A Recent Test Ahead of This Week’s Race Has the VOLT Racing with Archangel Drivers Ready to Go
By Mark Robinson
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Trent Hindman and Alan Brynjolfsson have thrown themselves into the deep end of the racing pool this year, adding an IMSA Prototype Challenge program on top of their existing IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge operation. It’s already paid dividends in results and thrills.
Hindman and Brynjolfsson, in the No. 7 VOLT Racing with Archangel Ligier JS P320, are among the 16 Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) entries for Friday’s Prototype Challenge race at Watkins Glen International, the fourth of six races on the 2021 docket. The results have already come, with a win at Sebring International Raceway in March. The thrills came during a recent two-day test at The Glen in preparation for the race.
IMSA Prototype Challenge: Watkins Glen International Entry List
It was the time first in a prototype for either driver at the renowned road course. Ahead of the test, Hindman asked Dane Cameron, a friend and Daytona Prototype international (DPi) driver for Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian, what the experience would be like. Cameron said he particularly enjoys the portion of the 3.4-mile circuit from the middle of the Bus Stop chicane all the way to Turn 6 at the top of “The Boot,” with DPi cars flat out and generating 4 Gs or more throughout the section. The LMP3 doesn’t reach those levels but Hindman found it an exhilarating ride, nonetheless.
“The sustained lateral force through that section of the racetrack – let alone the whole racetrack is nuts in a high-downforce race car – but that specific section is really a special experience,” he said.
He’s eager for more this week as he, Brynjolfsson and the team seek to gain more experience in prototypes. Hindman’s only previous prototype race experience came in the PC class in 2017, when he was part of the team that finished second in class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. He gained a smidge of time in a DPi in February 2020, when he hopped in an Acura DPi during a film session that also included an Acura GT3.
“I got to push hard (in the DPi) for a couple corners, not even really a lap,” Hindman said. “So the P3 car is really my first foray into prototype racing. I’m fortunate that I have an open-wheel background, a single-seater background, so at least understanding the driving techniques and the approach to a high-downforce platform car like that was there. But there was definitely an adjustment period.”
Since the LMP3 is the “entry-level” version of prototype, Hindman said it’s a slightly easier transition than to a higher level.
“Being it’s more of a development category, it’s softer, it’s a little less downforce than a P2 car or a DPi,” he explained. “The fact that it’s balance of mechanical grip to aero grip is maybe closer to 50-50 or 60-40, it actually makes the transition to that car from all the years of GT experience pretty straightforward.”
He added that the team “learned a ton” at The Glen test about “what we need to be thinking about when it comes to downforce-dependent tracks like Watkins Glen. It was an eye-opening experience all around. Of course, we want to be fighting for the win but we’re just looking forward to driving the car and learning more this week.”
Moritz Kranz (No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine D08) leads the LMP3-1 standings for drivers running the current-generation car. Kranz holds a 40-point lead on Dakota Dickerson and Josh Sarchet (No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier). Danny Kok and George Staikos (No. 61 Conquest Racing Norma M30) lead in LMP3-2 for previous-generation cars by 260 points over Francesco Melandri (No. 24 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P3).
The Prototype Challenge schedule lists two practices and qualifying on Thursday. The one-hour, 45-minute race starts at 11:45 a.m. ET Friday and airs live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio.