PORSCHE RS SPYDERS COMPLETE SUCCESSFUL TEST FOR MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING SEBRING, Fla. -- January 31 -- Penske Racing and Dyson Racing completed three successful days of testing yesterday at Sebring International Raceway in preparation...
PORSCHE RS SPYDERS COMPLETE SUCCESSFUL TEST FOR MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING
SEBRING, Fla. -- January 31 -- Penske Racing and Dyson Racing completed three successful days of testing yesterday at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for the March 15 running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
In radiant sunshine and spring temperatures, the four RS Spyders, which captured all the LMP2 honors in the 2007 American Le Mans Series, showed considerable quickness on the Sebring circuit as a result of undergoing further developments in various areas over the winter. The Penske Racing team won eight of the 12 ALMS races overall, and captured 11 of 12 victories in class. Defending series champions Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) had six overall victories, and did not finish off the podium in class all season.
"For 2008, we made some more improvements to the aerodynamics," says Porsche head of motorsport Hartmut Kristen.
"Obvious differences are the new nose and the new rear wing, but the engine also underwent modifications. In this area, it was all about reducing fuel consumption and improving the drivability, and the testing has proven we have accomplished both goals," said Kristen.
For all three days, the RS Spyders turned the fastest lap times in LMP2, but Timo Bernhard is cautious about predicting the same results as 2007.
"The Acuras have been very busy over the winter as well, and we can tell that their performance has also improved. Watching their cars go through turn one here at Sebring without seeing brake lights tells us that they have improved their downforce capabilities for 2008," said Bernhard.
In the #6 RS Spyder, the 2006 champion Sascha Maassen (Germany) gets a new Partner, Patrick Long (USA), as Ryan Briscoe (Australia), who celebrated two overall victories last year with Maassen, moves to Penske's IndyCar team for 2008. Briscoe will join the team as a third driver, however, for the Sebring event. Unchanged from last year, the 2007 title defenders Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) share driving duties in the #7 RS Spyder. Emmanuel Collard (France) joins the pair in Sebring.
The Dyson Racing team has also changed for 2008, with Chris Dyson (USA) and Guy Smith (GB) will pilot the #16 RS Spyder, and newcomer Marino Franchitti (Scotland) will join Butch Leitzinger in the #20 car.
For the Porsche RS Spyder everything ran according to plan for the three-day test session.
"We were able to do everything we set out for ourselves," said Roland Kussmaul, Head of Performance for Porsche.
"For the Penske Racing and Dyson Racing teams, the main goal was to test tires and find a good set-up for the race track. The Weissach-developed and built sports prototypes performed excellently setting quick times under difficult conditions. With constantly changing grip conditions and strong winds, that messed up the entire aerodynamics, we were pleased to have the fastest times each day," said Kussmaul.
"All in all it was a very successful test," summarized Kussmaul
"We were able to work through our whole schedule and didn't experience even the smallest problem. From the power unit to the suspension -- everything ran perfectly. If the race were to start tomorrow we would be ready," he said.
"Remember, Sebring is the only ALMS track on which Penske Racing has not achieved an LMP2 win, and we hope the success of this test spills over to race week in March," said Maassen.
The GT2 field of Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs did not appear at the Sebring test as teams have not received their 2008 models yet from the Porsche factory. Most team expect to take delivery of those cars during early February, and will make their driver announcements at that time.