Round 6 had the eEuroparts.com ROWE racing crew heading home for what they thought would be an at home advantage. Traditional of Lime Rock Park, the #2 R8 saw 2 action-packed days of on-track activity.
Day 1 the team saw practice, practice and more practice before ending off with the GS qualifying session. Each practice the R8 gained momentum, ran well in the pack and looked promising for a great performance. As typical of the team, the R8 was set for an overall race performance and showed that through their pace. As Cooke always does, he threw down great laps in practice maintaining impeccable consistency on older tires to the tune of 9 laps within a tenth of second from one another. For this round, Cooke was put on qualifying duty. In the intense heat and worsening track conditions Cooke had a small window to push the car. Right out the gate, Cooke waited nearly 7 laps for the tires to come in passing the best point for throwing a qualifying lap down. Regardless, Cooke took on the challenge and was running what would have been a top-5 qualifying pace before it was interrupted by a red flag for a car off towards the end of the session. This resulted in the #2 qualifying P12 based on his warm up laps.
No matter the conditions thrown at him, Cooke shines through. Cooke had a great start to the race jumping up to P8 in the first 15 minutes. With each passing lap, Cooke's ability to manage old tires allowed him to maintain wicked momentum as his competitors began to fall off. Closing gap after gap, Cooke climbed 6 positions to P6 before his stint was ended short by the need for fuel. The gas guzzling R8 was brought in just at the 45 minute mark for a full pit stop including driver change. Cooke having an impressive stint then continued onwards to talk heat and track conditions with IMSA Radio's pit reporter, Shea Adams.
Just a couple laps into Koch's stint, a fire in the exhaust had him unnerved and coming in for an emergency pit stop. Both the car and driver were okay and were sent back out to finish the race. What should've been a quick fix resulted in the car going 4 laps down cutting the team's momentum short. With only one full course yellow the entire race, the R8 managed to gain only one lap back and finished in P17.
They caught air and caught fire at this round. After investigation, the heat shield had fallen onto the exhaust which resulted in the small fire seen in the back of the car. The #2 duo had a top five pace going but we'll have to settle for knowing that they ran some of the quickest laps of field at their home track.
Cooke would like to thank the ROWE team for coming out to support them at their home track! It's a blast to represent such an interactive partner.
The broadcast of the Lime Rock 120 will air on Friday July 26th from 6:00-8:00 PM EDT on NBCSN. You won't want to miss Cooke's interview from this race!
Follow the #2 eEuroparts.com ROWE racing R8 as it takes on round 7 at Road America August 3rd!