American Le Mans Series notes of interest 2001-03-06

SEBRING NEXT FOR ALMS TEAMS -- The best sports car drivers and teams from throughout the world will start descending upon the tiny Florida town of Sebring later this week as activities begin for the Mar. 17 running of the Superflo 12 Hours...

SEBRING NEXT FOR ALMS TEAMS -- The best sports car drivers and teams from throughout the world will start descending upon the tiny Florida town of Sebring later this week as activities begin for the Mar. 17 running of the Superflo 12 Hours At Sebring, Presented by Dodge. The oldest sports car endurance race in the United States, the 12 Hours will be run for the 49th time this year on the former site of a World War II military air base. What is normally a town of less than 9,000 residents becomes home to more than 100,000 race fans who jam every available viewing site at the famed 3.7-mile circuit. The main event will get the green flag at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday, Mar. 17, with the checkered flag falling 12 hours later. The Speedvision Network will have live flag-to-flag coverage, while the Radio Le Mans broadcast can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com. American Le Mans Series teams will have two days of qualifying at Sebring on Wednesday and Thursday, Mar. 14-15.

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SPEEDVISION SETS ANNOUNCERS FOR SEBRING -- Speedvision will have a large group of announcers for its non-stop coverage of the 12 Hours At Sebring, splitting the personnel into shifts during the endurance event. The play-by-play role will be alternated during the race between Speedvision veteran Bob Varsha and Greg Creamer, who was the lead announcer for last week's event at Texas Motor Speedway. Color commentators will include Jeremy Dale, Derek Daly and Derek Bell, all former competitors at Sebring. Daly is a two-time overall winner. Pit reporting duties will be rotated among Dave Burns, Alain de Cadenet, Calvin Fish and Andrew Marriott.

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AUDI LOOKS TO MATCH ALMS RECORD -- The win at Texas Motor Speedway was the ninth consecutive for Audi Sport North America in the American Le Mans Series, moving it closer to the series record for the most consecutive wins by one entrant. The record is held by Team ORECA, which won 12 consecutive ALMS events in the GTS class over the 1999 and 2000 seasons. The ORECA streak started at Mosport in June of 1999 and the 12th consecutive win for the ORECA Dodge Vipers was also at Mosport in August of 2000. Corvette won the GTS class at the next ALMS event at Texas to snap the streak. The longest entrant win streak of all time in a major racing series is 19, set in the old SCCA Can-Am Series by Team McLaren and its McLaren-Chevrolets from 1968-70.

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STUCK SUPPORTING DOLPHIN AID -- ALMS driver Hans Stuck is an ambassador for Dolphin Aid, initiated by fellow German Kiki Kuhnert. The Miami-based organization helps children who have severe injuries and health conditions through two-week programs of swimming with dolphins. "I was overwhelmed with the dolphins' sensitivity and how they can help these children who are really in bad shape," said Stuck, driver for BMW Team PTG. "You have to be a parent to understand how important this type of program is." Stuck is the only active three-time winner of the 12 Hours of Sebring, the next race on the ALMS schedule. He won the prestigious event in 1975, 1986 and 1988.

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CALLAWAY CAR DEBUTS AT TEXAS -- The much-anticipated ALMS debut of the new Callaway C-12R race car occurred as scheduled in last week's event at Texas, but barely. The new car type for the GT class was finished in Germany only days before it had to be in Texas for scrutineering. The Aspen Knolls race team, led by team owner Bob Mazzuoccola, rushed to put last-minute touches on the car before it made it on the track for test day last Friday. Unfortunately, the striking car only made a few laps in Sunday's race before being sidelined by a broken wheel hub. "It's unfortunate to be out of the race that early," said Shane Lewis, one of the drivers of the car. "Even though we were pretty much using it as a test session, we were hoping to run the entire event. The car is in one piece but we have a lot of work to do before we get to Sebring. The Aspen Knolls crew will get it together and we'll have a good show at Sebring." "We anticipated this being a learning experience and we did learn a lot," said Mazzuoccola. "We thought it was time to close the toolbox and go racing."

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PANOZ PRO SERIES RUNNING AT SEBRING -- The new Panoz Racing Series, which made its overall debut recently at Road Atlanta, will roll out its new Panoz GT Pro Series next week at Sebring. The Panoz GT Pro Series will hold a 45-minute race on Friday, Mar. 16, the day before the running of the 12 Hours At Sebring. Mike Manner of Novi, Mich., won Group A and Barry Davison of Duluth, Ga., won Group B GT Class events in the Feb. 24-25 overall debut of the new series. Competing in equally-prepared Panoz GT-RA race cars, Belinda Endress of Newbury Park, Calif., was second and Thomas Clary of Oak Ridge, Tenn., third in the Group A race. Second in the Group B race was David Donner of Colorado Springs, Col., with Audrey Zavodsky of New Boston, Mich., third. Endress won the pole position in Group A, while Zavodsky was fastest qualifier in Group B. Each competed the past two years in the Women's Global GT Series, which has been the springboard for the Panoz GT Series.

- Andy Hall

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Series ALMS
Drivers Calvin Fish , Derek Bell , Derek Daly , Audrey Zavodsky , Bob Mazzuoccola