SMITH COLLECTS ROSTRUM POINTS IN ALMS OPENER AT SEBRING Yorkshireman bounces back after early time-consuming setback Guy Smith salvaged third place in the LM P2 category of the opening American Le Mans Series at Sebring in Florida on Saturday...
SMITH COLLECTS ROSTRUM POINTS IN ALMS OPENER AT SEBRING
Yorkshireman bounces back after early time-consuming setback
Guy Smith salvaged third place in the LM P2 category of the opening American Le Mans Series at Sebring in Florida on Saturday (20 Mar).
Smith and co-drivers Chris Dyson and Briton Andy Meyrick collected valuable championship points in the nine-race series at the wheel of their bio fuelled BP Castrol Mazda LMP2 Coupe in the 12 Hour race.
Smith had qualified the British-built Lola Coupe, running on British-made Dunlop tyres for the first time, third fastest in the LM P2 category with a mere two-tenths of a second separating the top-three around the bumpy 3.7-mile Florida track - America's oldest road racing circuit.
But any prospect of the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner challenging for a class victory in the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring disappeared when American co-driver Dyson made a 77mins pit-stop just 20mins into the race having been placed second early on.
"Chris picked up a misfire and after investigation, it turned out to be a sensor related electrical issue," reflected Guy who went on to set the car's fastest race lap. "We lost over an hour but the car ran like a train after that early setback although it obviously cost us any chance of challenging for victory."
Smith's Lola Coupe is powered by BP's bio race fuel utilizing isobutanol and ethanol. The Dyson team ran the advanced fuel in the last two races of the 2009 season. Based on that successful test, the ALMS organisers have approved the isobutanol fuel for use this year in the prototype classes.
Guy added: "We're delighted to be pioneering this new technology but for Sebring and the next race at Long Beach, we're facing the additional handicap of having to run with 30kg of ballast because the fuel is not readily available in the paddock.
"It was the first time we'd raced with the new Mazda engine and first time with Dunlop 'rubber' so all things considered, I was relatively happy with the result which we can now build upon. The big thing was to score points and that's what we achieved. Our Sebring performance underlines the hard work that AER put into the Mazda engine over the winter."
Going back to their first race here in 1987 Dyson Racing, who enters and prepares the Lola, has now achieved eight podiums in seventeen races in the 12 Hour race.
Smith will make his race debut for the Anglo-Swiss team Rebellion Racing in the opening round of the Europe-based Le Mans Series on 11 April at Paul Ricard in France. Meanwhile the second round of the American Le Mans Series returns to North America's premier street event in Long Beach, California, for the fourth consecutive season on 17 April.
"'I've never raced at Ricard, clocked up plenty of miles in testing, but never in an actual race so I'm looking forward to that and making my Rebellion debut," concluded Guy.
-source: guy smith PR