SPECTATOR ALREADY IN LINE AT SEBRING -- Excitement continues to build for the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, which will open the 2002 American Le Mans Series season on March 16.
Many of the prime parking and viewing areas in the infield at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway are available on a first-come, first-served basis when the gates open for the event. The first spectator in line arrived this week, 65 days before the gates open, breaking the previous record by nearly a month. The resident of Highlands County, Fla., will lead the charge when the gates open at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13.
Sebring ticket information is available online at www.sebringraceway.com.
** SPYKER CARS LOOKS TO ENTER ALMS GT RANKS -- A European road car manufacturer with racing heritage dating back to 1903 intends to enter a car in the GT class in the upcoming American Le Mans Series races at Sebring and Miami.
Spyker Cars, Ltd., of The Netherlands has developed a car known as the C8 Double 12 that it intends to race in the ALMS events and in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Reiter Engineering's racing team will field the car in the American events, though no drivers have yet been named.
Victor R. Muller, Chairman of Spyker Cars, Ltd., unveiled the car at an auto show in Frankfort, Germany. Muller indicated that the factory would field one Le Mans entrant and that Dutch racer Hans Hugenhotz would field a second car. Hugenhotz, a four-time Le Mans entrant, has been testing the race car and has been an ambassador for Spyker.
The C8 Double 12 is powered by a normally-aspirated Spyker V8 engine. The engine is full aluminum with 90-degree block angle.
Spyker named its car the "Double 12" because of records set by Spyker cars in 24-hour runs in 1922. The C8 Double 12 will also be available as a road car.
** AUSTRIAN TEAM PREPARING LOTUS GTP CAR -- The famous Lotus name will enter American Le Mans Series racing when Motorsport Altschach of Austria fields a Lotus Elise GTP car, and possibly two, in selected series events this season.
The closed-roof Prototype racer is scheduled to make its racing debut in the April 7 event in Miami, though the team is working to have a car ready in time for the March 16 season opener at Sebring.
The team also hopes to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and then return to North America with two cars to contest seven additional rounds of the ALMS if sufficient sponsorship can be obtained.
The machine will have a modified Lotus 3.51 turbocharged engine. Michael Ferte will be one of the team's drivers, with others to be named.
** KRISTENSEN HONORED IN DENMARK -- American Le Mans Series driver Tom Kristensen was recently honored in his home country of Denmark by being named "Sportsman of the Year" for 2001.
Kristensen's win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, along with two victories in the American Le Mans Series and two in the European Le Mans Series, provided impressive statistics for the award's selection committee.
Kristensen was selected above the Danish national football team, which qualified for the 2002 world championship, golfer Thomas Bjorn and triple triathlon world champion Peter Sandvang.
"I was very surprised and very, very proud, because this is the highest award for a sportsman in our country," said Kristensen, who drove for Audi Sport North America. "I wasn't chosen because of political lobbyism, but because the jury of the 40 leading sportsmen in Denmark believed that I have had the results to win the award.
"I never thought a race driver could get this far in competition with, for example, our national sport football," he said. "So this is one of the finest moments of my life."
The award ceremony was watched by more than a million viewers on national television in Denmark.
CHAMPION AUDI SHINES IN ORANGE BOWL PARADE -- Champion Racing's Audi R8 Prototype was one of the stars of the famous Orange Bowl Parade in Miami on New Year's Eve.
The car appeared in the parade to promote the April 5-7 Grand Prix of the Americas, which will be run on a street circuit in Miami's Downtown area. The American Le Mans Series will hold a two-hour, 45-minute race on April 7.
In conjunction with event promoter Raceworks, LLC, Champion's Audi showed the flag for the race to the thousands of spectators who attended the parade despite steady rain. The car was towed by a Champion Audi Allroad, and the Raceworks Girls walked along with it, carrying a banner for the racing event.
The parade route and the street race course share Miami's famous Biscayne Boulevard along scenic Bayfront Park, at the shores of Biscayne Bay.
Ticket information for the Grand Prix of the Americas is available online at www.miamirace.com.