Hazardous Sports ...
Hazardous Sports #33 Porsche finishes tenth in GT Class in 12 Hours of Sebring.
SEBRING, Fla., March 15 - Although the ZIP Racing team admitted that its first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race would be a steep learning curve, its Hazardous Sports Porsche GT3 RS #33 finished the grueling Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway Saturday, which was a victory in and of itself.
What's more, the Chicago-based team ended up in tenth place in the GT class out of 27 cars, and 23rd overall out of 55 entries.
The entry of Spencer Pumpelly of Great Neck, Va., Steve Ivankovich of Chicago and Andy Lally of Northport, N.Y., which they call "Sweetness," had started 32nd overall and seventh in the GT class.
The team ran into problems almost immediately, dropping to 42nd overall and 19th in the GT class by the end of the first hour. The team continued to soldier on, steadily moving up the charts. It was 26th overall and ninth in class by the end of the third hour but then dropped back again to 31st by the end of hour four. Things started to straighten out after that, and it ran in the 27th and 28th spot for the next five hours.
The car overheated and made a lengthy pit stop around 7:45 p.m., even going behind the wall for a few minutes. It looked like the engine was a fatality at that point, and even Lally, who was the driver at the time, was surprised when he was able to restart and get back into the fray a little bit later, only losing one spot.
The team had a couple of stop-and-go penalties, Lally got hit once by an "over-aggressive Audi," and all the drivers were a little worse for wear after the event. Pumpelly had big blisters on both hands from the steering wheel, and Lally had a sore shoulder from the seat wrapping around him in the wrong spots.
"Before the race I said the learning curve would be steep, and it was even more steep than I thought it would be," Pumpelly said. "But I know the Hazardous Sports team is up to the challenge."
"We put the car in the top 10 in class and the car ran the whole race," Lally pointed out. "We had a couple of problems that set us back, but we got the car relatively fast and the car ran the whole race, so that's great. We'll just build on this and go on to Atlanta."
"Our car is a good car," Ivankovich said. "When the big boys came around, I could run with them. But we didn't test and this is our first ALMS race, so I ran it conservatively. I'm a lover, not a fighter. We don't have all the pieces together this time, but we're still running. They better be ready for us at Atlanta."
The series' next race is June 29 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.
ZIP Racing's Web site will debut soon at www.ZIPRacing.com, while Hazardous Sports' is under construction at www.hazardous-sports.com.
For more information on the series, see www.imsaracing.net and www.americanlemans.com.