Australian teenage racing sensation James Kovacic endured a rough return to the American Le Mans Series today, failing to turn a lap in the two-hour race at Long Beach after his co-driver crashed out early in the race.
Pairing up with Canadian driver Tony Burgess in an ORECA FLM09 LMPC challenger, Kovacic was immediately impressive in his limited running in the car.
In a rain-hit practice session, he provisionally held top spot – against much faster prototype racers – on the timesheets before handing the car over to Burgess to complete more practice running. Burgess was unable to improve on James’ best time, and the pair ended the session seventh-quickest.
Hopes were high as they headed into qualifying on Friday, but that was declared a wash-out, which meant that starting positions for the race would be determined by each team’s position in their class’ championship standings – this relegated Kovacic and Burgess to fifteenth on the grid’s thirty-three car field.
Burgess would have the first stint and Kovacic the second, and with the field having little dry running to speak of, it was quickly turning into an incident-filled race.
Unfortunately, James wouldn’t get to turn any laps in anger on Saturday afternoon, as Burgess lost the back end of the car at Turn 6 and rear-ended the barriers. The damaged suspension ruled them out of further action.
James will have another ALMS outing at the next round at Laguna Seca – fingers crossed he has better luck there!