Sebring: Fernandez Racing preview

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Ready for ALMS Debut Lowe's Fernandez Racing will make its eagerly anticipated debut in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) on March 17 as the 2007 season opens with one of North America's premier endurance races --...

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Ready for ALMS Debut

Lowe's Fernandez Racing will make its eagerly anticipated debut in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) on March 17 as the 2007 season opens with one of North America's premier endurance races -- the 55th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The driving duo of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz are ready to challenge after a promising pre-season testing campaign with the team's new No. 15 Acura-powered Lola LMP2 sports car. They will be joined by David Martinez who will serve as a third driver for Lowe's Fernandez Racing in the historic event.

Of Note:

* The team's entry in ALMS competition follows a successful debut in sports car competition for Lowe's Fernandez Racing, which was established in 2006

* Fernandez entered sports car competition last year after a successful 12-year career at the top levels of open-wheel racing; he claimed an overall race win, qualifying race win and five top-five finishes in all in Grand-Am competition

* Diaz brings the most sports car experience to the team with eight wins in three years of competition and the 2006 team championship in Grand-Am competition

* Long-time friends who were competitors last season, Fernandez and Diaz are finally paired as teammates -- it is a partnership that almost came to fruition in 2002 when Diaz substituted for an injured Fernandez in the Mexico City Champ Car race and was later named as the team's official test driver

* With the addition of fellow countryman David Martinez to its line-up this week, Lowe's Fernandez Racing brings a true "Team Mexico" effort to Sebring

FERNANDEZ ON PRE-SEASON PREPARATIONS: "In all my years, I have never had an off-season of testing go as smoothly. We married a brand-new Acura LM V-8 engine with the Lola chassis and from the first lap it has been a great pairing. It is a true testament to the talent and dedication of everyone at HPD [Honda Performance Development], Lola and also Lowe's Fernandez Racing."

FERNANDEZ ON THE TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING: "Thanks to Acura, we had a preview of what to expect in the race when we came to Sebring last month for a 12-hour simulation race between the three Acura-powered teams which we won. It was a good exercise that helped us to learn what the challenges of a 12-hour race will be and what elements can hurt us. As I've said, this is an important race for not only our great partners at Lowe's, but everyone at Acura as they make their sports car debut. I feel we have an extremely competitive effort in place."

FERNANDEZ ON HIS FIRST GREEN FLAG AT SEBRING: "I have been testing at Sebring for so many years but have never raced here. Saturday's race will definitely be special for me on a lot of levels. Two of my idols -- Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez -- raced here in the early '60s and Pedro won here in 1963 and '64. I am coming here at a different stage in my career, but it means a lot to me to come here and try to do what these guys did. This is a beautiful form of racing and it is very special to start at Sebring; an honor. This is a race that every driver wants to win and have on their resume."

DIAZ ON HIS FIRST RACE WITH THE TEAM: "I am thoroughly enjoying this next step of my career. Adrian has always been one of my heroes, and I have learned so much in the time we have spent together in the off-season in testing, training together, going to appearances for Lowe's -- it's just been a great experience. I feel really at-home with everyone on the team. The 12-hour simulation test we did in February was the best test that I have ever participated in during my career. I am just really excited for the start of the season."

DIAZ ON THE CHALLENGES OF SEBRING: "This is definitely one of the most difficult tracks that I have ever driven. It is super-fast and super-bumpy and hard on the equipment and the drivers. We were able to run a very strong pace in testing and, while I know the race is going to be tough, I think we have a lot of confidence going in. I have never raced at Sebring, so I am looking forward to it."

MARTINEZ ON HIS FIRST SPORTS CAR EXPERIENCE: "I have been racing open-wheel cars for all of my career so the 12-hour simulation test was my first time in this type of car. Obviously, Adrian and Luis were a big help with my learning curve. In the end, the car felt very comfortable for me and I think the team has a great package. The driver changes were pretty easy for me because we are all close in size. It was a great experience and I am looking forward to the race."

-credit: fr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Ricardo Rodríguez , Luis Diaz , David Martinez