Peterson Shatters Sebring Track Record En Route To Maiden SPEED GT Pole SEBRING, Fla. (March 15, 2007) -- Doug Peterson, of Bonita Springs, Fla., captured his first-career SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship pole today in ...
Peterson Shatters Sebring Track Record En Route To Maiden SPEED GT Pole
SEBRING, Fla. (March 15, 2007) -- Doug Peterson, of Bonita Springs, Fla., captured his first-career SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship pole today in spectacular fashion, and will lead the field tomorrow to the start of the season at the 55th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway. Fellow Corvette pilot Eric Curran, of East Hampton, Mass., will start second.
Driving the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services/LG Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, Peterson needed only one flying lap around the historic 3.7-mile circuit to turn a 2:07.679 (104.324 mph)--shattering the year-old qualifying mark held by Leighton Reese by 1.085 seconds.
"Being in this position feels pretty scary," Peterson admitted. "Before the session I was speaking with my race engineer and we agreed that if we were able to do a 2:09.3 that we'd call it a day; maybe end up sixth or seventh and save the tires. These [Toyo] Tires are just so phenomenal on the first lap. I had no idea what kind of lap time I was doing. I was just driving as fast as I could. The car was really planted, the track extremely fast.
"I went out of the pits and was following the Whelen cars [Sonny Whelen and Curran]. I wasn't in the draft, but I could see how deep they were going into corners and knew I could go deeper because of my StopTech calipers and Cobalt brake pads.
"I was working toward this lap since last October. We've done a lot of testing and study of tapes with my teammate Lou Gigliotti. It was just a fantasy lap."
Practice leader Curran actually held the provisional pole for just under five seconds with his lap of 2:07.744 (104.271 mph) before being trumped by Peterson by 0.065-second.
Peterson's team leader, Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas Texas, was third quick in his No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette with a time of 2:08.598 (103.578 mph). Gigliotti appeared to be on his way to victory at Sebring in 2006 before a mechanical problem sidelined the three-time series Champion.
Andy Pilgrim, who hopes to break his streak of three-straight runner-up finishes at Sebring, was fourth fastest in his No. 8 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V with a lap of 2:08.939 (103.304 mph), 0.031-second ahead of teammate and defending series Champion in the No. 1 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac.
Sonny Whelen (Chevrolet Corvette) will start a career-best sixth, followed by rookie Brian Kubinski (Chevrolet Corvette)--making it a General Motors 1-7. Randy Pobst, who turned his first laps in his new Porsche 911 GT-3 on Tuesday, will start eighth, followed by 2005 winner Tommy Archer (Dodge Viper) and Tomy Drissi (Chevrolet Corvette).
Friday's 20-lap, 74-mile Round One race will make its standing start at 4:45 p.m. (EDT) and will be broadcast Sunday, March 25 at 2:30 p.m. on SPEED Channel.