59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Unkind To Tomy Drissi's Intersport Racing No. 089 LMPC Car
March 19, 2011 Sebring, Fla. Tomy Drissi started Saturday's 59th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida driving the Intersport Racing No. 089 LMPC car sponsored by X-Men: First Class - in theaters 6.3.11. with great expectations. The team had worked hard finding speed and balance for the car while juggling the task of getting all three co-drivers comfortable in the car. Joined in the No. 089 Intersport LMPC car by Kyle Marcelli and Rusty Mitchell, the 59th 12 Hours of Sebring marked Tomy’s first outing behind the wheel of the new LMPC class of cars.
Drissi having competed in Trans-Am, World Challenge and the American Le Mans Series' premier Le Mans Prototype LMP1 class had high expectations for the event.
“Brian Alder and the Intersport crew did a great job getting the car ready," noted Drissi. "It's tough enough for a crew to get any car ready for a race. But if you consider these guys have to accommodate three different drivers who are three different sizes and could have three different driving styles, it's a remarkable feat. I admire these guys."
Kyle Marcelli had done the opening spot and had managed to keep the No. 089 X-Men: First Class car in the hunt. Rusty Mitchell took the second stint, turning the car over to Tomy after the two hour mark.
“Kyle and Rusty both did an outstanding job," remarked Tomy. "They both stayed out of trouble and kept a good race car underneath us. Unfortunately, when I got in the car, traffic had started to tighten up after a caution period. I felt I was keeping a pretty good pace, but it was extremely difficult finding a rhythm. With 56 cars on the track there's always a slow car in front of you and a big fast prototype coming up in your mirrors. It's wild! About two-thirds into my stint, I got jostled around a bit and took some contact. After that, the car never felt right again."
Tomy and the Intersport Racing No. 089 LMPC car would never recover.
"It was all I could do to not drive angry," said Tomy laughing. "In Trans-Am you get to run with great big fenders so a little retaliation isn't out of the question. Not so with a prototype. These cars are highly sophisticated with lots of small carbon fiber wings and pieces on the front end. You have to keep cool and preserve the car. I managed to keep cool, but mechanically I felt the car slowly going away. I got back to the pits, but the overheating ultimately took it's toll on the motor."
So a heartbreak for the team must become an incentive to run harder at the next American Le Mans event in Long Beach the site of Tomy's first Trans-Am win.
"We'll be ready for them in Long Beach," said Tomy. "I really want to thank FOX Pictures for their support and sponsorship on the car with FOX Picture's new movie X-MEN: FIRST CLASS in theaters 6/3/11.," noted Drissi. "And agin, a special thanks to Jon and Clint Field at Intersport for getting involved and helping make this all work.”
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón heads west for its next round – the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach on Saturday, April 16.
Tomy will kick off his World Challenge Series Championship run this weekend at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg which begins this week with a full lineup of festivities.
-source: tomy drissi PR