Sebring Winter Test, day one report

PENSKE PORSCHE FASTEST ON FIRST DAY OF AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES WINTER TEST Sebring, Fla. - Picking up where it left off at the 2005 season finale, Penske Racing's Porsche RS Spyder posted the fastest time on the first day of the American Le Mans...

PENSKE PORSCHE FASTEST ON FIRST DAY OF AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES WINTER TEST

Sebring, Fla. - Picking up where it left off at the 2005 season finale, Penske Racing's Porsche RS Spyder posted the fastest time on the first day of the American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway. Despite running just 12 laps Monday, the No. 6 car posted a lap of 1:49.93 with Lucas Luhr at the wheel.

Luhr's lap was 0.1 seconds off the pole-sitting time from last year's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, set by JJ Lehto in an Audi R8. Luhr and Sascha Maassen teamed to win the LMP2 class in the car's debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October.

The Porsche prototype battled a couple of maladies during the day, including replacing an engine after Monday's first session and dealing with coolant issues in the afternoon. The team expects to have everything in order for Tuesday's three sessions.

Next was the No. 9 Highcroft Racing Lola EX257-AER of Duncan Dayton, Rick Knoop, Gregor Fisken and Andy Wallace at 1:50.747. It was a good showing for the team, which acquired the Lola from Dyson Racing in the offseason.

Intersport Racing's No. 37 Lola B05/40-AER of Clint and Jon Field, and Liz Halliday was third at 1:50.840. Jon Field posted the lap, and Halliday was the quickest of all drivers during the day's first session.

Dyson Racing debuted its new AER-powered Lola B06/10 during the final session. After sorting out a few engine interface troubles in the earlier test periods, James Weaver turned a fast lap of 1:51.545.

Audi Sport North America's two Audi R10s made their American debuts with encouraging results. Rinaldo Capello set the quickest time in the No. 2 R10 - 1:54.25. Frank Biela wasn't far behind at 1:54.547. He was followed by B-K Motorsports' No. 8 Mazda-powered Courage C65 at 1:57.304.

Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz marked its return to the American Le Mans Series in grand fashion as it turned in the quickest GT2 times in each session. The No. 50 Panoz Esperante of Scott Maxwell and Gunnar Jeannette posted its best lap in the late session, at 2:04.743.

About 0.6 seconds back was the No. 55 Farnbacher Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Pierre Ehret, Lars Nielsen and Dominik Farnbacher. It was about a half-second better than Team PTG's two BMW M3s, also making a return to the Series. Joey Hand and Justin Marks, in the No. 21 car, were slightly faster than their teammates in the No. 22 entry, Bill Auberlen and Tom Milner Jr. Rounding out the field was the No. 80 Team LNT Panoz Esperante of Lawrence Tomlinson, Tom Kimber-Smith and Warren Hughes at 2:06.901.

The American Le Mans Series Winter Test continues Tuesday with three sessions scheduled: 9 to 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 3 to 6 p.m.

The American Le Mans Series begins its 2006 season with the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The 12-hour endurance classic is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST March 18 at Sebring International Raceway and will be televised on SPEED Channel. American Le Mans Series Radio will have flag-to-flag coverage available at www.americanlemans.com, along with IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.

-alms

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Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Duncan Dayton , Rinaldo Capello , Frank Biela , James Weaver , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Jon Field , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Scott Maxwell , Pierre Ehret , Warren Hughes , Justin Marks , Gregor Fisken , Tom Kimber-Smith , Liz Halliday , Lars Erik Nielsen , Dominik Farnbacher , Lawrence Tomlinson , JJ Lehto
Teams Team Penske , Dyson Racing , Multimatic Motorsports , Team LNT