Tommy Kendall has accumulated numerous wins and championships over his illustrious career but a victory in the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring has eluded him, a fact his family periodically throws out to him. Seems that Chuck Kendall, his father, captured class honors in 1981 and eight years later Bart Kendall, his older brother, earned the same distinction; leaving Tommy Kendall as the only family member without a Sebring win.
While Tommy Kendall had not been an active racer for several years, he made his return in 2012 after being signed by the SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R team. The team, Kendall and others plan to run the full American LeMans Series schedule in 2013 and they just accepted an invitation to run in the upcoming 24 Hours of LeMans, which they accepted without hesitation.
I would like to say I will right that (situation) this year.
The team will warm-up for LeMans by participating in the iconic Sebring race next month, and Kendall along with co-drivers Kuno Witttmer, Marc Goossens and Jonathan Bomarito are fine-tuning their car this week during the ALMS Winter Test at Sebring.
Kendall first drove at Sebring in 1985 but conditions were much different than they are now. “Back in 1985, the track was quite a bit different than it is now,” said Kendall, who indicated he has a strong urge to succeed in March. “This race is on my list as there’s a family score I need to settle. While I never bring it up, when we get together, my brother and my dad always throw out a trivia question, ‘Who’s the only Kendall that’s raced at Sebring that’s never won there?’ I would like to say I will right that (situation) this year.”
Kendall knows his team faces formidable competition in the presence of Corvette, Ferrari, BMW and others, but they are guardedly optimistic they can succeed. They know they have progressed considerably after running a handful of races in 2012 and believe they can build on that base.
Reminiscing on his debut race, Kendall said with a smile, “The first time I raced here I was 18 years old, and we had something break in the car. I jumped out of the car, climbed over the fence to go for tools and a guy offered me a beer (which surprised him). We did get the car fixed and finished second (in class).”
The 46-year old driver works hard with his conditioning program – cycling, swimming and yoga with emphasis on cycling.
Doing whatever it takes with the car, the team and his co-drivers, Kendall is focused on gaining the ultimate prize – another victory for the family in the 12 Hours of Sebring. “Because everyone on the team is experienced, in my mind it is not if we are going to be fighting for race wins, but when we are going to win, and I feel we have as good a chance as anyone,” the articulate driver said.