ENCOURAGING SEBRING TEST FOR LIZ HALLIDAY AND THE INTERSPORT TEAM The UK-based American sportswoman Liz Halliday enjoyed a successful official test as she prepares for the 54th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring, completing three days at the...
ENCOURAGING SEBRING TEST FOR LIZ HALLIDAY AND THE INTERSPORT TEAM
The UK-based American sportswoman Liz Halliday enjoyed a successful official test as she prepares for the 54th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring, completing three days at the circuit in the LMP2 Intersport Racing AER Lola. She shared the driving with Clint Field, whom she will partner throughout the 2006 American Le Mans Series, as well as Clint's father and team owner Jon, who will also drive at Sebring.
The test began with Liz topping the time sheets for the first morning session. She explains: "There were several new cars there, including the Audi R10s and the Lola LMP1 and they were shaking down to start with. I thought that it was quite funny, being quicker than the brand new works Audis!"
Despite this early incentive, there was much work to do in preparation for the opening round of the '06 ALMS season. "The AER Lola is fundamentally the same specification as we used last year but with a couple of developments carried out over the winter," explains Liz. "What we wanted to achieve at the test was to come away with a set-up that will give us a quick car that is as easy to drive as possible for the long race.
"During the test, we made a range of changes to various aspects of the car and made a lot of improvements over the three days." In fact, the Intersport Racing Lola stayed at or close to the top of the time sheets throughout the test.
"Although we made good progress, there are limits to what we could achieve at the circuit. So now, the crew will continue with the development of the car when they get back to the workshop and introduce a few more changes, including a new aerodynamics package from Lola. So I'm positive that by the time we get to the start, we will have a quick, well-handling and reliable race car.
"In terms of lap times, I was quite pleased with the test. I ended up just 0.5 seconds off Clint's laps, which was closer than I've been before and closer to where I hoped to be," said Liz.
But it wasn't just car settings and racing lines that would prove beneficial from the test. The Sebring circuit is particularly demanding and understanding the physical loads on the driver is as important as those on the car.
Liz explains: "Sebring is a tough track; it's very fast and bumpy and incredibly physical. I realised that I need to improve my endurance and upper body strength for the race, and I want to make sure I am as well prepared as I can be. So I have been speaking to a trainer and have worked out a fitness plan to achieve this between now and the race.
"It's exactly this kind of thing that you need to figure out at Sebring. It can make a real difference to how you feel and how you perform."
Despite the arduous nature of the event, Halliday is looking forward to the race: "Sebring is unique because of its years of history and heritage, but also because of its bumpy, high speed corners and the technical nature of the circuit. Doing the 12 Hours of Sebring is harder than a 24 Hour race, like Le Mans, I think. A lot of people find it the toughest event of the year but that's all part of what makes it special. And after this test, I'm very excited and looking forward to being back in the car with Clint and Jon for the race."