Alex Job Racing Running First In GTC at Sebring with Six Hours Remaining AJR 23 in second and 80 in sixth Sebring, Fla., Alex Job Racing (AJR) has reached the half-way point of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Presented by Tequila Patron...
Alex Job Racing Running First In GTC at Sebring with Six Hours Remaining
AJR 23 in second and 80 in sixth
Sebring, Fla., Alex Job Racing (AJR) has reached the half-way point of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Presented by Tequila Patron Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race. The AJR entered No. 81 Mission Foods Porsche is leading the GTC class with the team car No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron running in second and the No. 80 Car Amigo 911 in sixth.
AJR 81 front Leh Keen started the No. 81 Mission Foods/Alex Job Racing/Porsche GT3 911 Cup from the pole position in GTC. The speedy Charleston, South Carolina resident was able to gap the field by nearly 40-seconds prior to the first yellow on lap 29. Keen was posting lap times over a second faster than the GTC field.
"We have the speed to win the race," Keen said. "The car is running good, there are no problems. Tires are wearing a little more in the rear than we anticipated, but the car is very solid. It is hotter today than all week, so the rears are having trouble doing a double stint. Everyone is very clean as far as traffic goes. The faster guys are giving us plenty of room and showing respect. There are a couple of guys you have to lookout for, but that is typical."
Juan Gonzalez took the wheel after Keen. The Mexico City resident and Mission Foods CEO was able to keep the No. 81 Porsche in the lead in his first stint in ALMS GTC race competition.
"The car was handling very good," Juan Gonzalez said. "I went out on fresh tires and the car was very fast. The gearbox is holding up great, no issues mechanically. The tires stayed under me the whole run. I had a few issues in traffic, a couple of the cars in front of me went off the track and I was able to get by them. In my first stint in the series I felt quite comfortable. I am happy with my performance."
Gonzalez later handed over to 18 time Sebring starter Butch Leitzinger. Leitzinger ran fast consistent laps to keep the No. 81 Mission Foods GT3 at the point of the GTC class at half distance.
"I did two full stints, about two-hours-ten-minutes," Leitzinger said. "This is my first time racing a Porsche 911. It has required a whole rethink to my driving style. Alex Job really knows these cars and I am getting up to speed. Leh has been extremely fast and he has helped me to get going with the car. I am glad I landed here, they have a lot of data on the car and the track. Things are looking good for us, we have had no issues with the car and we leading halfway through and looking for a good finish."
AJR 23 front Kaupudija in the No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup started from the third GTC starting position. The Chicago resident was running second until a slight spin in Turn 17 cost him the position.
"Unfortunately I got a little loose in Turn 17 under the bridge, I hit the bumps and I was on the brakes and the car came around and I spun," Kapudija said. "As a result I flat spotted the tires and kept going, keeping the car off of the wall and focusing on being smooth. Everyone is showing a lot of respect on the track. The prototypes come up fast and they are giving us racing room and not taking any risk. I haven't been touched. The car is running great! I can't ask for a better car. Alex Job and the crew have put together a great car. I need to work on my performance a little."
Bill Sweedler jumped into the 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron Porsche in the early afternoon and proceeded to bring the car back-up into second position.
"The team gave us a great car," Sweedler said. "I went out and did my first stint and then we kept the same tires on the second stint as well. The second stint the car was loose on the tires and sliding around. We were on the tires for two hours in this heat, the Yokohama's held-up well. The Tequila Patron/Battery Tender Porsche is fantastic. We are looking for a strong finish. I did the series last year, so I know what to expect from the traffic. The LMPC cars can be tricky. It is not that easy for them to get around us or us to get around them."
AJR 80 front Luis Diaz started the No. 80 IDN/Car Amigo/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup from the third position on the GTC grid. Last year's ALMS P2 Sebring winner is getting comfortable driving a car around this 17-turn track with a roof on it.
"Our first stint was pretty good, we were just taking it easy and keeping on pace with everybody, the car felt great," Diaz said. "After our first pit stop my foot started getting a bit numb and that was kind of uncomfortable. I typically use my left foot to brake, this is my first race that I right foot braked, so I'm still getting used to it. And with these GTC cars you are on the brakes for a long time, so I'm going to go out and put my feet up for a while and get ready for my next stint. I think we have a good shot at the podium if we can keep it up."