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American Le Mans Series Open-Cockpit Cars Back In Action At Long Beach

Trackside at the entrance to Shoreline Drive from the hairpin turn #11 during the Tequila Patron ALMS at Long Beach. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

American Le Mans Series Open-Cockpit Cars Back In Action At Long Beach

It has been four weeks since the last race and, to be honest, with this series, it seems as if an eternity of time has passed us by.

The American version of this multi-class, closed wheel, full body motorsports racing is the most advanced and difficult type of racing one can witness, or manage from a Race Control perch. Just ask the former ALMS and new Race Control director of the IZOD IndyCar Series, Beaux Barfield, or the gentleman who replaced him at ALMS/IMSA, Paul Walter.

A total of 35 cars racing in five configuration classes – LMP1, LMP2, LMPC, GT, & GTC – are set for the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. This level of competition ties the 2010 field and represents the largest of any racing field at Long Beach in over 15 years.

One of the areas of interest that had the largest growth of teams and competitors for 2012 is the open-cockpit classes of LMP2 (4 cars – up from 2) and LMPC (9 cars – up from 4).

This excerpted and edited from ALMS -

ALMS Brings Full Field to Long Beach

Fresh off a record-setting season opener at Sebring, a full grid from the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón heads west to America’s premier street racing festival.
—-
The ALMS grid features sexy, exotic prototype sports cars and the world’s best GT racers, ready to tackle the streets of Long Beach for a sixth consecutive year. There are 11 auto and chassis marques represented among the five classes … and that doesn’t count four tire manufacturers!

Purpose-built prototype cars – both open and closed-top – are featured in three ALMS classes.
—-
The LMP2 (P2) grid continues to grow with four entries set for Long Beach. Level 5 Motorsports puts its unbeaten streak on the line with a pair of HPD prototypes. Team owner Scott Tucker drives both entries and teams with last year’s winning teammate Christophe Bouchut. The pair also won the Prototype Challenge at Long Beach in 2010.

Black Swan Racing and Conquest Endurance both have P2 entries on the grid at Long Beach. Black Swan races in the class for the first time at the event a season after it won the GT Challenge class. Its Lola-Honda is the one Level 5 drove to victory in 2011.

Conquest is a familiar face to Long Beach fans having fielded open-wheel entries for a number of years, but this season is the team’s first in sports cars. The team’s Morgan-Judd races on a street race for the first time this weekend.
—-
Sebring Prototype Challenge [LMPC] winner CORE autosport leads a pack of nine ORECA FLM09 prototypes [2011 had only 3] – all with Michelin tires – into Long Beach. There are more than a few names that Long Beach fans will recognize: Memo Gidley drives for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, and Bruno Junqueira occupies a seat in RSR Racing’s entry.
[Reference Here]

The Long Beach race for the American Le Mans Series is part of the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend which includes an IndyCar Series event and a celebrity race on the circuit that is located in downtown Long Beach, California.

Level 5 Motorsports is defending its 2011 LMP2 championship this season and is already off to a strong start. The team won the LMP2 class in the season’s first event last month and looks to continue that good fortune at Long Beach, the second event on the schedule.

While winning its class at Sebring, Level 5 also earned a fourth-place overall result, making it the highest-placed American Le Mans Series finisher. It was an even more impressive accomplishment considering the level of competition from the more powerful LMP1 category, which had 11 entries, including three factory Audi prototypes.

“The competition we will face this season is very strong,” Tucker said. “We had a good run at Sebring and showed we have what it takes to win. We’re hoping for more success at Long Beach.”

Someone other than CORE autosport’s Gunnar Jeannette will be hoisting the LMPC class winner’s trophy late Saturday evening for the simple reason that Jeannette won’t be back at the Beach in search of a three-peat. That’s not to say his team won’t.

Ryan Dalziel and CORE autosport (LMPC class winner at the first round race at Sebring) will be reunited for the second round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón on the streets of Long Beach. This event marks the tenth anniversary of Dalziel’s U.S. racing debut in the U.S. – his first was at Long Beach in 2002, driving a Toyota Atlantic Championship machine. Dalziel will be paired in the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) class #06 Soloson Import ORECA FLM09 with lead driver and Sebring winner, Alex Popow.

“Long Beach was my first race ever in the U.S. and when I saw it for the first time I knew it was the Monoco of the U.S. It really opened up my eyes as to how great U.S. racing can be with the combination of venue, course layout and fans, and really bolstered my decision to keep racing in the U.S. I’ve made sure to return to Long Beach whether I was driving or not,” said Dalziel. “I have worked with Alex for a long time and it’s always good to be driving with him, especially with a team that is as professional as CORE autosport. My goal is to help Alex learn the ‘tricks’ of Long Beach, which is challenging because it’s quite fast for a street circuit, while helping him gain points and win the championship.”

“I know Ryan is a good, fast and safe driver,” responded team-mate Alex Popow. ‘Having Ryan as my co-driver gives me confidence, as I have never raced on the streets of Long Beach before. I know he knows the track really well, definitely knows the car and he has a great relationship with CORE autosport – all good things for success. “With Ryan’s speed and the tips he can give me to be fast and smart on the track, we have a very good shot to stay out of trouble and win the race.”

Additional Tequila Patron ALMS at Long Beach preview information HERE.

The 2012 Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will take place on Saturday, April 14 at the temporary street course in Long Beach, Calif. On Friday, April 13, the teams will practice for two hours at 7:15 a.m. PT / 10:15 a.m. ET, with qualifying at 5:50 p.m. PT / 8:50 p.m. ET, which can be seen live on-line at ESPN3. Saturday’s race will be broadcast live at 4:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and on-line at ESPN3. Live timing and scoring can be found on the ALMS website at www.alms.com.

… notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as American Le Mans Series Open-Cockpit Cars Back In Action At Long Beach on Technorati **

New Media notes, quotes, and Tweets from the 60th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring

The team of the #2 Audi R18 TDI driven by Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello, celebrate their victory, once again, with the team of Timp Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Loic Duval, who finished in 2nd place in the #3 Audi R18 TDI at the 60th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring! It was a long, hard 12 hour race which was filled with a lot of drama and many wrecks on course. Image Credit: Josh Decker via QuattroWorld

There are many ways people use to try to communicate what they experience when they witness an event like a competition between people using machines of motion. Some write stories, some splice scenes from images captured in stills and video, while others capture observations registered in New Media posted on the internet via blogs, 140 character notes submitted to Twitter which are known as “Tweets”, and emailed PDF’s. The following entry are observations registered in New Media posted on the internet for Saturday’s 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.

The captured observations, notes and quotes begin with a little more than five hours left in the 12 hour endurance race and continues to the end.

Allan McNish (#2-P1 Audi R18) posts his 28th ALMS victory, 4th at Sebring. Image Credit: ALMS

5:45 p.m. ET: Huge letdown for the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Darren Turner whose left rear wheel departed the car. Yellow flag for the stranded Aston which was running fourth in GT-Pro.

Olivier Crouzet @crewzyC7
RT @paulcrumlish: Sunset at #sebring12 @sebringraceway #alms #wec pic.twitter.com/32LEFOyQ

ALMS Racing @almsnotes
TIght in #P2. Bouchut and @Level5Racing only 0.633 seconds ahead of Dalziel in the Starworks HPD. #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

Muscle Milk Racing @MuscleMilkRace
Lucas gets by JRM for 3rd overall! Still 2 hours and 39 minutes to go! #ALMS #Sebring12

Pat W @toomuchracing
What rotten luck for JRM, Dumbreck/Brabham/Chandhok. :( Suspension failure after running 3rd.

8:51 PM ET

Nick Guzman @DarkKnightC6R
RT @almsnotes: Top six in #GT within 8.469 seconds. Did anyone tell them this is endurance racing? #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

9:28 PM ET

Kevin Toy @kevintoy888
Meanwhile, for you #INDYCAR fans, @EJVISO is still leading the PC class. *knocking on wood* #Sebring12 #ALMS

Kenichi Matsuo @stargazer_R
1 hour remains. Next routine pit stop will be final. #sebring #wec #alms

9:30 p.m. ET: One hour to go and the GT battle is heating up. JanMagnussen takes over the class-leading Corvette, but makes two mistakes–the first by putting it in reverse when trying to pull away, then cruising out of the pits and onto the track too slowly, letting the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari get by.

9:32 p.m. ET: Class leaders:

LMP1: Tom Kristensen
LMP2: Stephane Sarrazin
LMPC: E.J. Viso
GT-Pro: Jorg Mueller
GT-Am: Julien Canal
GTC: Dion von Moltke

OAK Racing Live @OAKRacingLive
The clock ticks past 11 hours here with @olivierpla still in contention for LMP2 victory. +24secs to @starworksmotor. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

Muscle Milk Racing @MuscleMilkRace
Less than an hour to go! Simon is always in 3rd overall and Memo continues in 5th. #ALMS #Sebring12

9:41 PM ET

Alianora La Canta @lacanta
#sebring12 #alms #wec Things are quiet in LMP1, but the gap between the top 3 LMP2 cars (#44, #24 and #055) is 26 seconds.

Sport Auto Live @SportAutoLive
Top 3 GTE-Am : P1 Porsche 911 n°88 , P2 Corvette n°50 , P3 Corvette n°70. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

Alianora La Canta @lacantaMuscle Milk Racing @MuscleMilkRace
RT @almsnotes: Late-race trouble for @MuscleMilkRace! Reports of fueling rig problems. #ALMS #WEC #Sebring12
#sebring12 #alms #wec The #3 Audi (Bernhard P2) has pitted with, at a minimum, severe light bank damage.

Tony DiZinno @tonydizinno
That’s least of 6 car concerns. 016 Dyson now 1L away from being on same lap, 2L from overtaking. #DejaVuAllOverAgain #ALMS #Sebring12

Nathan Grundle @NathanGrundle
RT @almsnotes: Top six in #GT within 8.469 seconds. Did anyone tell them this is endurance racing? #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

10:05 PM ET

Jack Payne @jack4cap
#alms Joey hand retakes GT lead.

Laura Pritchard @LJ_Pritchard
Endurance racing. The proverbial it’s not over until the fat lady sings. @radiolemans @specutainment #WEC #sebring12hrs #alms

Mathilde berger @MatbergerBerger
RT @OAKRacingLive: @olivierpla’s pitstop has dropped him behind the @Level5Racing HPD. Time to shine Olivier. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

ROBERT LACAMBRA @robertlacambra
12 HRS OF SEBRING – 26 Minutes to go – Class Leaders #ALMS twitpic.com/8xs79m

Vukie @Vukie
RT @almsnotes: There is just 0.18 seconds between @JoeyHandRacing and Olivier Beretta with 21 minutes left. #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

Sport Auto Live @SportAutoLive
Top 5 LMP1 : P1 Audi R18 n°2 , P2 Audi R18 n°3 , P3 Pescarolo n°16 , P4 Lola Mazda n°016 , P5 HPD ARX n°21. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

OAK Racing Live @OAKRacingLive
Less than 15mins left here and LMP2 looks all-but settled, unless fuel plays a part of course. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

10:19 p.m. ET: Olivier Beretta out-brakes himself trying to pass Joey Hand for the GT-Pro lead. These two are providing the best fight on the track.

Michelin Alley @MichelinAlley
About 10 mins to go. Looks like Jan will be fighting it out for third place at #Sebring12. #alms #wec

Michelin Alley @MichelinAlley
5 mins to go: Audi No.2 leads. Starworks HPD leads P2, @JoeyHandRacing leads GT and @COREautosport’s No.06 leads PC. #Sebring12 #wec #ALMS

James Bogue @unitmotorsports
2 mins to go. Olivier Beretta slices past @JoeyHandRacing to grab GT lead. Last lap now. #alms #wec

Sunset at Sebring - The #56 BMW was consistently fast. Image Credit: James Fish | The Epoch Times

Bernard T. Bolt Esq @bernietb
Allan McNish exits the last corner and wins the Sebring 12 hour. #WEC #Sebring12 #ALMS

Michelin Alley @MichelinAlley
Hand back past but then pushed off. Beretta leads again in GT. #wec #ALMS

Kev @KevD9
Beretta prevails. What racing for the GT lead right at the end of a 12 hour race. Another great one. #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

Marcel ten Caat @dsceuroeditor
BMW wins Sebring, Corvette second, Beretta third. #Sebring12 #ALMS #WEC

Kevin Toy @kevintoy888
What a GT/GTE-Pro finish! gonna need a video replay. BMW 56 wins, followed by Corvette 4 and Ferrari 71. #Sebring12 #WEC #ALMS

Kenichi Matsuo @stargazer_R
Checkered flag! Cong Audi, Sarrazin, Pescarolo, and BMW #sebring #wec #alms

Matt Eagan @mattheweagan
@JoeyHandRacing is an animal!!! Get that position back! Big win – what a finish. #Sebring12 #ALMS #WEC

corey burbick @coreyburbick
class is in ALMS always goes down to the wire even after 12 hours of racing #12hoursofsebring #ALMS #marchmadness

l’endurance magazine @lendurancelive
RT @bernietb: Man. This endurance racing shit is SO BORING, eh? #WEC #Sebring12 #ALMS

Indy Racing Review @INDYracereview
Congratulations @COREautosport @EJVISO for winning the @almsnotes PC Class 60th Anniversary @sebringraceway 12 Hours #wec #alms #indycar2012

Andy Lally @AndyLally
Thank you.RT @ericpwilson Amazing result for No. 044 @FlyingLizard_MS with @AndyLally making a last-lap pass for P6 in #ALMS GT. #Sebring12

Helio Castroneves @h3lio
@EJVISO : buenissimo hombre te felicito!! Well done!

Marshall Pruett @marshallpruett
Also awesome for former open-wheel standout Jonathan Summerton, who won GT with @JoeyHandRacing and @RLLracing on his team and race debut.crazy how competive the GT

Graham Rahal @GrahamRahal
What a job by @RLLracing and @JoeyHandRacing to hang on to win. Ass of the year is Olivier Beretta who tried to take him out after 12 hrs!

Eric P. Wilson @ericpwilson
Replay showed Joey Hand didn’t know what he was taking about, was hit by No. 51 while No. 71 spun behind avoiding Hand #ALMS #Sebring12

Michael Friedman @mfriedman_63
Long Beach ALMS race will be live, on ESPN3, and ESPN2 TV it appears, in 4 weeks from today. #ALMS

Image Credit: ROBERT LACAMBRA via TweetDeck

At 10:31 pm (12h 0m running), Checkered Flag

Unofficial Top three in class:

(1) #2-P1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18) 325 laps
(2) #3-P1 Bernhard/Dumas/ Duval (Audi R18) 321 laps (-4 Laps)
(6) #16-P1 Collard/Boullion/ Jousse (Pescarolo Judd) 318 laps (-7 Laps)

(3) #44-P2 Potolicchio/Dalziel/ Sarrazin (HPD ARX-03b Honda) 319 laps
(4) #055-P2 Tucker/C.Bouchut/Barbosa (HPD ARX-03b) 319 laps (32.274-)
(5) #24-P2 Nicolet/Lahaye/ Pla (Morgan/Judd) 318 laps (-1 Laps)

(12) #06-PC Popow/Viso/Friselle (Oreca FLM09) 312 laps
(13) #52-PC Leitzinger/Dobson/ Junco (Oreca FLM09) 311 laps (-1 Laps)
(15) #05-PC Bennett/Braun/ Lux (Oreca FLM09) 310 laps (-2 Laps)

(18) #56-GT Hand/Summerton/Mueller (BMW E92 M3) 307 laps
(19) #03-GT Magnussen/Garcia/ Taylor (Corvette C6-ZR1) 307 laps (6.370-)
(20) #71-GT Bertolini/Cioci/ Beretta (Ferrari F458 Italia) 307 laps (8.110-)

(29) #88-GTE-AM Ried/Roda/ Ruberti (Porsche 911 RSR 997) 298 laps
(31) #70-GTE-AM Bourret/Gibon/ Belloc (Corvette C6-ZR1) 297 laps (-1 Laps)
(39) #50-GTE-AM Bornhauser/Canal/ Lamy (Corvette C6-ZR1) 288 laps (-10 Laps)

(33) #023-GTC Sweedler/Bell/ von Moltke (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 292 laps
(35) #022-GTC MacNeil/Keen/ Dumoulin (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 291 laps (-1 Laps)
(37) #34-GTC LeSaffre/Faulkner/ Bleekemolen (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 290 laps (-2 Laps)

Performance Hallmarks:

Allan McNish (#2-P1 Audi R18) posts his 28th ALMS victory, 4th at Sebring.

Tom Kristensen (#2-P1 Audi R18) posts his 13th ALMS victory, 7th at Sebring.

Dindo Capello (#2-P1 Audi R18) posts his 36th ALMS victory, 6th at Sebring

Alex Papow (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) first ALMS victory

E.J. Viso (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) first ALMS victory

Burt Frisselle (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) second ALMS victory, first at Sebring

Stephane Sarrazin (#44-P2 HPD ARX-03b Honda) seventh ALMS victory, first at Sebring

Vicente Potolicchio (#44-P2 HPD ARX-03b Honda) first ALMS victory

Ryan Dalziel (#44-P2 HPD ARX-03b Honda) first ALMS victory

Joey Hand (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) sixth ALMS victory, second at Sebring

Dirk Mueller (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) seventeenth ALMS victory, third at Sebring

Jonathon Summerton (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) first ALMS victory

Paolo Ruberti (#88-GTE-AM Porsche 911 RSR 997) records his first ALMS win

Christian Ried (#88-GTE-AM Porsche 911 RSR 997) records his first ALMS win

Gianluca Roda (#88-GTE-AM Porsche 911 RSR 997) records his first ALMS win

Townsend Bell (#023-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) first ALMS win

Dion von Moltke (#023-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) second ALMS win, first at Sebring

Bill Sweedler (#023-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) first ALMS win

Selected Driver Quotes:

(1) #2-P1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18) 325 laps

Allan McNish (#2-P1 Audi R18) “We’ve been racing this car for nearly a year, the first time here at Sebring. It adapted very, very well. The car is built for LE Mans, but the rigors here are what makes this track and the race so difficult for the engineers and the drivers. The R18 goes to its retirement after a victory. Sounds like a good way to send it off after 2011. We are looking now at the next race in the World Endurance Championship. We had a great run from start to finish. The work starts here. [during the last stint] I had Howden in my head the last time. All the attack situations. I heard some noises at the beginning of the race, which was more scary than at the end. But we have a very good history of finishing races at Audi. We know going in that we have a chance at victory. As drivers, we can be thankful for that, because there have been times in our careers where that wasn’t the case. [about the closed cockpit car] “The closed car doesn’t have the vision as an open car, the regs are in such a way and with the big tire we use, it takes the down force loads we require. The closed car is apparent it is more efficient. The advantage is the speed in the straights, especially with the small restrictors. It’s difficult to describe what it’s like, we’ve done a lot of testing so we’re used to it. But this race with 60-some cars, and the speed differentials was a great test again for us. We had to be very precise in traffic to make sure we made decisive maneuvers but not take excess risk.”

(3) #44-P2 Potolicchio/Dalziel/Sarrazin (HPD ARX-03b Honda) 319 laps

Ryan Dalziel (#44-P2 HPD ARX-03b Honda) “Its huge, Enzo and I have been with Starworks for a few years. We built a car in 9 days for 24 hours at Daytona and put it on the pole. You work with people who have perfected their craft after years and years. Our experience is very different, but a huge reward for guys who have not slept all week. They didn’t sleep at all last night. IT was a great start to what will be my most exciting season to date. I cant wait to get to the next race.

(12) #06-PC Popow/Viso/Friselle (Oreca FLM09) 312 laps

Alex Papow (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) “It was amazing to be here and we set a deal with Core Auto Sports 10 days ago. Just last Wednesday before coming to the track on Sunday and were told we think we have a chance for the championship. And it is here, we did it. We got first place. The team did a professional job and we just drove and made first place. It is incredible. It was my first time in the car and at Sebring. It is going to be good.

E.J. Viso (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) “For me it has been a very exciting week, he [Alex Popow] has been my best friend for so many years. He called me and said do you want to do this race. I know this track because of the IndyCar testing at the south circuit. But to learn a new track is always fun. But the program CORE Autosport has is a fantastic crew. It was a fantastic race.”

(18) #56-GT Hand/Summerton/Mueller (BMW E92 M3) 307 laps

Joey Hand (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) “It was basically the last 2 hours and 45 minutes that was the crazy train I was on. We talked about this, what do we have for this race, we knew we didn’t have the ultimate lap. We knew we had the smartest guys, starting with Bobby Rahal, then BMW, Dunlop, a lot of great people. We had 4 or 5 issues that could have taken us laps down. But we pitted on the right laps, in the right place. Coming down the last laps, we stinted 1 and a half or 1 and 3/4 and we just took fuel at the end. I was a little surprised. Then Berretta got around me, then I got back around him again. We got sideways again, the next thing I was around him. I can’t be here all year, I can help all I can. Summerton did an excellent job, he really impressed me. He didn’t make any mistakes. In a car to car competition, you have no chance making the move Beretta tried, it worked out for me, mainly because I was expecting it. When I was spinning, I kept it straight, but I knew he had a right front flat, so I knew if I could get up to him and get him jammed, it would be easy to get around.”

(29) #88-GTE-AM Ried/Roda/Ruberti (Porsche 911 RSR 997) 298 laps

Paolo Ruberti (#88-GTE-AM Porsche 911 RSR 997) “We are really happy to win the first FIA WEC and the 12 hours of Sebring. It’s like a dream. The car was perfect, we had a bit of trouble in the last hour. I did the last stint without the power steering. I kept the car on good pace with a good results. The Ferrari is a little faster than us, but we were in fact in the best position. In this place we need to now finish all the races for a good results.

(33) #023-GTC Sweedler/Bell/von Moltke (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 292 laps

Dion von Moltke (#023-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) “What a crazy race. A great one-two finish for Alex Job and the team. Thanks to Battery Tender, William Rast and PR Newswire for all of their support. Bill and Townsend did an amazing job all day. I had a scare with two hours to go when I got hit in Turn 17. I had to push the last two hours and was able to get a gap, make the last stop and bring it home for the win. The car ran flawless all day. The crew put a great car under us, and we delivered.”

ALMS Racing @almsnotes
Don’t miss #Sebring12 on ABC starting at noon ET and 3 p.m. PT today – Sunday. Don’t miss a classic! #ALMS #WEC @sebringraceway

… notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as New Media Notes, Quotes, And Tweets From The 60th Mobil 1 12 Hours Of Sebring on Technorati **

It’s Audi R18 Diesel 1-2-3 Overall At 2012 Sebring Qualifications

Audi R18 #1 on the circuit. To be driven in the 12 Hours by Lotterer, Treluyer and Fassler. Image Credit: MichelinAlley

Qualifying for Saturday’s 60th Anniversary, Mobil 1, 12 Hours of Sebring was held today and with little surprise in the overall standings, the diesel-powered Audi R18′s took the top three positions with the three fastest times. The cars qualified in car number-badged numerical order, with cars #1, #2 and #3 in grid positions 1, 2 and 3. Andre Lotterer (driving the #1 Audi R18 – pictured), the defending champion at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, showed what pace the cars could achieve with the overall and LMP1 class poles at 1:45.820.

Andre Lotterer (#1-P1 Audi R18) Overall pole winner, “This is my first time to the Sebring race, but not the Sebring track as we have tested here before. It is better to come here during the race weekend. This a little more action and it is great to see so many people. It is a great atmosphere. We were here in December for testing so we knew a little bit about the new front straight wall going into Turn 1. This is the last race for the R18 so it is an emotional car for the drivers as we move to the new Audi. It feels good to come to a legendary race like Sebring to compete with the car one more time. Hopefully the car will finish very nicely tomorrow for us. (On his stop-and-go penalty) I had a little stressful incident with the pit lane penalty. Usually the pit limiter is always on, but it wasn’t that time. That was my mistake for not noticing. It didn’t really make my life more difficult. The car ran great and I was able to get in a good lap. This pole is really nice for the staff as the guys work so hard to prepare for this race. This is a nice reward for the mechanics who work on the car. I wasn’t perfect at turns 13 and 15 so I didn’t think I would be that fast. You usually need a near perfect lap for the pole. Looks like the rest of the lap was better than I expected.”

While the Audi effort was dominating, the rest of the field of 64 cars would care to be mentioned so to that end, the other class poles featured Muscle Milk Pickett Racing (ALMS P1), OAK Racing (WEC LMP2), Level 5 Motorsports (ALMS P2), RSR Racing (ALMS PC), AF Corse (WEC GTE Pro), Corvette Racing (ALMS GT), Luxury Racing (WEC GTE Am) and NGT Motorsport (ALMS GTC).

E.J. Viso captured while in the cockpit (in mirror) with the fender louvers shown in foreground. Image Credit: MichelinAlley

Top three in class (overall position on the grid – in parentheses):

(1) #1-P1 Andre Lotterer (Audi R18) 1:45.820
(2) #2-P1 Tom Kristensen (Audi R18) 1:46.215 (0.395-)
(3) #3-P1 Romain Dumas (Audi R18) 1:46.935 (1.115-)

(11) #24-P2 Olivier Pla (Morgan/Judd) 1:50.467
(12) #44-P2 Stephane Sarrazin (HPD ARX-03b Honda) 1:50.823 (0.356-)
(13) #41-P2 Elton Julian (Zytek Z11SN-Nissan) 1:51.809 (1.342-)

(21) #9-PC Bruno Junqueira (Oreca FLM09) 1:54.510
(22) #06-PC E.J. Viso (Oreca FLM09) 1:54.555 (0.045-)
(24) #025-PC Dane Cameron (Oreca FLM09) 1:54.628 (0.118-)

(31) #51-GT Gianmaria Bruni (Ferrari F458 GT) 1:58.427
(32) #59-GT Jaime Melo (Ferrari F458 Italia) 1:58.723 (0.296-)
(33) #03-GT Jan Magnussen (Corvette C6-ZR1) 1:58.996 (0.569-)

(40) #58-GTE-AM Dominik Farnbacher (Ferrari F458 Italia) 2:00.184
(44) #57-GTE-AM Niclas Jonsson (Ferrari F458 Italia) 2:00.929 (0.745-)
(46) #50-GTE-AM Pedro Lamy (Corvette C6-ZR1) 2:01.640 (1.456-)

(52) #30-GTC Sean Edwards (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 2:06.674
(53) #34-GTC Damien Faulkner (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 2:06.697 (0.023-)
(54) #022-GTC Leh Keen (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 2:06.711 (0.037-)

Much of the interest surrounded the performance of open-wheel focused drivers crossing over to get broader experience in this international endurance racing event.

Selected Post Qualifying Quotes:

Simon Pagenaud (#6-P1 HPD ARX-03a) “It was a good day overall. In the end, we placed the Muscle Milk HPD right behind the Audis and that’s very good. However, it was an interesting day trying to make the car work with the track. We tried different things and, by the end of the session, it was very positive. I think we’re heading in the right direction. I’m getting excited now. I think we have our finger on what we need to do and it’s coming together. It’s taking longer than we would like because the sessions are short. There are a lot of cars on track and there were a lot of red flags, which makes it very difficult for the team to get to try what they want to try. It’s especially frustrating for the engineers but everyone is doing a great job and I think we should be good for qualifying and Saturday for the race.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#95-P2 HPD ARX-03b) “This has been a driver’s dream week. Just in a race car almost every day. The old quote, “just living the dream” is my motto this week. Saturday and Monday I was here in the LMP2 sports car for Level 5, Tuesday and Wednesday in the IndyCar for Andretti at Barber Motorsports Park, Thursday, Friday and Saturday back at Sebring for practice, qualifying and the race. Next Wednesday, I’ll be at St. Pete for the IndyCar Series opener. I can’t wait to get started in the IndyCars. I feel very fortunate and appreciative that I am able to drive these sports cars as well as the IndyCars. It keeps me sharp in the cockpit. I feel fresh going into St. Pete next week. I love coming back and racing with Level 5. It is a great team. It’s a great environment and it is becoming routine to come to Sebring each year. I really enjoy Sebring. It is my home track and we are looking to defend our win from last year (in LMP2).

Bruno Junqueira (#9-PC Oreca FLM09) Pole winner in PC, “This pole gives our team some good morale for this race. The team told me to be patient and bring the car home and we will be fine. This is the first time I have driven this car. I love it. (Adjusting to PC) On the first lap, I felt the brakes and they were great. They really worked well. So I said, ‘Hey, it’s race time. So let’s go.’ And the car was great. Now, we are ready for the race. It should be exciting. It feels really good and I can’t explain how happy I am to be here with an equal car and chance to fight for pole and today I have to thank our team for giving me the opportunity. Today I knew if I drove good, I would get a shot and every lap I got better. I was very happy.”

E.J. Viso (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) “I’m very excited to be here. This is something that was very last minute. I just got a call last week asking if I wanted to do this race and, of course, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. I know one part of the track here at Sebring, the back section (from IndyCar testing). The rest of the track was
completely new to me. And racing these cars is also new to me. So far I am having a blast. This race has a great atmosphere here. I have seen a lot of familiar faces from my days of racing in Europe. I am having a lot of fun and I hope this will be the first of many here at Sebring. There are fans and motorhomes everywhere around this track. It is fun to see.”

Jonathon Summerton (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) “It is awesome to be here in this race. The BMW RLL team have been so helpful. I’m very honored to be here with them and hopefully we can go for a win. It’s a great group of guys. Right now, I am running in four ALMS races this year. I’m filling in for Joey (Hand) when he goes to the DMT series. After that, it is wherever BMW North American or BMW Motorsport want me. I want to be affiliated with a manufacturer and BMW is just the best. It is a thrill to be here.”

… notes from The EDJE

 

** Article first published as It’s Audi R18 Diesel 1-2-3 Overall at 2012 Sebring Qualifications on Technorati **

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