Under perfect Florida weather conditions of sunshine and 80-degrees, the Cadillac four-some took to the 3.74-mile, 17-turn historic race track for the 15-minute qualifying session this afternoon.
Tristan Vautier on pole in No. 90 Cadillac.
Tristan Vautier, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi.VR, put in a time of 1:47.432 on his fourth flying lap. The Spirit of Daytona Cadillac team is new to the brand for 2018. They acquired their car late in December and had an unfortunate start to the season at the Rolex 24 hours, ending their race just before midnight. Vautier and teammates Matt McMurry and Eddie Cheever III are hungry for a good showing this weekend at Sebring.
“With the new tire spec and the heat, the tires came in very quick,” Vautier said. “No one expected that lap time. The lap really didn’t feel that good. I saw a 47 on the dash and I didn’t expect it to be that quick. That was the first time we were on new tires and low fuel, so the pole is good. The guys have been working hard these last two days. This is two in a row for me. I was on pole in GT last year. This is a high commitment track, especially in Turn 1 and Turn 17. I am always driving 101 percent.
“We just got the car in early December. We were in the top five in Daytona and even led the race. There are some big name drivers behind us in qualifying. The guys were on the pit lane lined-up to celebrate. We are focused on the race tomorrow, since Daytona was a disappointment. We will push through the day and stay in contention and look to the last two hours to really race.”
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R was driven by Felipe Nasr in qualifying. Nasr posted a time of 1:47.853, that will have him starting fifth for tomorrow’s 10:40 a.m. ET start. Nasr is joined by Eric Curran and Mike Conway.
“It was a clean qualifying session from our side,” Nasr said. “We struggled with the balance of the car a little bit, I had some understeer. I was able to get a clean lap, I gave the tires lots of laps to get up to temperature. It is pretty close, a couple of tenths to the front. We are starting P5. Not where we want to be, but plenty of race to make it up. We are thinking of the big race tomorrow. The track here is very challenging for driver and car. With the bumps you get cars going off and bringing dirt onto the track. At night it gets pretty chaotic and drivers make mistakes. We need to let them make mistakes and we need to run a clean race. We have a nice package in our hands to fight for the win.”
Filipe Albuquerque had the controls of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R and drove to a time of 1:48.256 that will have him coming to the green flag from eighth on the grid. Albuquerque, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi are the Rolex 24-hour winners and are looking to win the 36 hours of Florida with a victory here tomorrow.
“I think we didn’t start well this morning,” Albuquerque said. “We had a small issue with the car that we had to fix. In qualifying, the car felt good on the first lap, then went away. Our Cadillac is a little out of balance at the moment. We have a smart team and we will make some adjustments for the 12-hour race and be ready to go.”
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R wheeled by Renger Van Der Zande in qualifying will start 10th tomorrow based upon their fast lap of 1:48.370. Van Der Zande and teammates Jordan Taylor and Ryan Hunter-Reay are poised to get a strong finish this weekend as their Daytona 24 race ended early as well.
“It is not what we came for to qualify tenth,” Van Der Zande said. “We are trying to find a good handling car. We have seen some speed, but not exactly what we want. We are still working on the Cadillac and we will need it to be just right for the end of the race tomorrow. The Konica Minolta team is strong and we will make some adjustments for the warm-up tomorrow.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing
First pole for the new BMW M8 GTE in IMSA competition – BMW Team RLL qualifies first and third in Sebring
BMW Team RLL experienced a successful GTLM qualifying session for the classic 12 Hours of Sebring (USA). With a best time of 1:55.839 minutes, Connor De Phillippi (USA) claimed pole position for the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the wheel of the number 25 BMW M8 GTE. He will share driving duties in the race with Alexander Sims (GBR) and Bill Auberlen (USA). In the number 24 car, Jesse Krohn (FIN) recorded the third-fastest time, finishing just 0.146 seconds behind his team-mate. He will co-drive with John Edwards (USA) and Nick Catsburg (NED) in the race. For BMW Team RLL it was the 24th IMSA pole position since 2009.
Bobby Rahal (BMW Team RLL, Team Principal): “It is nice to be back in the hunt. Obviously, where one qualifies for a 12-hour race is not the most important thing, but it is certainly better to be first than ninth. What this first pole for the BMW M8 GTE reflects is the tremendous work everyone at RLL and BMW Motorsport has invested in the programme.”
Connor De Phillippi (#25 BMW M8 GTE, pole position): “I could not be happier to score the pole in my first qualifying drive for BMW Team RLL. The car was spot on and it all came together on the first flying lap. We have a really good racing car.”
Jesse Krohn (#24 BMW M8 GTE, third place): “Great job by Connor to score the pole. It ended up to be a one lap qualifying for me because of the hot track temperature. I made a bit of a mistake on my first lap. I thought I could make it up on my second lap, but was unable.”
Best Porsche 911 RSR on third grid row at Sebring
The best Porsche 911 RSR takes up the Sebring 12-hour race from the third grid row on Saturday. In the hotly contested qualifying for round two of the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the North American Endurance Cup, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) planted the #912 Porsche 911 RSR racer on the sixth spot in the GTLM class. His teammates for the second long-distance classic of the year after the 24 Hours of Daytona are two-time outright Le Mans winner Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy). At the wheel of the second 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, Le Mans winner Nick Tandy (Great Britain) clocked the eighth fastest time at the Sebring International Raceway, the 5.954-kilometre airfield circuit in Florida. He shares driving duties in the #911 car with Frenchmen Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki. With 18 overall victories and 70 class wins, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in the history of the oldest and toughest sports car race in the United States.
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “That was a very close qualifying session. The first six cars were separated by just four-tenths of a second. Now we need to work out why we’re trailing a bit and how we can close the gap for the race tomorrow. The temperature differences between the hot afternoon and the cool evening will be huge. One of the secrets to success at Sebring is to find the best possible compromise in the setup.”
Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “Our strategy was to turn the best lap time very early on in the session. We succeeded. Unfortunately, our rivals then managed to drive a little faster. Towards the end of the session our tyres deteriorated to the point that we could no longer keep up.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “The conditions during the qualifying were different to those in the final free practice this morning. But we also have to cope with changing track conditions in tomorrow’s race. Our 911 RSR ran well. I was fast during my first lap, but I made a big mistake in the last corner. Everything then came together in the second lap.”
The race starts on Saturday at 10:40 hrs local time (15:40 hrs CET) and and can be viewed live outside the USA on http://www.imsa.com.
1. Sims/de Phillippi/Auberlen (GB/USA/USA), BMW M8, 1:55.839 minutes
2. Vilander/Pier Guidi/Calado (SF/I/I), Ferrari 488, + 0.058 seconds
3. Krohn/Edwards/Catsburg (SF/USA/NL), BMW M8, + 0.146
4. Westbrook/Briscoe/Dixon (GB/USA/NZL), Ford GT, + 0.259
5. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (USA/D/F), Ford GT, + 0.352
6. Vanthoor/Bamber/Bruni (B/NZ/I), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.412
7. Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller (DK/E/D), Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.749
8. Tandy/Pilet/Makowiecki (GB/F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.787
9. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (GB/USA/CH), Chevrolet Corvette, + 1.061
1. Serra/Della Lana/Lauda/Lamy (BRA/CAN/A/P), Ferrari 488, 1:58.710 minutes
2. Mies/van der Linde/Picariello (D/ZA/B), Audi R8, + 0.519 seconds
3. Hawksworth/Heinemeier Hansson/Rayhall (GB/DK/USA), Lexus, + 0.541
11. Long/Nielsen/Jaminet/Renauer (USA/DK/F/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.668
17. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Pappas (D/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 5.940
WeatherTech Racing Qualifies Sixth in GTD at Sebring
WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Alessandro Balzan (Italy) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City) will start sixth in the GTD class for this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway.
Jeannette put in a solid qualifying effort behind the wheel of the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3. He set the qualifying pace early with a 1:59.609. In fact, he was the GTD class leader halfway through the 15-minute session before coming into the pits to cool the tires following his fourth circuit around the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course.
On pit lane, Jeannette radioed the crew chief and said he felt the car still had a few tenths left in it, but the car was also sliding around. The No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari remained in the top three until the final two minutes of the session. The team decided not to send Jeanette back out to try again. But then, three other cars recorded faster times, dropping the No. 63 to sixth on the time sheet.
“It was a good effort by the team,” Jeannette said after qualifying. “The car is mostly comfortable to drive. We had a relatively large balance change over the laps. I think we need to look at that to get it a little bit more consistent. The first lap was pretty good. But, I threw away a couple of sections trying to get a little bit too much out of it. I think we probably had at least three tenths in hand, which would have likely moved us up a couple of spots. In the end, I think we’ll have a good race car for tomorrow and that’s the most important thing.”
“Gunnar did a great job in qualifying,” MacNeil said. “It’s always good to start close to the front – from the third row, P6. The Ferrari is quick so we’re looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing
FORD CHIP GANASSI RACING TO START P4-5 AT 12 HOURS OF SEBRING
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing will start its quest for two GTLM wins in a row from the second and third rows Saturday, after qualifying p4-5 for the 66th annual 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway.
After leading three out of four of the practice sessions on Thursday and Fridaymorning, the team was optimistic about its chances. They weren’t able to pick up enough speed on the rest of the field for qualifying, though, and landed p4 (No. 67) and p5 (No. 66) with Richard Westbrook and Joey Hand behind the wheel.
“It felt like we were controlling the pace in practice,” Westbrook said. “We had a good car, but then qualifying came and out of nowhere…we’ve got some time to find, that’s for sure. Seeing the pace out there now, it’s going to be a long, hard race for us. We’ve got a great team and a great car from Ford Performance. Everyone at Ford Chip Ganassi Racing…we proved at Daytona we know how to race, so we’ll give it everything tomorrow.”
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is on a quest to win two races in a row in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after driving to the GTLM title at Daytona in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Sebring is the last historic race the Ford GT has yet to win.
Chip Ganassi is the only team owner in history to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Last year, the No. 66 team finished second last year at Sebring after the team qualified p1-2.
“Obviously, it’s not what we wanted in qualifying today but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Dirk Müller said. “We’ve had great speed this weekend to this point, but everyone started to show their hands today and laid down some laps for qualifying. We have some work to do but this is a 12-hour race and you have to get through a lot to get to the finish line Saturday night in Sebring. We have a good Ford GT and hope to be contending at the front.”
Müller and Hand will team up with Sébastien Bourdais in the No. 66 Ford GT after Bourdais captured the INDYCAR season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., last weekend. Westbrook will team with Ryan Briscoe and INDYCAR regular Scott Dixon in the No. 67 Ford GT.
CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: All Focus Ahead for Four in a Row
Corvette Racing will go for its fourth consecutive class victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday with its two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs line astern for the start of Saturday’s second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Friday’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying session at Sebring International Raceway saw defending race winner Antonio Garcia set the pace for Corvette Racing with a 156.588 (115.484 mph) in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that he shares with Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller – his partners in last year’s triumph.
Tommy Milner will start directly behind Magnussen on the grid in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R after his best lap of 1:56.900 (115.176 mph) in qualifying. He and teammates Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fässler won two years ago at Sebring in the No. 4 Corvette.
With Friday’s qualifying in the books, the stage is set for Corvette Racing to write another chapter in its extensive history at Sebring. The team has won 11 times in class at the 12 Hours – more than any other entrant in race history – including the last three seasons. Each victory was the result of execution and mistake-free races for each of the winning Corvettes to overcome ultimate qualifying pace.
Sebring also is one of three circuits at which Corvette Racing has appeared in its 19-plus seasons, and the program has logged more than 40,000 racing miles over the 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course.
Saturday’s race also will mark Corvette Racing’s 200th event start as it continues to celebrate its 20th season of competition.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R: – QUALIFIED SEVENTH IN GTLM:“We may have stayed where we have been position-wise, but I think we closed the gap to the front quite a bit. The Corvette seems to be going in the right direction with still some things to come. I think, I hope, we still have tools and ideas to take what we have and continue to improve. In every session we made pretty big changes to try and find the path. I think we did find the right direction. We definitely still need to work and improve the car because it’s not how it should be. But a day like today makes you feel like we might have a chance. Maybe not a chance to win like last year but if we are close enough we can make things happen to get a good result. We need to improve a tiny bit more, close the gap a tiny bit more and see what tomorrow brings.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED NINTH IN GTLM: “We have struggled this weekend. Certainly we are using each session to learn something new from our Corvette – trying some new stuff. We are headed in the right direction for sure and making the cars drive nicer and getting closer to a car that we can drive for 12 hours. We are a little bit on the back foot, it seems, with the rest of the field. The best we can do is keep working hard on our car… things like analyzing everything we are doing and getting the best car that we can. In qualifying, that is best car we’ve had all weekend. In practice this morning, the car felt pretty good. We’ve made good gains this weekend. I’m sure we can make a couple more small adjustments for the race, but I think we are in a good place.”
Source. Corvette Racing
POLE AND FRONT ROW FOR FERRARI TEAMS
The field for the 66th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring was set in qualifying on Friday ahead of the second race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. A combination of great conditions and outstanding driving saw new track records established in both the GT-Daytona and GT-Le Mans classes.
GTD. Leading the GT-Daytona field to Saturday’s green flag will be Daniel Serra in the No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 that he will share with Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda, and Paul Dalla Lana. The pole position time of 1:58.710-seconds on the 3.7-mile circuit marked an improvement of one second from the previous track record as Serra earned his second pole of the IMSA season. The 2016 Sebring 12 Hour winners Scuderia Corsa will start from sixth on the grid with the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Cooper MacNeil, Alessandro Balzan, and Gunnar Jeannette, with the sister Scuderia Corsa No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, and Frank Montecalvo slotted in ninth for the start of Saturday’s endurance classic.
Satisfaction. “I’m really happy,” said Serra. “We decided to do this race in the last minute, but ever since the first practice the car was really good. We have four drivers so I didn’t have a lot of track time but I could feel that the car was really good. It was great to put everything together for that fast lap. I knew it was a good lap. The car was even better in than it had been in practice and I was enjoying every corner. It is awesome to start from pole position, our second in a row. It doesn’t mean a lot for the result of the race but it is always good to start from the front.”
GTLM. The GT-Le Mans class also saw a new track record established, with a BMW (De Philippi-Sims-Auberlen) securing pole just ahead of Jame Calado in the No. 62 Risi Ferrari 488 GTE machine. Calado’s time of 1:59.229-seconds in the 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE also bested the existing track record in GTLM as the Briton looks ahead to a front row start on Saturday. Calado will share the driving duties with Toni Vilander and James Calado as Risi targets a return to victory lane on Saturday night.
Spirit of Daytona overcomes setbacks to take Sebring pole
The Spirit of Daytona Racing team overcame early weekend adversity to put their No. 90 Cadillac DPi-V.R on the pole position for Saturday’s 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts, race two of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The accomplishment marked the second consecutive Sebring pole for driver Tristan Vautier, having set a new track record in his GTD run in 2017. Vautier, Matt McMurry and Eddie Cheever III will head to the starting line Saturday morning with the intention of earning the team’s first Sebring victory.
With 15 minutes on the qualifying clock to battle the other 15 prototypes – driven by some of the biggest names in motorsports – Vautier found his Continental Tires coming up to speed quickly, with his pole-winning (and track record-setting) lap time of 1:47.432 coming on Lap 2.
The entire Spirit of Daytona team has worked hard over the span of two days to prepare the Cadillac DPi-V.R. After a solid first practice on Thursday that saw the team set the second-quick time, a precautionary engine change was performed when a data anomaly with the water pressure system was discovered. The team worked on setup in the four practice this morning and gave Vautier the tools he needed to do the rest.
“This is my second pole in a row, so I seem to like this place!” said Vautier. “The whole track is very technical and very high-commitment, and that suits me. And obviously you must have a good setup as well, and both times I’ve been on pole I’ve had a very good engineer. But I was going for it. With the new Continental Tire spec and the heat, the tires came in very quick. No one expected that lap time. I saw a 47 on the dash and I didn’t expect it to be that quick. My second flyer didn’t feel like my best lap so I thought that it was going to be tough for anyone else to beat that time.”
Team owner Troy Flis was happy to see the signature blue Spirit of Daytona colors back on top, especially for one of the biggest races of the season.
“It’s been a tough weekend,” said an emotional Flis. “But Tristan did a great job driving this car and we just need to thank Cadillac for all the help. We really needed this. I’m excited about tomorrow. We knew we were going to come here with a good car and I know we have the best team, but we have to make it to the end. It’s always a tough race here but this is one race we haven’t won and we really want it. We know we have a good car and a great team, so we have to stay out of trouble and get it done.”
“This means a lot to the team,” Vautier continued. “To think that the guys got the car in December and powered through the Christmas break to get it ready, then with the issues we had yesterday – to be in the top-five at Daytona and on pole here is big. When you see the names of the teams and drivers that we’ve put behind us in qualifying, it means a lot. The race is going to be tough, you have to push 101 percent. I don’t think there’s going to be much race management or saving anything for the end: the level of competition is just too high, people will be pushing the whole time. We’ll work to stay in contention the whole race and be there for the final push.”
Source. Sunday Group
Fifth and Seventh on Sebring 12 Hour Grid for Action Express Racing
With 65 editions of the Sebring 12 Hours in the history books, the anticipation continues to grow ahead of the 66th running of the fabled event on Saturday as IMSA stages round two of the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The race is well accepted as one of the biggest challenges in the sport thanks to the tough traffic flow among the three classes in action, big variations in track conditions owing to the wide range of temperatures on offer each day, as well as the rough and tumble surface that includes bumps, high-speed corners, and a number of slow speed sections that attract widespread passing moves.
Up for that challenge are the two Action Express Racing managed entries that will both look to continue their strong start to the 2018 season on Saturday. Ahead of the race, Friday saw the grid set for Saturday’s (FS1 10:30 AM ET live coverage) event with a 15-minute qualifying session.
After taking the runner up spot at Daytona, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing DPi-V.R of Felipe Nasr (BRA), 2016 IMSA Champion Eric Curran (USA), and Mike Conway (UK) will target the top step on Saturday night. Nasr took the controls for qualifying, locking in fifth on the grid with his quick lap time of 1:47.853-seconds.
“It was a clean qualifying session from our side,” Nasr said. “We struggled with the balance of the car a little bit, I had some understeer. I was able to get a clean lap, I gave the tires lots of laps to get up to temperature. It is pretty close, just a couple of tenths to the front. We are starting P5. Not where we want to be, but plenty of race to make it up. We are thinking of the big picture tomorrow. The track here is very challenging for driver and car. With the bumps you get cars going off and bringing dirt onto the track. At night it gets pretty chaotic and drivers make mistakes. We need to let them make mistakes and we need to run a clean race. We have a nice package in our hands to fight for the win.”
The Rolex 24 At Daytona-winning No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing DPi-V.R of Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi (BRA) and Joao Barbosa (PRT) will take the green flag from seventh on the grid after Albuquerque posted a quick time of 1:48.256-seconds.
“We didn’t start the morning off like we wanted to-we had a small issue so we didn’t get all the track time that we wanted,” Albuquerque said. “But the guys got it fixed all set and we were ready to go. In qualifying the car felt good on the first lap, the balance went away a bit after that. We have a smart team and we will make some adjustments for the 12-hour race and be ready to go.”
Saturday will open with an 8:00 AM ET warm-up ahead of the 10:40 AM race start.
Source. Sunday Group
Paul Miller Racing Qualifies in Top Five for Twelve Hours of Sebring
The 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts kicks off Saturday morning, and the No. 48. Lamborghini Huracán GT3 will start in fifth place after a strong qualifying effort from driver Madison Snow.
“Madison put down a strong lap in qualifying and we were excited that he could show that pace,” said team owner Paul Miller. “The team did a good job improving the car over these two days and we feel like we have a good car for the race.”
Snow set his fastest lap on lap five of six, with a best time of 1:59.489, just seven tenths off the provisional pole position. The No. 48 Lamborghini steadily improved throughout the four practice sessions as drivers Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers, and Corey Lewis worked through warm and cool temperatures to find the best set up for the car. Instead of looking for outright speed, the team focused on finding the best race pace that will keep their average lap times competitive after each lap.
We think fifth is a good spot for us. It’s a long race, and it gives us an opportunity to work our way up. It’s a great place to start for as long of a race as this is. We can hang out in fifth, and wait until the last couple hours and still have as much of a chance to win than if we had started on pole. The car was very well set up and we should have a good car for the race. I’m fairly certain we can run better average lap times than the rest of the field and that will be our changing factor that will pull us up to the front after a couple hours of running.
Today was a good result in qualifying. We struggled a little bit leading up to here, but we tried to focus on getting a good car for the race. It gave Madison a good opportunity to go out and be aggressive in qualifying. He did a great job and set us up in a good place for tomorrow to go out and see what we have. Qualifying is important, but the race is different. We’ll have to see how the race goes tomorrow and hopefully have a shot when it gets dark out.
The guys have done an amazing job. Overall, leading into the race, we’ve made some massive gains with the set up and handling of the car. We’ve been projecting forward every session. We’re focusing forward and prepping for the race. Madison did an excellent job in qualifying. He and Bryan have been excellent teammates bringing me up to speed with all the little details, which has been very helpful. Everyone on the team has been great and we’re making strides forward. We’ll keep our nose clean, and at the end push forward to win get the championship lead.
Source. Paul Miller Racing
HART Racing Leads Acura Brigade at Sebring
There are four of the incredible Acura NSX GT3 machines entered for Saturday’s 12 Hours of Sebring, and the HART Racing squad will lead them in the fight as the team locked in a fourth row starting position for the squad’s first ever Sebring 12 Hour outing. Tom Dyer posted a quick lap flyer of 2:00.069-seconds on the 3.7-mile circuit to score eighth on the GTD class grid.
Three hours of practice was all the HART Racing crew had to work ahead of qualifying as Thursday’s practice session marked the first time that the No. 69 machine touched Sebring International Raceway pavement.
With a lot to learn in a short amount of time, the crew set their expectations to achieve as much as possible in the two days leading up to Saturday’s grueling 12 hour event.
Despite not having the previous experience that many in the GTD field have, the talented trio of drivers gave HART Racing all the confidence to have a successful weekend as Chad Gilsinger, Ryan Eversley and Dyer team up to get the most out of their Acura NSX GT3.
With the squad of full-time Acura employees dialing in the NSX for the 15-minute qualifying session, Dyer took to the controls looking to use lessons learned from the 12 Hour last year. Dyer played the rough and tough surface to his advantage, laying down consistent laps times one after another. By the end of the 15-minute qualifying run, Dyer found himself leading the lineup of four Acura NSX GT3s as he took eighth on the grid.
“We are really pleased with this qualifying run especially it being the team’s first event at Sebring,” said Dyer. “I’m thrilled to be back, I haven’t driven the car since October (2017 Petit Le Mans with Michael Shank Racing), so it was nice to get some of the cobwebs off. To be the highest Acura is a nice achievement for this first year team at this level.”
Dyer, who was a part of the inaugural year for the Acura NSX GT3 in 2017, is overjoyed with the advances that have happened in the 12 months since the car made its debut last year.
“It’s awesome driving the car this year and seeing how much it has improved since last year,” said Dyer. “It’s almost like it’s not the same car. A lot of credit to these guys – HPD and Michael Shank Racing – for developing the car and getting it to where it is. There are lots of people behind this car and putting their brainpower and resources into it-hopefully we can keep this going with a strong run tomorrow.”
Source. Sunday Group
Michael Shank Racing Ready to Race at Sebring
The No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX suffered an off-track excursion on Thursday at Sebring International Raceway, causing significant damage. The team elected to make repairs and rallied to be ready for the race-day warm up session, setting the fastest time with a 2:00.784-seconds.
Drivers Justin Marks, Lawson Aschenbach, and Mario Farnbacher will share the No. 93 Acura starting at 10:40 AM ET (live, FS1). The sister No. 86 Michael Shank Racing entry of Katherine Legge, Alvaro Parente, and Trent Hindman will start the race from the fifth row.
—Incident happened in 2nd practice on Thursday around 4:00 PM
—Decision made Thursday around 6pm to make repairs
—Team overnighted required parts from Marysville, Ohio, which arrived to the track at 9:30 AM Friday as team started rebuild
—Repairs complete at 4:20 AM on Saturday AM
—Car returned to track at 8:00 AM for Sebring 12 Hour warm up.
—No. 93 set fastest time with a 2:00.784-seconds in the warm up
“When the car came off the (flatbed after the incident) truck, we decided it was done. There was no question about it. But we weren’t ready to quit. So as we started looking at our options, we looked at putting the drivers in different cars, thinking through a few ways to sort it out. But the crew chief Justin (Harnisfager) and engineer Dale (Wise) decided that they wanted to fix it. It was a huge project and they were up all night. The car is pretty good, it is not exactly where it needs to be but we will get it on track and see what we can make of this event. It is a long race and my guys are ready for it.”
Source. Sunday Group