Grueling 12 Hours of Sebring for Gleason

Gleason Finishes Tenth in GT Class in a Grueling 12 Hours of Sebring SEBRING, Fla., March 18 ­ After practice and qualifying sessions in which Murphy's Law seemed to apply, the luck of the Irish clicked in for Chris Gleason on St.

Gleason Finishes Tenth in GT Class in a Grueling 12 Hours of Sebring

SEBRING, Fla., March 18 ­ After practice and qualifying sessions in which Murphy's Law seemed to apply, the luck of the Irish clicked in for Chris Gleason on St. Patrick's Day. He ended up finishing tenth in the GT class and 19th overall in his first appearance in the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway Saturday.

"It was the most grueling race I've ever been in, but we overcame a lot" said an exhausted Gleason, of Johnstown, Pa.

The race was broadcast live on Speedvision.

Gleason, who usually drives BMWs for Genesis Racing, was in a Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by a British team, Cirket Racing, for this event. His co-drivers were Keith Alexander of New York and Gavin Pickering of England. They completed 293 laps in the 12-hour time span.

The race featured one of the strongest GT fields ever. It was 26 cars strong, and featured many of the best GT cars from both Europe and America, including many factory teams.

Sebring International Raceway is the oldest road course in North America, and its surface is noted for being very rough. This year was no exception.

"The track is so bumpy that in some turns your car becomes airborne. You just have to grin and bear it," Gleason said.

"It was hot and my water bottle didn't work right, and I got dehydrated and cramped up some. It was exhausting.

"My co-drivers were inexperienced and had some problems with their pit stops, but the team is very happy with the job I did," Gleason added. "I was consistently faster than my teammates, but it was the most difficult race I've ever run.

"On my last stint I lost my brakes entirely, and I had to just nurse it home," he added. "I stopped for brake fluid and I had a little bit of pedal after that, but not much.

"There was no time to relax at all because there were very few yellows."

Gleason got very little practice in because the Porsche developed transmission problems early in practice. The problem wasn't solved by qualifying, and the team started 33rd.

"Considering everything, we did really well," Gleason said. "But I certainly didn't think we were going to pull off a tenth-place finish the way things went earlier in the week." In addition to the problems the team overcame, Gleason said he will always remember something else about his first 12 Hours of Sebring.

"It didn't rain at the track, but it rained several miles away and at one point at about the sixth- or seventh-hour mark I saw a terrific rainbow in the distance," he said. "To see that while you're racing was a sight I won't forget."

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Gleason , Gavin Pickering