Sebring: Knighthawk Racing qualifying report

Knighthawk LMP 675 Qualifies 1ST In Class, 3RD Overall At Sebring March 14, 2002, Road Atlanta, GA - KnightHawk Racing pulled an unexpected upset by qualifying its MG Lola 675 1st in class and 3rd overall for the 50th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours...

Knighthawk LMP 675 Qualifies 1ST In Class, 3RD Overall At Sebring

March 14, 2002, Road Atlanta, GA - KnightHawk Racing pulled an unexpected upset by qualifying its MG Lola 675 1st in class and 3rd overall for the 50th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, this Saturday, March 16, 2002.

The team's #11 DNTLworks MG Lola 675 LMP, piloted by Jonny Kane, ran ten laps in today's joint LMP 900/675 qualifying session and generated a best-lap time of 1:50.543 to secure the class pole -- as well as a surprising 3rd overall.

The first and second qualifying spots were secured, as expected, by the #1 and #2 Audi's respectively. The third spot achieved by KnightHawk puts them ahead of the remaining 15 LMP 900's in the field for the sportscar classic.

Ever since the LMP 675 class was officially sanctioned for the American Le Mans Series, sportscar purists and fans alike have debated whether a 675 car could achieve 900 lap times. It appears as though the performance of the KnightHawk MG Lola has answered that question with a resounding - yes! It also appears that Saturday's race will now become even more interesting.

Saturday's 50th anniversary race may very well turn out to be sportscar's version of David and Goliath!

The ALMS seems to have succeeded at creating a more affordable prototype category to stimulate increased prototype entries. As last year's Sebring race, there was one 675 entry -- KnightHawk's. This year there are ten. With today's results showing the class' increased ability to compete, it will surely generate more interest, more entries and yes, even more debate.

Several of racing's heavy-hitters have believed that the LMP 675 class had the potential to do exactly what was done today -- but not until a manufacturer made a decision to build a purpose-built LMP 675 from the ground-up. MG Lola made that decision - and today's qualifying results are indeed a testimony to their effort.

"We chipped away at the times over the last few days, and we finished up today doing a really good job," said team qualifier Jonny Kane. "This is a privateer team, and all the guys worked really hard and did a super job. Qualifying 3rd on the grid is really quite exceptional for a 675 car -- I'm very pleased with the week so far. I look forward to the race this weekend and I think we can do well. The most important thing is to get to the finish. Hopefully we'll be there at the end."

"We've proven that we can be quick,' said team co-owner and driver Mel Hawkins, 'but that's just the first test. Now we must prove to be reliable -- and the race this Saturday will be our second test."

I'd like to commend the entire team for their exceptional effort -- 3rd overall was beyond our expectations -- and we're really quite happy about it," said co-owner and driver Steve Knight. "Jonny was absolutely incredible, truly a world-class driver. The team did an outstanding job of prepping the car and sorting through some handling problems we experienced earlier in the week. We're all very excited and really look forward to the race!"

-kr-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Jonny Kane , Steve Knight