Goodyear cars win two class victories at Sebring. SEBRING, Fla. (March 16, 2003) -- Two cars equipped with Goodyear tires raced to class victories in the 51st Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring, the 2003 season opener for the American Le Mans Series.
Goodyear cars win two class victories at Sebring.
SEBRING, Fla. (March 16, 2003) -- Two cars equipped with Goodyear tires raced to class victories in the 51st Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring, the 2003 season opener for the American Le Mans Series. The tiremaker won the race's GTS class trophy for the third consecutive year and won in LMP 675.
The Goodyear-shod winners were a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R from Corvette Racing that took the GTS class and Lola EX 257/AER MG from Dyson Racing which won the LMP 675 class.
"I think a lot of the credit for the speed goes to Goodyear," said Corvette driver Ron Fellows. "Certainly we have struggled in the past when it has been hot and greasy. Today it was quite different. As a matter of fact, it was when we were at our best. This car is what we used last year. It has some updates. But I think our ability to maintain a solid pace goes to Goodyear."
The Corvette Fellows co-drove with Johnny O'Connell and Franck Freon finished eighth overall and 16 laps ahead of its nearest GTS rival. The Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim led the class for much of the race before a mechanical problem knocked the car out of the competition.
The class-winning MG-powered Lola campaigned by Dyson Racing finished 18th overall. Dyson driver Didier de Radigues won the 2001 ALMS LMP 675 championship and used Goodyear tires to do so. This year's victory at Sebring gave de Radigues and co-drivers Chris Dyson and Chad Block an early leg up in the chase for the 2003 championship.
"I was already happy with the Goodyears then in 2001," said de Radigues. "I never had any problem with the tires. Now I must say the same, I think everybody has been happy with the tires."
The race was played out in front of a crowd estimated at more than 100,000 fans and in front of a national audience via flag-to-flag coverage by SPEED Channel.
Dyson Racing competes with two cars in the LMP 675 class. Both cars suffered mechanical problems early in the race before the de Radigues/Dyson/Block entry came from behind to win the class.
The Dyson cars and their Goodyear tires turned heads all weekend. Andy Wallace recorded the fastest lap during the second practice session on Wednesday, becoming the first LMP 675 driver ever to top an ALMS practice session overall.
Team owner Rob Dyson said at the time Wallace's quick lap came on worn tires. "The plan we have is to find a race set up that works," said Dyson. "(Wallace) wasn't trying to set a fast time on super sticky tires or anything like that."
Jon Field, the 2002 LMP 675 champion, led the class battle for much of the race in their Lola and was scored as high as eighth three hours into the race. Field and co-drivers Duncan Dayton and Michael Durand eventually finished 30th overall and second in the class.
Another Field car, a Lola that used Goodyears in the LMP 900 class, finished 37th overall and 12th in class. Clint Field, Jon's son, co-drove the car with Rick Sutherland and John Macaluso.
Both Field cars race on Goodyear tires.
The Team Nasamax Reynard Cosworth, which used a bio-ethanol fuel, also used Goodyear tires but fell out of the running early in the race with engine trouble.