Sebring: Post-race report

BY THE NUMBERS: MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING Braselton, Ga. - It's hard to imagine a more exciting and competitive start to the 2005 American Le Mans Series season. The 53rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 19 saw the closest...


Braselton, Ga. - It's hard to imagine a more exciting and competitive start to the 2005 American Le Mans Series season. The 53rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 19 saw the closest finish in its history, the triumphant return of Aston Martin in GT1, Miracle Motorsports repeat in LMP2, and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing become the first privateer GT2 team to win at Sebring since 1999.

There are plenty of interesting numbers to digest before the series heads to Road Atlanta for the Grand Prix of Atlanta on April 17:

1. LEHTO MOVES UP: As part of the overall winning No. 1 ADT Champion Racing Team Audi R8, Finland's JJ Lehto moved into a tie for second place in all-time ALMS victories. Lehto, who shared last year's LMP1 driving title with teammate Marco Werner, joined Corvette Racing's Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell with 21 victories. Sascha Maassen leads all drivers with 22 wins.

2. BRAVO BRABS: By being part of Aston Martin Racing's GT1 victory, Australian David Brabham has won races for three different manufacturers: Aston Martin, Panoz and Ferrari. Jan Magnussen, Brabham's former teammate at Panoz and Ferrari, is the only other driver to have won in three different marques.

Brabham also now has won at least one race a year for six years, tying him with Magnussen and Maassen for the most in series history. Tom Kristensen (who drove with Lehto and Werner at Sebring) and Lucas Luhr now are tied for second with Fellows, O'Connell and Kelly Collins with at least one victory a year for five seasons.

3. LUCAS LOVES SEBRING: Luhr, part of the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR crew in GT2, won his class for the fifth time at Sebring, the most victories at the same venue in series history. Luhr, who joined the series in 2000, has won at Sebring every year except 2004, when he finished second.

The German also moved to sole possession of fifth place on the all-time victory list with 19.

4. MIRACLE AT SEBRING: The Miracle Motorsports team was the only team to repeat at Sebring after winning in 2004. The No. 10 Courage C-65 AER of Ian James, Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry finished 73 laps ahead of runner-up Kruse Motorsports. It was the largest margin of victory in any class in ALMS history.

5. AUDI OUT FRONT: Not surprisingly, the two ADT Champion Racing Team Audi R8s led a considerable number of laps. The No. 1 car led 267 laps, with Kristensen leading 108 laps and Werner leading 107. The No. 2 car led 87 laps, the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola EX257 AER led 10 laps, and the No. 27 Kruse Motorsports Courage C-65 Judd led three laps.

6. WHITE LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE: With its victory at Sebring, the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing team has won two of the world's most prestigious endurance races in less than a year. The team will go for its second class title at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in about two months, quite an accomplishment for a privateer team.

7. THIS AND THAT: Porsche cars took the top six spots in GT2. The No. 51 Panoz Motor Sports Esperante GTLM was seventh. . Champion Racing Audis have won four ALMS races in a row, dating back to Mosport in 2004. It also has finished 1-2 in the last three races (Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca in '04 and '05 Sebring). . The Audi R8 has won a series-leading 41 races. The Corvette C5-R is second with 31. Porsche is the winningest manufacturer in series history with 49 wins. . Brabham and teammates Stephane Ortelli and Darren Turner ended Corvette Racing's nine-race winning streak in GT1. .102 different drivers have won ALMS races. The two latest were Ortelli (Aston Martin Racing) and Patrick Long (Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing). . The second Founder's Cup will be presented before the podium ceremony at Road Atlanta. Duncan Dayton won the first trophy at Sebring. . The J3 Racing's No. 79 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR is looking to continue its momentum from Sebring. The team finished second in GT2, its highest finish in an ALMS event. . The No. 5 Pacific Coast Motorsports Corvette C5-R was a pleasant surprise at Sebring. Drivers Alex Figge and Ryan Dalziel, who both competed in the Toyota Atlantic Series last year and will compete full-time in the ALMS this year, made their series debut and finished 10th in GT1 with Dave Empringham, a former Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantic standout.


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Series ALMS
Drivers Duncan Dayton , Ryan Dalziel , David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Darren Turner , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Stéphane Ortelli , Sascha Maassen , Kelly Collins , Lucas Luhr , Ian James , Patrick Long , Marco Werner , Alex Figge , Chris McMurry , Jeff Bucknum , JJ Lehto
Teams Aston Martin Racing , Corvette Racing , Dyson Racing