February 26, 2002, Road Atlanta, GA - KnightHawk Racing has secured the driving talents of Johnny Kane for the third seat of the team's Sebring effort -- joining owner/drivers Steve Knight and Mel Hawkins - for The 50th Anniversary 12 Hours of ...
February 26, 2002, Road Atlanta, GA - KnightHawk Racing has secured the driving talents of Johnny Kane for the third seat of the team's Sebring effort -- joining owner/drivers Steve Knight and Mel Hawkins - for The 50th Anniversary 12 Hours of Sebring Presented by Dodge, March 13 - 16, 2002.
Kane conducted the first tests of the new MG Lola 675 LMP in the U.S. at the famed Sebring circuit. His skills behind the wheel resulted in an unofficial new track record of 1:48.5 -- faster than the official track record of 1:48.825 set by Frank Biela in an Audi R8 in 2000.
Kane has distinguished himself on both continents and holds champion titles in European Formula Ford, Formula Vauxhall and British F3 -- to name a few. In 1999 and 2000, the talented pilot focused on North America, specifically the Dayton Indy Lights Series, where he was the series' "Rookie Of The Year" in 99. 2001 saw Kane participating in the MG Lola Le Mans program -- both testing and racing. He also conducted limited testing with Orange Arrows F1.
"I would like to thank Steve and Mel for giving me such a great opportunity to compete in my first Sebring 12 Hours. Sebring is one of the most prestigious events of the year, and I'm relishing the thought of racing there in such a competitive car," says Kane. "Both Lola and AER helped bring this opportunity together -- and I thank them -- and the entire KnightHawk team as well for giving me such a warm welcome!"
"We had a really successful test at Sebring and consistently posted very good lap times," added Kane. "Although this will be my first race there, I have tested there quite a bit, albeit on the short circuit used by the CART teams. It was one of the tracks we used regularly in the two seasons that I raced for Team Green in the Dayton Indy Lights Series (1999-2000), so at least I knew half of the track before the first testing of the MG Lola, which helped us get down to quick times almost immediately. I can't wait for the race -- all the ingredients are in place for a great result and I feel confident that we will show well."
"Johnny is a very qualified driver, which made the decision to offer him the third seat an easy one," says Knight. "The fact that he performed so well in the MG Lola while testing at Sebring made the decision all the more logical. We want to win this race -- and having Johnny on-board goes a long way toward that becoming a reality."
"We were very fortunate to have several very good drivers interested in the seat -- and while they are all excellent drivers indeed, and we're very honored by their interest, we simply could not ignore Johnny's experience, nor the laps he turned in testing, said fellow driver Hawkins. "I look forward to racing with him for the win!"
The historic 12 hour endurance classic is the first race of the American Le Mans Series 2002 Championship season. The famed 3.7-mile road course is the oldest permanent road racing facility in North America. As part of the celebration, many legendary cars and drivers will be returning for the historic event. Dan Gurney, John Fitch, Hurley Haywood and Bob Akin are among over 30 former winners expected to attend.