Schroeder Qualifies 20th for Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring SEBRING, Fla., March 18 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., qualified 20th out of a field of 60 on Thursday afternoon for Saturday's 47th annual Superflo 12 Hours of...
Schroeder Qualifies 20th for Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring
SEBRING, Fla., March 18 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., qualified 20th out of a field of 60 on Thursday afternoon for Saturday's 47th annual Superflo 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring Int'l Raceway. He and co-drivers Pete Halsmer of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Tom Volk of Blissfield, Mich., are representing sponsors Supreme Exhaust System Products, Purity Farms and Yokohama Tires in the No. 95 Chevy Riley & Scott entered by the team that Volk owns, TRV Motorsport based in Toledo, Ohio.
The team was 24th overall in the first round of qualifying on Wednesday afternoon with a lap at 2:01.309, or 109.80 mph. They made major adjustments prior to Thursday afternoon's final round of qualifying to improve their speed by almost 4 mph. Schroeder's official best lap in qualifying went down in the record books at 1:57.438 around the 3.70-mile, 17-turn road course for an average speed of 113.42 mph.
This year's race is even more competitive than usual because many top European entries have been added to the field. The pole was won by one of them, a BMW driven by J.J. Lehto of Finland, Tom Kristensen of Denmark and Jorg Muller of Germany. Lehto set a new track record of 1:49.850 for an average speed of 121.25 mph.
"This is the largest and most diverse field of prototype cars we've ever faced," Volk said. "I believe there are over 30 prototypes here. Usually our class gets about 15 to 20 entries.
"Our strategy, which has worked well in the past, has always been to concentrate on our race set-ups rather than go for the pole. We aren't deviating from that here, and I think we're doing quite well so far."
The team is very pleased with the power being supplied by its brand-new 6-liter Chevy engine, which was prepared by Clements Racing Engines of Spartansburg, S.C. Their major challenges so far here at Sebring have been getting through technical inspection and dialing in the car. Technical inspection was a drawn-out affair since this is the first race in the American LeMans Series, and the inspection process was lengthy. Discovering what the Riley & Scott liked best in terms of set-up was also a learning experience, since this is only the team's second event with this particular car.
Sebring, a road course that started life as an airport, is very bumpy. Volk said that the car undergoes as much punishment here in a 12-hour race as it does in the 24-hour race at Daytona in January.
"On Wednesday the car was hopping over all the bumps and we were losing a lot of time in the turns," Schroeder said. "We were great on the straightaways because of the power we were getting out of our new engine, but we had a lot of work to do on the suspension, primarily working with the shocks. We made major changes Wednesday night, and on Thursday morning we were back in the hunt. The team is doing a great job.
"The most important thing is always to try to finish," he added. "That's the name of the game in sports car endurance racing."
Last year the TRV Motorsport team finished fourth in the top class, World Sports Cars, here at Sebring in a Chevy Kudzu. Schroeder, Volk and Lyn St. James were the drivers in that event.
Saturday's race starts at 10 a.m. The start will be broadcast live on ESPN. Then the coverage switches to ESPN2 with an update at 1:30 p.m. and the finish at 10 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard.
Some 100,000 people are expected to see the event in person on Saturday.
For more information, Internet users can call up TRV's website at www.trvmotorsport.com, Jeret Schroeder's website at www.pitpass.org, Sebring International Raceway's website at www.sebringraceway.com or SportsCar's website at www.professionalsportscar.com.