ALMS REWIND: Alex Job Racing

The drive for the sport is still alive after 12 seasons

The 2011 season proved to be a fierce battle for the contenders in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón’s GT Challenge class. Veteran squad Alex Job Racing captured third place in the GTC team championship with four podium finishes and stellar street racing performances in Long Beach and Baltimore. Team owner Alex Job discusses the intensity of the 2011 season and what keeps the team coming back for more even after 12 seasons, 39 race wins, 46 pole positions, 75 podium finishes, three championships (GT in 2002, 2003 and 2004) and two GT class wins at Le Mans.

ALMS: Alex Job Racing has been a part of the ALMS since its inception in 1999. As one of the longest-competing and most successful teams in the ALMS, how did the team’s 12th season in the ALMS differ from the 11 before? And what keeps AJR coming back for more?
AJR: Running in the GTC class, like in GT … the competition is fierce. The cars are so closely matched that it comes down to car preparation and pit stops, and, of course, the drivers make the difference at the checkered flag. The competition never gets boring. There are very good teams that compete in GTC, and we have to constantly be improving to run at the front of that group. The ALMS offers AJR a level playing field on the technical side which leaves the competition on the track up to the team and the drivers – the way it should be.

ALMS: What was the biggest obstacle the team overcame this year?
AJR: The biggest obstacle was at Sebring when we were hit in practice and damaged the tub on our new, primary car. The team had to resurrect last year’s car, which was at the track with a “For Sale” sign in the windshield. The team worked through the night to get the car ready for qualifying the next day and was able to put the car on pole in qualifying.

ALMS: What was the team’s best race?
AJR: The team’s high-water marks for 2011 were the street races at Long Beach and Baltimore. Drivers Bill Sweedler and Leh Keen led the majority of the Long Beach race and maintained a strong second-place position at Baltimore. The team finished second in both races.
ALMS: To what do you attribute AJR’s strong street course performance?
AJR: AJR’s strong performance is based on car setup – the right tweaks for the right track. Our drivers have seemed to thrive on the closed concrete canyon type tracks. Why? They are a little crazy – but that is a good thing.

ALMS: What was the lasting memory of 2011?
AJR: The lasting memory of the season was the team’s second-place finish at Petit Le Mans with Brian Wong joining Sweedler and Keen. The team led a majority of the nine-plus hours of running.

ALMS: How did AJR maintain its intensity and performance at Petit Le Mans that led to its second-place finish?
AJR: Petit Le Mans was tough. There was a huge field, and we were in the slowest class. We would see the Audi and Peugeot cars about every six laps. The team fell prey to an over-aggressive competitor in the last two hours; otherwise we would have won the race.

ALMS: Can you give a couple hints on what AJR’s 2012 program will look like?
AJR: The team is exploring its options for the 2012 season with a strong wind blowing toward Sebring in March.

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