Sebring: Andretti Green Racing race report

Overheating Issues Lead to Early Retirement for XM Acura at Sebring SEBRING, Fla. (March 15, 2008) -- After a promising start that saw the XM Acura take the overall lead during the first two hours, a persistent overheating problem ended...

Overheating Issues Lead to Early Retirement for XM Acura at Sebring

SEBRING, Fla. (March 15, 2008) -- After a promising start that saw the XM Acura take the overall lead during the first two hours, a persistent overheating problem ended the team's day during the 10th hour of competition at the 56th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Drivers Marco Andretti, Christian Fittipaldi and Bryan Herta were credited with a seventh-place finish in LMP2 and a 19th place finish overall.

Although the exact cause of the problem was unknown at the time of the retirement, the team planned to investigate a number of possible causes after the event. Andretti started the race for the XM Acura team and triple-stinted on one set of Michelin tires while charging to the top of the LMP2 class standings and eventually the overall running order just 90 minutes into the race. It marked the first time in 38 years that an Andretti has led at Sebring.

After his stint, Andretti handed over driving duties to Fittipaldi, who made his Andretti Green Racing debut and also enjoyed some time on top of the class standings before yielding to Bryan Herta, who climbed into the cockpit for the first time just before the five-hour mark of the race.

As the day wore on, the challenges mounted as the water temperature rose, eventually finishing off the team's effort with less than 90 minutes remaining.

Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Emmanuel Collard took the LMP2 and overall win, capping a podium sweep for LMP2 entries.

The 2008 ALMS schedule continues with the second annual Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Pete from the streets of St. Petersburg on April 5. The race begins at 1:25 p.m. and will air live on ABC Sports.

Marco Andretti, #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura: "It was awesome getting off to the start we did this morning. We showed the pace and I was having fun. But, then the overheating problems started to develop and set us back. It's unfortunate that the problems we had ultimately took us out because the XM Acura team showed some serious promise. I had fun racing with those guys, but I wish it had ended differently."

Christian Fittipaldi, #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura: "It was very disappointing to have the day end like this because we obviously had a pretty solid car. For me, I had a pretty difficult first stint because of a tire choice we made that definitely wasn't the correct one at the moment. But, the car was still good and when we changed tires, I had a pretty competitive second stint. It's just disappointing because this XM Acura team waited a whole year to come back here to try to win again. I've only been with them for a few months, but we were all so excited to come here and things just didn't go our way."

Bryan Herta, #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura: "Obviously, the XM Acura had a lot of speed early in the race. But, later on we started struggling with the overheating and finally we just couldn't control the temperature with the engine anymore. It hurts to not get a better finish here, but it's a long championship ahead. At this point, we just have to look forward to the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Pete and try to get a win there."

-credit: agr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Bryan Herta , Emmanuel Collard , Timo Bernhard , Marco Andretti , Romain Dumas