Sebring: Taurus Sports race report

Taurus Sports overcomes the odds! Sebring International Raceway, USA, Saturday 15th March 2003: Britain's newest sportscar team, Norwich-based Taurus Sports, overcame several unexpected set-backs to finish their first ever race in a creditable...

Taurus Sports overcomes the odds!

Sebring International Raceway, USA, Saturday 15th March 2003: Britain's newest sportscar team, Norwich-based Taurus Sports, overcame several unexpected set-backs to finish their first ever race in a creditable 16th place overall, 10th in the LMP900 class, in today's Sebring 12 Hours.

British drivers Justin Keen and Phil Andrews, partnered by America's Larry Oberto, had to battle with accident damage followed by an electrical fault in the race that is dubbed 'half as long and twice as hard' - referring of course to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The team's first set-back came within an hour of the start when Justin Keen was rammed by an out of control Porsche, causing wheel damage and a puncture, dropping the car from its starting position, 9th, to 24th place.

In hour two the Lola Judd B2K/10b was back up to 16th, only to suffer electrical gremlins which were to bug the car for several hours and by the end of the fifth hour the Taurus Sports machine was languishing in 35th place.

Yet the team, showing their true mettle, sorted the problems and for the second half of the race the car rapidly made up places to eventually finish in 16th spot, from a starting field of 54 cars.

Ian Dawson, Team Proprietor and Race Director:
"I'm really proud of everyone today, the drivers and my team of engineers and mechanics. Once we solved the electrical problem which dogged us in the first half of the race, we made great progress."

"All in all it was a strong first performance for a start-up organisation and there was a lot of interest in the team. Now we are hoping to be offered an entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours. We are also looking to race in the FIA Sportscar Championship where we will definitely be a front runner."

Justin Keen:
"It was great racing in front of such a huge crowd. This was only my second endurance race and I really enjoyed it. It was very different from racing at Daytona in a Ferrari 360 GT car and I have to say it was much more of a challenge."

Phil Andrews:
"The team gelled well together and without our problems we would have finished sixth or seventh. For me it's great to be back racing in top line sportscar events. Ian and all the team did a superb job."

Now the team, which was founded by veteran Formula 1 and sportscar team boss Ian Dawson and his son Simon, wait for confirmation of their Le Mans entry.

The race was dominated by the factory Audis R8s yet again despite a challenge from the new Bentley Speed 8 coupes. The race finally fell to Frank Biela and Marco Werner of Germany and Phillipp Peter of Austria by a margin of just 13 seconds from the similar car of former Grand Prix drivers Emanuele Pirro, JJ Lehto and Stefan Johansson.

-ts-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Marco Werner , Phil Andrews , Justin Keen , Larry Oberto , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto