JMB Ferrari squad fortified with Skip Barber drivers At the recent 12 Hours of Sebring, Skip Barber instructors Peter Argetsinger and Oswaldo Negri joined Skip Barber and Barber Dodge Pro Series grads Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jon Vannini to fortify...
JMB Ferrari squad fortified with Skip Barber drivers
At the recent 12 Hours of Sebring, Skip Barber instructors Peter Argetsinger and Oswaldo Negri joined Skip Barber and Barber Dodge Pro Series grads Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jon Vannini to fortify the driver line-up for the factory-backed JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena.
Fans of the FIA Sportscar Championship will recognize JMB as multiple championship winners in recent years in both the WRC Sportscar class as well as the 2001 FIA GT-N championship. The team came to Sebring in preparation for an assault on this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. With this crucial test in mind, driver choice to back up the factory regulars Andrea Montermini and Andrea Garbagnati was a critical one. The quality of both the driving and the feedback from the Skip Barber trained group left a very favorable impression on the mind of team manager Benjamin Durand.
"We are very impressed with the quality our Skip Barber drivers, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Peter Argetsinger, Jon Vannini and Oswaldo Negri. Coming into this weekend here at Sebring we knew that they would be very capable drivers, but I must admit that I am very surprised not just by their driving but by their feedback," comment Durand." I think the quality of their feedback goes to show the depth of the training that Skip Barber gives because to be a good driver at this level, you must not only be smooth on the track but also be able to comeback to the pit and communicate with the engineers."
JMB entered two Ferraris for the event with Hunter-Reay and Argetsinger teaming up with Montermini while Negri and Vannini paired up with Garbagnati. Both Argetsinger and Negri were pulling double duty that weekend as they were also coaching drivers who were competing at Sebring in the first round of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series. For Negri in particular, the task was a physically daunting one as he was testing Barber Dodge cars in addition to the coaching. That meant a lot of time on the racetrack in two very different kinds of racecar.
Unfortunately all of the Skip Barber driving prowess couldn't overcome the mechanical gremlins that either befell the car in the case of the Montermini, Hunter-Reay, Argetsinger entry with an oil pump failure two hours into the race or the gearbox woes that slowed the Garbagnati, Negri, Vannini steed all the way through. Nevertheless the drivers and the car showed their speed and potential, making the weekend useful tune up as they make their way to the Sarthe in June.
Speaking of Le Mans, Durand, while suitably impressed with the whole lot, he was moved enough by the performances of Hunter-Reay who matched or bettered the times set by ex-Formula 1 driver Montermini, that he extended an offer to Hunter-Reay to drive at the twice around the clock classic. With a bit of a heavy heart, Hunter-Reay had to decline the invitation as he will be busy racing his Hylton Motorsports Toyota Atlantic racer at the Milwaukee Mile that very same weekend.