance Tech sponser, and the team will use the facility as it's base for 10 weeks.

American LeMans is road-course racing with endurance and sprint races, and was modeled off the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, which is -- you guessed it -- a 24-hour race. The American Le Mans has races that vary from two hours to 12 hours.

The team, established 25 years ago, has two types of cars at the CIC; The Le Mans Prototype, which was built in France, was designed for endurance races and has a 190 mph max speed. There are five Cooper Tire Prototype Lights, built for 30 minutes of races with a 145 mph maximum.

There are only four team members staying at the CIC during the week, Caracci said, but on race days the team has up to 18 people with the addition of pit and tire crews, and drivers.

The team has a race at Mid-Ohio in Lexington on August 6, the closest race it will compete in during its stay on the lake.

Performance Tech is also using area resources for additional help. The team brought in an engineering student from Terra Community College in Fremont to help clean and maintain the cars, Caracci said, and the team will use automotive students in the future. Terra has also planned a field trip to the CIC to visit the temporary shop.

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