Peugeot Fastest at Sebring –
Pedro Lamy kept Peugeot at the top of the timing sheets at Sebring International Raceway on Tuesday in the final test session for the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. Lamy’s time of 1:43.710 (128.435 mph) was the best in the field by 0.725 seconds with official practice sessions starting Wednesday.
The Peugeot 908 is racing in North America for the first time with Lamy, Nic Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin doing the honors. Saturday’s 12-hour season opener for the American Le Mans Series will serve as a diesel duel between Peugeot and Audi, which has won at Sebring every year since 2000 including the last two seasons with its diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI.
But it’s not just a two-car race. Marco Andretti made sure of that with a best lap of 1:44.435 (127.543 mph) that was fastest in LMP2 and second overall. Andretti will make his Series debut in the Acura ARX-01b for Andretti Green Racing, which won in class last year in its maiden American Le Mans Series race.
Andretti, the grandson of three-time Sebring overall winner Mario Andretti, was 0.279 seconds better than the first Audi of Marco Werner. He will drive the No. 2 R10 TDI with Lucas Luhr and Mike Rockenfeller.
Next was the second-place LMP2 car, the Acura of Lowe’s Fernandez Racing. Adrian Fernandez’s time in the car he will share with Luis Diaz was 1:45.549 (126.197 mph), good enough for a 0.6-second cushion over Dindo Capello in the second Audi he will drive with Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen.
Jan Magnussen went quickest for Corvette Racing in GT1. His lap of 1:56.742 (114.098 mph) was 0.155 seconds better than the sister Corvette C6.R of Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Max Papis. Magnussen will share duties with Ron Fellows and six-time Sebring winner Johnny O’Connell.
Jaime Melo kept Risi Competizione on top in GT2 with a time of 2:02.535 (108.704 mph) in the team’s No. 62 Ferrari F430 GT. Melo and Mika Salo will team with Gianmaria Bruni in an effort to repeat as class winners at the 12 Hours. Last year Melo, Salo and Johnny Mowlem won by 0.202 seconds for the closest finish in race history.
Flying Lizard Motorsports, the team Risi beat the checkered flag in 2007, was second quickest in class Tuesday. The team’s No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jörg Bergmeister, Wolf Henzler and Marc Lieb were just 0.283 seconds behind the Ferrari. Farnbacher Loles Racing’s Porsche of Dirk Werner, Marc Basseng and Bryce Miller was third in class at 2:02.829 (108.443 mph).
The 2008 American Le Mans Series season opens with the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 15. The race will start at 10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast live by SPEED, which will begin its coverage at 9:30 a.m. MotorsTV, SPEED Latin America and Greenlight Television will provide international coverage as well. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.
Road America Champ Car Schedule Change –
Road America released a revised line-up for its Road Race Showcase, scheduled for August 7-10, 2008, because of scheduling conflicts caused by the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series unification.
The showcase continues to highlight the American Le Mans Series in Saturday’s Generac 500. Sunday’s new tentative line-up now features the SPEED Pro Racing World Challenge GT & Touring Championships. According to George Bruggenthies, Road America president and general manager, “The SPEED World Challenge is always a big hit at Road America. We’re pleased that we could pair them with the American Le Mans Series and further enhance the experience for our sports car fans.”
In addition to the previously scheduled Star Mazda, Formula BMW and Skip Barber National Series, the Atlantic Series will double its show with two races on Saturday and Sunday. For open-wheel fans, these series have always provided fields of young, aggressive drivers whose ambitions fuel unpredictable finishes. “Fans can count on a solid weekend of premiere, competitive racing,” Bruggenthies stated, “It’s going to be a full, four-day schedule with very few breaks in track action–one of the best values fans will find this season in road racing.”
[Source: Road America]