Sebring: Chris Gleason race report

Gleason's Porsche Climbs Into Top 10 in Class Saturday at Sebring Before Engine Blows SEBRING, Fla., March 16 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa., and co-drivers Rob Wilson of London and Paul Dawson of Geneva, Switzerland clawed their way from...

Gleason's Porsche Climbs Into Top 10 in Class Saturday at Sebring Before Engine Blows

SEBRING, Fla., March 16 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa., and co-drivers Rob Wilson of London and Paul Dawson of Geneva, Switzerland clawed their way from 54th to 27th overall and ninth in class Saturday during the first half of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring before the engine blew in their Cirtek Racing Porsche 911 GT3R #99 just a few minutes shy of the half-way point.

The race was broadcast live on Speed Channel.

It is still going on at press time so the official order of finish can change, but the team will finish somewhere around 40th overall and 13th in a GT class of 21.

"Everyone is disappointed, but everyone knows that's racing," Gleason said philosophically.

Wilson took the first stint and reported that the car had lost third gear very early, around lap seven. Gleason took over at 12:47 p.m., about the same time that the Michelin tire engineers reported the air temperature was 95 degrees and the track temperature was 118 degrees.

He toughed it out until it was time for fresh tires and fuel at 2 p.m., and Dawson then began his stint.

Wilson started his second stint at 3:06 p.m. The engine seized a little more than an hour later, he brought it into the pits and the team's day was done.

"At least I got a shift in," Gleason said later. "We had worked our way up pretty well. We turned some pretty good lap times considering that we didn't have third gear, too. That cost us about three seconds a lap, but we all just dealt with it."

Gleason injured his leg in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship race here Friday, and he said it bothered him during Saturday's race. "I was trying to protect the bandage and the muscle I pulled, but I think I sat too far away from the steering wheel. My leg was bothering me the whole time," he said.

"It was very hot too," he added.

Sebring is infamous for its bumpy track surface, which poses its own set of challenges.

"Every time you would hit the big bumps, the mirror would get out of position and you'd have to reset it when you could," Gleason said. "But it wasn't that bad, really.

"The traffic wasn't too bad either," he added. "The pro drivers are all pretty polite as long as you're predictable.

"It was more fun last year when we finished, but this was pretty good," he summarized. "The team worked hard and my co-drivers were great, and we gave it a good shot."

-lm-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Gleason