Sebring International Raceway, USA, Friday 14th March 2003: Britain's newest international sportscar team, Taurus Sports, got their 2003 campaign off to an excellent start yesterday when Essex driver Justin Keen qualified the team's Lola Judd ...
Sebring International Raceway, USA, Friday 14th March 2003: Britain's newest international sportscar team, Taurus Sports, got their 2003 campaign off to an excellent start yesterday when Essex driver Justin Keen qualified the team's Lola Judd B2K/10b in a highly promising twelfth spot for this weekend's Sebring 12 Hours endurance race.
Keen, a recent convert to sportscar racing, lapped the bumpy 4 mile Florida track in a time of 1m 53.461s, an average speed of 117.397mph, putting in two almost identical laps for the Norfolk-based team. Starting in front of the Lola, operated by the highly experienced team owner Ian Dawson, are the two factory Bentleys which start on the front row, three factory Audis and several other highly funded cars.
"I am very happy with our lap although a little disappointed we were knocked out of the top ten in the last few minutes of qualifying. I feel we can make a very good showing."
In the race, America's biggest sportscar event which is expected to attract a crowd of over 100,000, Keen shares the car with fellow Briton Phil Andrews and America's Larry Oberto.
Ian Dawson, Team Proprietor and Race Director:
"Justin did an excellent job and proved that we have a car which is ready to go and race. We weren't in qualifying trim and I believe we could surprise quite a few people in the race. Although we have a small team here compared with the big manufacturers, I am very happy with the package."
"Entry invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be partly based on the Sebring results, it is therefore important that we perform well this weekend to further our challenge for honours in June. We have already shown that although Taurus Sports is a brand new team, we are serious and professional contenders."
"I am really looking forward to the race and to driving with Larry and Justin. Everything is working better than I expected."
Ian Dawson set up Taurus Sports only three months ago having previously worked extensively in both Formula 1 and sportscars. Last year he was Race Director of Team Ascari and masterminded their Sebring success - the highest placed finish by a British car driven by an all British driving crew in over 40 years.
The Sebring 12 Hours is in its 51st year and is the opening round of the 2003 American Le Mans Series. This year the race has attracted a massive 57 car entry. The grid is set for Saturday's race, today the teams will take advantage of further practice sessions to allow for fine tuning.