SEBRING, Fla. March 12 2008 - Tafel Racing opened the 2008 American Le Mans Series season with a successful first day of official practice for the 56th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Debuting a pair of new...
SEBRING, Fla. March 12 2008 - Tafel Racing opened the 2008 American Le Mans Series season with a successful first day of official practice for the 56th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Debuting a pair of new Ferrari F430 GTCs at Sebring International Raceway this week, the Jim Tafel (Alpharetta, Ga.) owned team placed the No. 71 Tafel/Bell Micro Racing Ferrari F430 GTC second quickest in GT2 class for the first official practice. Dominik Farnbacher (Ansbach, Germany) turned the Cumming, Ga.-based team's hot lap of two minutes, 2.431 seconds late in the first session of the day. Allan Simonsen (Danish- born but living in Melbourne, Australia) turned the quickest lap of the day for the No. 73 Tafel Racing Ferrari F430 GTC team car at 2:04.746. That lap, run in the second of the two sessions on the 3.7-mile, 17- turn circuit, was fifth quickest for the practice.
The No. 71 Bell Micro Ferrari is being shared by Farnbacher, 2000 Sebring winner Dirk Muller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) and 2007 Le Mans Series GT2 Champion Rob Bell (Northants, England). Jim Tafel, Pierre Ehret (who lives in Santa Rosa, Calif. but was born in Germany) and 2007 Australian GT Champion Simonsen are teaming in the No. 73.
This Saturday's 12 Hour is the first for Bell and Simonsen. Ehret is the senior member of the team in Sebring starts with six. Muller will be making his fourth appearance, first since 2001. Farnbacher will be making his third start while owner/driver Jim Tafel will take the green flag for the second time in the classic event.
Qualifying will mark the highpoint of Thursday's on- track sessions. The 25-minute session for the GT2 and GT1 classes will begin at 3:05 pm (ET) following a one hour practice at 10:15 am for all classes. The day will close with a one hour, 45 minute night practice starting at 7:15 pm.
Jim Tafel, Team Owner/Driver, No. 73: "Today is really telling me what we've got. The Ferrari is actually really good right now. It is just the little things to make sure that we have as close to flawless race as possible. It isn't so much about lap times as it is being smooth and consistent and staying out of the pits. That gets you a long way in endurance races."