x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Al Masaood excited by the unknown at American Le Mans Series

Oryx racing driver looking forward to testing the Baltimore circuit, which will host a sportscar series for the first time ever.

Humaid Al Masaood hopes that a step into the unknown in the American Le Mans series will prove to be his advantage this weekend.

The sportscar series is competing at Baltimore, on a new street circuit, for the first time on Sunday.

No one has competed at the track before, and Al Masaood and his Oryx Racing team, who are new to the championship this year, are confident this will allow them to fight on a level playing field this weekend with their rivals.

"This weekend at Baltimore provides us with a unique opportunity in that no driver has ever driven the course before," the Emirati said.

"The team that does its research pre-race will undoubtedly carry a strong advantage on race day. As a team we will cover all angles so that going into race day we are fully aware of the length of the straights, turns and maximum speeds."

Al Masaood, who shares his Mazda Lola Coupe with teammate Steven Kane, only debuted in the series in July, made an impressive start with third-place finishes in their first two races at Lime Rock Park and at the Mosport International Raceway.

The duo were equally competitive at the last round in Mid-Ohio last month, leading for the first time as they headed the field for the first 19 laps before a water leak problem forced a lengthy pit stop and eventually led to their retirement. But Al Masaood is bullish of being back at the front in Baltimore, especially with new developments having been added to the car since the last race.

By stiffening the chassis installation and adding 100 millimetres to the length of the car, the team is looking to benefit from improved aerodynamic efficiency through medium to high speed corners, in an attempt to maximise lower lap times.

"The Oryx Racing team has worked tirelessly in between races on these enhancements, and it gives us a real chance of a podium finish," said Al Masaood.

Sunday's race is much shorter than normal American Le Mans races, with the event due to run for just two hours, and Al Masaood believes that will produce plenty of action with teams having to push hard throughout.

"With a much shorter race time this weekend all cars will be going flat out, so it is important the car is in the best condition possible," he said.