SMITH NETS VALUABLE POINTS IN DEMANDING TWELVE HOUR RACE
Yorkshireman gets 2012 ALMS title defence underway in style with maximum ALMS points haul
Guy Smith made a great start to his defence of the American Le Mans Series title when the Yorkshireman claimed maximum points in the Sebring 12 Hours in Florida yesterday (Saturday 17 March).
While the Welton-based race ace took the chequered flag in eighth place, Smith was vitally the best-placed ALMS P1 class registered car home in the annual Sebring race – the opening event of this year’s 10-round endurance sportscar championship staged in North America.
Smith, driving a brand new British-built Lola B12/60 Mazda Coupé which had only turned a wheel for the first time a week earlier, plus co-drivers Chris Dyson (US) and Steven Kane (N Ireland) completed 317-laps.
Bearing in mind the “newness” of the Lola combined with the toughness of the bumpy and fast 3.7-mile, 17-corner track Sebring International Raceway, Smith was delighted with the result.
“I'm happy with our [ALMS] class win considering the ‘newness’ of our Lola,” commented Guy. “We didn’t expect to be particularly fast straight out of the ‘box’ and was just aiming to get the car home to the finish.
“Unfortunately for them, our main ALMS title rival encountered a problem in the closing stages which promoted us but we’ll take our good fortune on this occasion.”
An entry of 64-cars began the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fuelled by Fresh from Florida with the Smith/Dyson/Kane Lola starting from the 12th row after Dyson had qualified 11th fastest in the P1 category – 23rd overall.
Smith drove three “stints” behind the wheel totalling almost five hours in the race run in hot weather conditions.
Smith’s next ALMS race is at Long Beach, California, on 14 April. A two-hour race around the 1.968-mile “street” circuit.
Guy concluded: “Our Dyson team did a great job with the Lola running without any problems whatsoever. All the signs are positive and we now have a chance to fine-tune it in testing before the next race to unlock some more potential on the car.”