SEBRING, Fla. (February 12, 2002) -- AutoExe Motorsports with driver Jim Downing and Orbit Racing have submitted entries for the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, which will open the 2002 American Le Mans Series...
SEBRING, Fla. (February 12, 2002) -- AutoExe Motorsports with driver Jim Downing and Orbit Racing have submitted entries for the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, which will open the 2002 American Le Mans Series season on Saturday, March 16.
AutoExe Motorsports has entered a Mazda-powered WR LMP-02 car in the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes, while Florida-based Orbit has entered a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 RS machines in the GT class for America's oldest sports car race.
Downing, of Atlanta, will head the three-man driving team for AutoExe Motorsports as he makes his 20th start in the Sebring 12-hour race. He will become only the fourth member of an exclusive club of drivers with 20 or more Sebring starts. Downing will be seeking his fourth class win, having taken previous ones in 1980, 1985 and 1992. Joining Downing will be Japanese driver Yojiro Terada and a third driver to be named.
The #24 is a combination of Gerard Welter's WR Prototype car from France with Downing's experience with the Mazda engine. A longtime veteran of sports car racing, Downing will be making his first American Le Mans Series start since 1999.
Orbit, which plans to run the full American Le Mans Series schedule for the first time in 2002, has been a regular entrant at Sebring in recent years. The #42 Porsche will be co-driven by Gary Schultheis of Boca Raton, Fla., and Tony Kester of Michigan City, Ind., while driving the #43 team car will be Leo Hindery of Hillsborough, Calif., Peter Baron of San Mateo, Calif., and Mike Borkowski of Scottsdale, Az.
Upwards of 50 cars are expected to compete in the 12-hour event at the 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway, including cars in the Prototype 900 and 675, GTS and GT classes. Rinaldo Capello, Laurent Aiello and the late Michele Alboreto won last year's event in an Audi R8 Prototype. Audi has been the overall winner the past two years.
Sebring International Raceway, built on the site of a former World War II bomber training base, will hold a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 12-hour event. Many of the former winning drivers and cars from past editions of the event will be on hand to take part in the festivities, with the cars on display for most of the week of the event.
Ticket information is available online at www.sebringraceway.com or by calling the raceway ticket office at 1-863-655-1442 (toll-free in Florida 1-800-626-RACE). The race will be televised live from flag to flag on the SPEED Channel and the broadcast by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.imsaracing.net.