Following is the latest racing report from Phil Reilly at JL Racing.
Engine development speeds up.
Engine development continued to show big gains as JL Racing’s Saab 9-3 took to the track this weekend and immediately started turning heads. Friday’s test sessions proved the car is several seconds faster around Mosport. An increase in straightaway speed, as well as low end torque, had big smiles on all the driver’s faces.
Although sunny weather prevailed all weekend, the track was exceptionally greasy on Saturday morning. Yet Jason Sharpe still qualified in the top ten and after lunch, the race was on. Jason Sharpe started well and with the increased horsepower, immediately began gaining on the field. However on lap four, power suddenly started to decrease and for the rest of the race, power was down about 30%. Towards the end of the race, a BMW lost control on Corner 1 and the race was red flagged.
In spite of the decreased power, Jason managed to maintain position and again finished in the top ten. The team investigated the issue and discovered a turbo seal was not functioning correctly. The team spent the rest of the day on a workaround for the seal, but knew it probably wouldn’t hold for the next race.
John Lockhart drove Sunday’s 40 minute race. Sure enough, after three or four laps, power suddenly decreased. The strong Ecotec engine had enough to keep him the race however, and in spite being down on power at least 30%, John managed to finish in eighth position.
The team remain very positive about the potential of the Saab 9-3 for the remainder of the season. The increased horsepower and torque have moved the team up in the field and progress on the Ecotec engine continues. The next race will be the 3 hour endurance race which will provide some interesting benchmarks for the car and test it’s limits over the long haul.