Sebring Winter Test final day report

AUDI R10, GT2 CLASS IMPRESS ON FINAL DAY OF AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES WINTER TEST Sebring, Fla. - If Wednesday is any indication, the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring could make more history than we thought. For starters, Rinaldo...

AUDI R10, GT2 CLASS IMPRESS ON FINAL DAY OF AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES WINTER TEST

Sebring, Fla. - If Wednesday is any indication, the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring could make more history than we thought. For starters, Rinaldo Capello went 0.7 seconds under the track qualifying record in his Audi R10, a tremendous prospect for the R10's debut race next month. Capello's lap of 1:47.308 best teammate Frank Biela's qualifying pass of 1:48.029, set in 2002.

That was just one highlight on what was a pretty quiet day at Sebring International Raceway.

The other interesting development saw all seven GT2 cars break Timo Bernhard's class qualifying record of 2:04.804 from 2004. Leading the way was Scott Maxwell in Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz's No. 50 Panoz Esperante GTLM with an astounding 2:02.585. Imagine what the Esperante will be lapping with another month-and-a-half of development.

The second best time of the day in GT2 came from Joey Hand in the No. 21 BMW Team PTG BMW3 at 2:03.335, a lap that still was 1.5 seconds better than the record. Next was the other Panoz Esperante, this one the No. 80 Team LNT entry driven by Tom Kimber-Smith. The youngster did himself proud with a 2:03.448 around the 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course.

The other big mover of the day was Jon Field in the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola B05/40-AER. After jumping in the car with about 20 minutes left in the final session, he turned 1:51.094. Looks like it's going to be a pretty good battle come March.

AROUND THE PADDOCK: Dyson Racing's new Lola B06/10-AER turned one lap during Wednesday morning's session due to a water pump problem. The team chalked that up to "teething problems" with the new car. . As expected, Graham Rahal got behind the wheel of one of BMW Team PTG's BMW M3s Wednesday morning. The 17-year-old's best time was a 2:07.28 on his 20th lap. It wasn't a bad time considering his tires had 60 laps on them. Team officials are considering adding Rahal as a driver for 2006.

The American Le Mans Series begins its 2006 season with the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The 12-hour endurance classic is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST on March 18 at Sebring International Raceway and will be televised on SPEED Channel. American Le Mans Series Radio will have flag-to-flag coverage available at www.americanlemans.com, along with IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

-alms-

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