Yorkshire’s Guy Smith is focusing on the second round of the American Le Mans Series next month after suffering disappointment in the opening 2013 race yesterday (Saturday 16 March).
The 38-year-old Beverley-born sportscar driver who lives in Welton, contested the 61st running of the annual 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida – the longest and toughest event on the 10-race ALMS schedule.
The Smith/Dyson/Leitzinger Lola Mazda Coupe started from sixth place on the 42-car grid but Dyson pitted with a electronics malfunction after 70mins, Smith resuming placed 39th overall, sixth in class, following a 34min stop. After setting a sequence of competitive lap times, Guy was back in the pits for an unscheduled pit-stop at one-quarter distance, a lengthy inspection resulting in the team posting its retirement.
Guy said: “You start the season with a lot of enthusiasm and the opening race was obviously extremely disappointing but I’ve been involved in motorsport for a long time and we will regroup and come back stronger – and we’ll be aiming to do that at the next race.
“It’s frustrating from a championship viewpoint because we certainly didn’t want to come away from Sebring with no points on the board but it makes us more determined to knuckle down.”
Smith, competing in the annual 12 hour race at Sebring for the 14th time, added: “I have run every race here since 2000. It was actually the second-ever sports car race of my career.
“This time around was obviously frustrating for me. We had an initial issue but when I got in the car it felt good to the extent that I was able to comfortably match the Rebellion car’s speed which was running in the top-four.
“Later I felt a slight vibration so I coasted into pit lane and subsequently we were forced to call it a day.
“We will keep working and focus on what we need to do to get the best car we can for Long Beach. It's a long season so anything can happen.”
The second round of the series is a two-hour race staged on a 1.98-mile “street” circuit in Long Beach, California.