17/03/01 : Race Notes at Four Hours Stefan Johansson started the No. 18 Gulf Oil sponsored Audi R8, which features the historic Gulf Racing livery from fourth position on the grid. Losing one position at the start to Jon Field in the Lola, ...
17/03/01 : Race Notes at Four Hours
Stefan Johansson started the No. 18 Gulf Oil sponsored Audi R8, which features the historic Gulf Racing livery from fourth position on the grid.
Losing one position at the start to Jon Field in the Lola, Stefan soon passed him and began to chase down the Champion Audi, catching and passing Andy Wallace.
Stefan completed his first stint and pitted on schedule taking on a full fuel load and a new set of tyres, returning to the race in third position.
"I made a mistake at the start and got completely sideways at the exit of the last corner, on cold tyres, so I had to back off and the Lola got me. It was fun chasing and passing Andy, then we had to change tyres at the first stop as they had picked up a lot of dirt and were vibrating badly." Stefan Johansson.
Guy Smith took over the no.18 Audi and returned to the track, briefly holding second position before Tom Kristensen in the no.2 works Audi passed him having completed a pit stop and taken on new tyres.
Guy completed a double stint and then handed the car back to Stefan who is currently running in second position.
"That is the longest I have been in the car all week and it was great. The first stint on old tyres was tough as they were not at their best, but on the second set it was fantastic. I lost a lot of time at the chicane with the local yellow, but overall it was good." Guy Smith
17/03/01 : Race Notes at Nine Hours
Following Stefan Johannson's stunning triple stint, Guy Smith took over on lap 178 for a triple stint during which he traded both times and places with the No 2 works Audi for position 2 and 3 with pit stop strategy.
Following the pit stops of the No. 1 Audi, this became a battle for the lead, which Guy took briefly before pitting for a routine stop at the end of his second stint.
The team was advised to change front brake pads and discs, following a similar requirement for the No 1 works Audi. This was the first time that Johannson Motorsport had undertaken this demanding task. The team had expected to complete the race distance on one set of brakes and had not had the time available to practice the job beforehand.
Unfortunately the left front brake calliper popped during the pad change and the Team had to replace it and then bleed the brakes. Once the brake change was completed the car would not start due to a flat battery.
"I am really starting to get the feel of the Audi now, dicing for position at the front is great, it was a shame we lost so much time in the pits, but the boys did a great job to get it sorted. This was always going to be a 12 hour test for us and that is what it is proving to be" Guy Smith
Guy completed his third stint, setting impressive times before handing the car over to Stefan in fourth position. Stefan then suffered a repeat of the battery problem, requiring the team to replace the battery again. Stefan returned to the track in fourth and is now setting about closing the gap to the leaders.
17/03/01 : Final Race Report
The No.18 Johansson Audi completed the The 49th Annual Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring in fourth position. The Team and Drivers performed superbly during the event and were destined for a podium finish before two damaging pit stops that delayed them by several laps.
Initially stopping to change the front brakes, the No. 18 Gulf sponsored Audi then suffered from two battery failures, which cost the team dearly.
Both Stefan Johansson and Guy Smith completed triple stints in the car and did not put a foot wrong. The team, who only received the car 12 days ago in the UK, did a fantastic job to arrive in Sebring and campaign a car in one of the world's most demanding motorsport challenges.
"This has been a challenge, our first was to get here, the second to qualify and the third to finish - we achieved all of these. We were looking very good for a podium but the brake problem and subsequent battery changes stole this from us. It has been a great event for us, and it has certainly been a very valuable run for us before we start the European races" Mike Earle, Team Director.