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The problem with green hornets

October 20, 2012

Adios Green Hornet Racing
Anne Proffit photo

Customarily, one has to watch out for the red ants at Road Atlanta. This year it’s the green hornets.

Green Hornet Racing is packing up and going home early, a good move on the part of the team responsible for gutting two viable racecars this weekend during the 15th annual Petit Le Mans. In a GTC class that allows “gentleman drivers” to compete alongside professionals, you’re bound to have incidents. Green Hornet Racing hired the accomplished Damien Faulkner in the cockpit, he’s the pro on the team.

On Wednesday team “gentleman” driver Peter LeSaffre got tail-happy going toward the final bridge before the hill down to start/finish and contacted the Nissan DeltaWing, sending it and driver Gunnar Jeannette on a magic carpet ride that caused the car to roll and hit the walls. Fortunately, after raising both arms in the ultimate question mark of WTF, Jeannette was able to easily climb from the stricken car.

Nissan Delta Wing
Anne Proffit photo

This is not the first time the DeltaWing has been impacted; its first such incident occurred at Le Mans during the first lap after a restart when one of the Toyota hybrid LM P1 cars punted it off. At Le Mans the car couldn’t be repaired; the Nissan DeltaWing team was far better prepared this week at Petit Le Mans and had all the spares necessary – not to mention the personnel – to put the car back together again.

It took quite a bit of time, but the revolutionary Ben Bowlby-designed prototype took part in the obligatory night practice Thursday that qualifies drivers to race in the day-into-night contest. In fact, during qualifying the Nissan DeltaWing was 10th-fastest, but due to American Le Mans Series rules – or at least what they’ve historically done with similar machines – it started the 10-hour or 1000-mile contest from the rear of the field.

(Also starting at the rear of the field was quickest GT qualifier Guy Cosmo, whose Ferrari F458 broke a splitter and failed the height test by a minuscule 2mm)

So the race began and, as is customary the prototypes began lapping the slower GTC cars within five laps. This was expected – and one would think the driver’s meeting on Friday had been full of admonishments to watch the mirrors and keep sight of the faster cars coming.

But no!

HPD ARX-03a LM P1 Muscle Milk
Anne Proffit photo

The same Green Hornet Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, driven again by LeSaffre – at the time running 39th of 42 entries – managed to come into contact with race leader Lucas Luhr’s No. 6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03a leading to the Esses. Thankfully, the Muscle Milk crew was able to perform the necessary work to get their car back on the track (making several stops in the process) and the Green Hornet Porsche retired.

Couldn’t happen to anyone more worthy.

On Wednesday LeSaffre blamed the Nissan DeltaWing for the accident; I haven’t heard yet if the race incident was Luhr’s fault or not, but in my opinion, this “driver” should be parked until he figures out how to deal with cars that are at least 10-seconds a lap faster than him. That might take a lifetime.

By Anne Proffit

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3 Comments
  1. jojo Clar permalink

    Isn’t this the team that blames everyone for their problems ?? In the begining of the year they blamed a bad call on the corner workers when it was a Official from the control made the call yet it bad mouthed the corner workers on national tv !!

  2. This isnt fare of you to write this or have a opinion. Having no real perspective as to all of the story. Yes Mr LeSaffre has had his far share of incidents this year, the blame isnt 100 percent on him. It has been alot of bad luck on everyones part and Mr LeSaffre has had the worst of it by far. Also before anyone thinks Im bias, I came as close to dieing by getting hit by this car at Mosport this year. Sadly the LMPC Champion ran wrecklessly right into the back of Mr. LeSaffre giving him no option but to hit me. The delta wing well that thing is beyond hard to see and painting it black has alot to do with both of its accidents. That little car is out of place with us in ALMS. Thats my two cents from the driver seat.

    Ken Dobson
    LMPC #52

    • Thanks Ken for your opinion… we’re all entitled to our views and mine comes from 40 years either in the driver’s seat or behind a computer and a lens… It’s true the Nissan DeltaWing is wicked tough to see – the black paint was likely a Nissan choice. But just the same, don’t you remember your first day in drivers school when they told you it’s critical to watch your mirrors and be aware of every other race car around you? I sure do and I am certain that both Gunnar Jeannette and Lucas Luhr are more than aware of their surroundings.
      As for Mr LeSaffre, perhaps he needs to go back to school for a refresher course? I’ve done that several times because I realize I can always learn to operate better – both on a racetrack and on the road.
      He’s had more run-ins this year than just about anyone in the GTC class – while I’ve got the utmost respect for my pal Damien Faulkner, I think he needs to find a better place to race.

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