FIRST IMPRESSIONS FROM SEBRING A great majority of the entries for the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida hit the circuit Monday for the first of two test days leading up to the American Le Mans Series' ...
FIRST IMPRESSIONS FROM SEBRING
A great majority of the entries for the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida hit the circuit Monday for the first of two test days leading up to the American Le Mans Series' 2009 season opener. Most everyone had plenty to say.
Dirk Muller, BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team
BMW M3 (GT2)
"We are still doing some development, and that is going along nicely. It's almost like a different program now. It's nice having our car to be able to work on. There is no grip yet this early in the week. The car has the same power (as the previous M3 in 2001) but is 100 kilograms heavier. But the technology has improved immensely since that time, of course. It still feels like a BMW and did when I first sat in it."
Sebastien Bourdais, Team Peugeot Total
Peugeot 908 HDi (LMP1)
"It's already been three years since I was here last and won (in GT2 with Panoz). This race always has been one of the toughest races of the season. It's always the first test or the last test, depending on what your program is. It will be a big fight for sure with Audi and Acura, and it's very good preparation for Le Mans. One of the biggest issues for us is trying to get our air conditioning unit running in our car and make sure it works. It already is very tight inside the car as it is, and now we have to add the ventilation system."
Dindo Capello, Audi Sport Team Joest
Audi R15 TDI (LMP1)
"This is my fourth time debuting an Audi prototype. To describe how this car is different, it's enough to look back over time and see how the technology has changed. It has improved so much over the last 10 years. You can compare cornering speeds and I'm certain we are 20-25 kph faster today than we were going through Turn 1 in 1999. And from an aerodynamic point of view, this also is so much more advanced. With the weight distribution of the car we have gained a lot of agility, which was not a strong point for the R10 TDI. I remember when I saw this car for the first time, I thought it was the most beautiful and best race car Audi ever produced."
Lucas Molo, LG Motorsports
Corvette C6 (GT2)
"The car is not the problem. This is a long track plus it is my first time racing in the U.S. Most of my work is memorizing the turns, where to brake and make it seem as normal as possible. It's still the first day and we have a lot more to come. I was trying to be patient and take things slow, and I think I did it the right way."
Ritchie Holt, Primetime Race Group
Dodge Viper Competition Coupe (GT2)
"My first day at the track has been an eye-opening experience. There is a recognizable difference between my GTS Viper and how the Primetime Viper handles. It was difficult to get a good feel for the car as we have been dealing with some mechanical issues today. Once we work through the kinks, I will gain a better understanding of what I'm up against."
The American Le Mans Series will open its 11th season with the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 21. SPEED will televise the race live from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-11 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com. Sebring also will mark the debut of the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge for 2009.
Tickets are available at americanlemans.com or by calling (800) 626-RACE. A limited number of hotel rooms and rental condos are still available. Accommodations and general information are available by contacting the Sebring Chamber of Commerce at (863) 385-8448.