BMW Team RLL wins dramatic GT battle on final lap
Louis-Philippe Dumoulin and Alex Job Racing WeatherTech team finished in 2nd place in the GTC class
Audi returned to victory at Sebring International Raceway for the first time since 2009 on Saturday with a convincing victory in the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish completed 301 laps in their Audi R18 to win by four laps in the opening round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Audi finished 1-2 at Sebring for the first time since 2005. Kristensen extended his Sebring record with his sixth overall victory. Capello now has won five times and McNish four. The winning trio gained control in the second half of the race as gearbox problems beset the pole-winning No. 1 Audi and the second-place R18 suffered contact with a slower car in the last hour.
Dyson Racing took advantage of fueling issues from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and won the ALMS’ P1 class. The trio of Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Steven Kane moved into the class lead near the 30-minute mark. Dyson Racing won last year’s P1 team championship, and Dyson and Smith claimed the drivers championship.
Their victory Saturday came within a week of testing the new Lola-Mazda for the first time. On the other end of the spectrum, the Muscle Milk crew was devastated by their final-hour fueling problems. Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Simon Pagenaud ran in overall podium position for much of the race’s second half in their HPD ARX-03a prototype.
Joey Hand won GT for BMW Team RLL on the last turn of the last lap with a daring pass for the team’s second straight Sebring victory with the BMW M3 GT. It was a frantic race for much of the second half with six cars in position for the lead. Hand appeared to lose the lead on the final lap when he was forced off on the first third of the lap by an AF Corse Ferrari.
Hand went off track but never lost the lead thanks to a remarkable recovery.
Corvette Racing’s trio of Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor also got around Beretta at the finish and ended 6.3 seconds behind the BMW. Beretta, Andrea Bertolini and Marco Cioci placed third in their Ferrari F458 Italia
Starworks Motorsports’s trio of Ryan Dalziel, Stephane Sarrazin and Vicente Potolicchio won in P2 with their HPD ARX-03b. The closing two hours were a back-and-forth affair with the Starworks car finishing third overall. Sarrazin and Level 5 Motorsports’ Joao Barbosa swapped the lead multiple times within the last 90 minutes.
Sarrazin began to drive away in the final 20 minutes. It still was a successful opening round in Level 5’s title defense of the ALMS P2 championship. Bouchut, Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker were the highest-finishing ALMS team in the class and overall standings.
It was a remarkable comeback for the Level 5 team after a huge crash in qualifying Friday that left Bouchut in the outside tire wall at Turn 1. The team began the race from the rear of the field after changing tires.
Black Swan Racing placed second among the ALMS runners in class in its first P2 race since moving up from GT Challenge. Tim Pappas, Bret Curtis and Jon Fogarty completed 298 laps in their HPD-powered Lola B11/80 coupe.
They were ahead of Conquest Endurance, which finished third among the ALMS P2 finishers in the team’s first race in the Series. Martin Plowman, Jan Haylen and David Heinemeier Hansson drove their Morgan-Judd.
CORE autosport opened the defense of its Prototype Challenge championship with the team’s first victory at Sebring. E.J. Viso, Alex Popow and Burt Friselle drove their ORECA FLM09 to a one-lap victory over PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports
Butch Leitzinger, Rudy Junco and Ken Dobson finished second in another class fight that went down to the final hour. CORE also took third on the class podium with the trio of Colin Braun, Jon Bennett and Eric Lux.
In GTE Am, Team Felbermayr-Proton’s Christian Ried, Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti won by a lap in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The Felbermayr team placed second last year and finished ahead of Larbre Competition’s Corvette of Christophe Bourret, Pascal Gibon and Jean-Phillippe Belloc.
Alex Job Racing won in GT Challenge at Sebring for the second time in three years. Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Dion von Moltke outlasted the field for a one-lap victory over the team car of Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen and J.P. Dumoulin.
The winning Alex Job car recovered from a mid-race spin battling for the lead as AJR won at Sebring for the eighth time.
60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida
Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Fla.
1. (2) Allan McNish, Scotland; Tom Kristensen, Denmark; Dindo Capello, Italy; Audi R18 (1, P1), 325.
2. (3) Timo Bernhard, Germany; Romain Dumas, France; Loic Duval, France; Audi R18 (2, P1), 321.
3. (12) Stephane Sarrazin; Vicente Potolicchio; Ryan Dalziel; HPD ARX-03b Honda (3, P2), 319.
4. (16) Scott Tucker; Christophe Bouchut, France; Joao Barbosa, Portugal; HPD ARX-03b (4, P2), 319.
5. (11) Olivier Pla; Jacques Nicolet, Paris, France; Mattieu Lahaye; Morgan/Judd (5, P2), 318.
6. (10) Emmanuel Collard, France; Jean-Christophe Boullion, Plaisir, France; Julien Jousse, FRA; Pescarolo Judd (6, P1), 318.
7. (19) Pierre Kaffer; Soheil Ayari, Aix-les-Bains, Savoie; Luis Companc; Oreca/Nissan (7, P2), 317.
8. (23) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, Beverley, UK; Steven Kane, Newtownards, IRE; Lola B12/60 Mazda (8, P1), 317.
9. (13) Elton Julian, Los Angeles, CA; Christian Zugel; Ricardo Gonzalez; Zytek Z11SN-Nissan (9, P2), 316.
10. (7) Jonny Kane, Ireland; Nick Leventis, GBR; Danny Watts, UK; HPD ARX-03a Honda (10, P1), 316.
11. (15) John Martin; Tor Graves; Robbie Kerr; Oreca 03 Nissan (11, P2), 315.
12. (22) Alex Papow; E.J. Viso; Burt Frisselle, Kihei, HI; Oreca FLM09 (12, PC), 312.
13. (28) Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Ken Dobson, Carmel Valley, CA; Rudy Junco Jr.; Oreca FLM09 (13, PC), 311.
14. (20) Thomas Holzer; Mirco Schultis; Luca Moro; Lola B12/80 Coupe Lotus (14, P2), 310.
15. (26) Jon Bennett; Colin Braun, Ovalo, TX; Eric Lux, Jacksonville, FL; Oreca FLM09 (15, PC), 310.
16. (1) Marcel Fassler, Switzerland; Andre Lotterer, Duisburg, DE; Benoit Treluyer, Alencon, FR; Audi R18 (16, P1), 310.
17. (6) David Brabham, Australia; Karun Chandhok, IND; Peter Dumbreck, Scotland; HPD ARX-03a Honda (17, P1), 309.
18. (36) Dirk Mueller; Jonathon Summerton; Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; BMW E92 M3 (1, GT), 307.
19. (33) Jan Magnussen; Antonio Garcia; Jordan Taylor, Apopka, FL; Corvette C6-ZR1 (2, GT), 307.
20. (35) Olivier Beretta; Marco Cioci; Andrea Bertolini; Ferrari F458 Italia (3, GT), 307.
21. (34) Oliver Gavin; Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; Richard Westbrook; Corvette C6-ZR1 (4, GT), 307.
22. (42) Bill Auberlen, Hermosa Beach, CA; Uwe Alzen, Germany; Jorg Muller, Germany; BMW E92 M3 (5, GT), 307.
23. (41) Richard Lietz; Marc Lieb; Patrick Pilet; Porsche 911 RSR 997 (6, GT), 306.
24. (48) Sascha Maassen; Robert Bell; Bryce Miller, Hoboken, NJ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (7, GT), 303.
25. (25) Pablo Sanchez; Chapman Ducote, Miami, FL; Javier Echeverria; Oreca FLM09 (8, PC), 303.
26. (57) Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Andy Lally, New York, NY; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (9, GT), 303.
27. (43) Anthony Lazzaro, Acworth, GA; Ed Brown, Las Vegas, NV; Jeff Segal, Miami, FL; Ferrari F458 Italia (10, GT), 303.
28. (4) Klaus Graf, Germany; Simon Pagenaud, France; Lucas Luhr, Germany; HPD ARX-03a (11, P1), 302.
29. (47) Paolo Ruberti; Christian Ried, Schoeneburg, Germany; Gianluca Roda, Como, Italy; Porsche 911 RSR 997 (12, GTE-AM), 298.
30. (62) Jon Fogarty, Los Gatos, CA; Tim Pappas, Boston, MA; Brett Curtis, Valencia, CA; Lola B11/80 HPD (13, P2), 298.
31. (49) Jean-Philippe Belloc; Christophe Bourret; Pascal Gibon; Corvette C6-ZR1 (14, GTE-AM), 297.
32. (8) Neel Jani; Nick Heidfeld; Nicolas Prost; Lola B12/60 Coupe Toyota (15, P1), 296.
33. (55) Dion von Moltke, Coral Gables, FL; Bill Sweedler, Westport, CT; Townsend Bell, Santa Monica, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (1, GTC), 292.
34. (39) Darren Turner; Stefan Mucke; Adrian Fernandez; Aston Martin Vantage V8 (16, GT), 292.
35. (54) Leh Keen, Dublin, GA; LP Dumoulin; Cooper MacNeil; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (2, GTC), 291.
36. (9) Andrea Belicchi, Itally; Harold Primat, Switzerland; Joeren Bleekemolen, Netherlands; Lola B12/60 Coupe Toyota (3, P1), 291.
37. (53) Damien Faulkner; Sebastiaan Bleekemolen; Peter Lesaffre, Rye, NH; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (4, GTC), 290.
38. (45) Wolf Henzler; Bryan Sellers, Centerville, OH; Martin Ragginger; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (17, GT), 290.
39. (46) Pedro Lamy, Lisbon Portugal; Patrick Bornhauser; Julien Canal, Le Mans, France; Corvette C6-ZR1 (18, GTE-AM), 288.
40. (59) Emilio Di Guida; Marc Bunting, Monkton, MD; Spencer Pumpelly, Mason Neck, VA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (5, GTC), 287.
41. (50) Rui Aguas; Robert Kauffman; Michael Waltrip, Owensboro, KY; Ferrari F458 Italia (6, GTE-AM), 283.
42. (27) Michael Guasch, Palo Alto, CA; Memo Gidley, San Rafael, CA; Roger Wills, Timaru, New Zealand; Oreca FLM09 (7, PC), 282.
43. (56) Kevin Estre; Chris Cumming, Vancouver, BC; Mark Bullitt, Miami, FL; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (8, GTC), 282.
44. (17) Martin Plowman, Indianapolis, IN; David Heinemeier Hansson; Jan Heylen; Morgan/Judd (9, P2), 281.
45. (61) Michael Aventatti; Cort Wagner, Pacific Palisades, CA; Bob Faieta, Tujunga, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (10, GTC), 279.
46. (37) Guy Cosmo, Long Island, NY; Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Ferrari F458 Italia (19, GT), 278.
47. (64) Fabien Giroix, Saint-Maur, France; Stefan Johansson; Maxime Jousse; Lola B12/80 Coupe Nissan (20, P2), 277.
48. (60) James Sofronas, Newport Beach, CA; Alex Welch; Rene Villeneuve; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (11, GTC), 276.
49. (30) Raphael Matos; Anthony Nicolosi, Brooklyn, NY; Ricardo Vera; Oreca FLM09 (12, PC), 274.
50. (44) Nic Jonsson; Michele Rugulo; Tracy Krohn, Houston, TX; Ferrari F458 Italia (13, GTE-AM), 265.
51. (21) Bruno Junqueira; Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, CA; Roberto Gonzalez; Oreca FLM09 (14, PC), 255.
52. (51) Joel Camathias, Switzerland; William Binnie, Portsmouth, NH; Markus Palttala; Porsche 911 RSR 997 (15, GTE-AM), 252.
53. (38) Jorg Bergmeister; Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Marco Holzer; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (21, GT), 251.
54. (58) Nicki Thiim; Angel Andres Benitez, Jr; Angel Raphael Benitez, Sr; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (16, GTC), 236.
55. (5) Guillaume Moreau, FRA; Bertrand Baguette, BEL; Dominik Kraihamer, AUT; Oak Pescarolo Judd (17, P1), 233.
56. (31) Toni Vilander; Giancarlo Fisichella , Rome, Italy; Gianmaria Bruni; Ferrari F458 GT (22, GT), 215.
57. (52) Sean Edwards; Carlos Kauffmann, Miami, FL; Henrique Cisneros, Miami, FL; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (18, GTC), 205.
58. (24) Dane Cameron, Sonom, CA; Henri Richard; Duncan Ende, Los Angeles; Oreca FLM09 (19, PC), 173.
59. (18) Luis Diaz, Mexico; Ryan Hunter-Reay, Boca Raton; Scott Tucker; HPD ARX-03b (20, P2), 85.
60. (14) Franck Mailleux; Olivier Lombard, Poissy, France; Jordan Tresson, FRA; Oreca 03 Nissan (21, P2), 85.
61. (32) Jaime Melo; Jean-Karl Vernay; Frederic Makowiecki; Ferrari F458 Italia (23, GT), 83.
62. (29) Kyle Marcelli; Lucas Downs, North Mankoto, MN; Dean Stirling; Oreca FLM09 (24, PC), 38.
63. (40) Dominik Farnbacher, Germany; Francois Jakubowski; Pierre Ehret, Santa Rosa, CA; Ferrari F458 Italia (26, GTE-AM), 0.
overed from a mid-race spin and stayed steady as other challengers fell by the wayside in the race’s second half.
Green Hornet Racing’s trio of Damien Faulkner, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and Peter LeSaffre placed third.
OAK Racing scores first WEC podium at Sebring season opener
OAK Racing began its FIA World Endurance Championship campaign in encouraging fashion at the 60th Anniversary 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida on Saturday night with an excellent LMP2 class podium finish providing some consolation for the retirement of its LMP1 entry.
The all-French crew of Jacques Nicolet, Olivier Pla and Matthieu Lahaye delivered a fast, consistent and faultless combined performance aboard the #24 Morgan 2012 LMP2 to finish as runners-up in the WEC classification, as well as a remarkable fifth overall, on the car’s race debut.
Spurred on by Morgan Motor Company CEO Charles Morgan, Pla initially demonstrated the car’s potential in qualifying by grabbing class pole position before proving it was no fluke with the fastest LMP2 lap of the race.
The trio’s combined efforts also ensured that Pla headed into the sportscar classic’s final two hours maintaining a realistic chance of victory as the team opted to triple-stint Dunlop’s updated endurance compound tyres.
And despite having to ultimately settle for second, the result ensures that OAK Racing travels to the second round at Spa-Francorchamps with significant points already on the board.
Sadly the same cannot be said for the #15 OAK-Pescarolo LMP1 which retired with engine failure just after the nine-hour mark.
After demonstrating its raw pace by qualifying fifth overall, Guillaume Moreau was forced to start from the tail of the 60+ strong field following the car’s failed stall test at scrutineering. It did not take the rapid Frenchman long to recover the lost ground however, handing over to Bertrand Baguette having climbed back up to where he should have started.
Making his prototype racing bow after a successful single-seater career, the Belgian ace’s faultless and consistent triple stint was followed by Dominik Kraihamer’s own OAK Racing debut. It would start in unfortunate circumstances however when the Austrian was tagged from behind and sent helplessly spinning into the tyre wall. The resulting damage, although light, was sufficient to necessitate a pit-stop that cost further time.
With the car back up to speed it wasn’t long before a strong top-six overall finish looked likely, only for the engine to have other ideas.
Sebastien Philippe, Team Principal: “Obviously it’s great to start the World Endurance Championship with a podium finish which, along with Friday’s pole position, gives us a good points haul from the weekend. Having said that I think we had the car to fight for victory. With the high level of attrition it’s such a shame that the engine failed in the LMP1. All three drivers had done a fantastic job up to that point so I’m disappointed for them and the mechanics. They deserved a better result than retirement.”
Bertrand Baguette, #15 OAK-Pescarolo LMP1: “When you consider that we started from the tail of the field, we can at least be proud of bringing the car back into contention. We’ve shown that the car is competitive, very consistent and easy to drive, while Dunlop has also provided us with a good tyre. The pace is clearly there over the long stints. Without the engine failure a podium looked very likely with so many others hitting trouble. I’m obviously new to prototypes but I like driving big, powerful cars. I can’t wait to be back for another go at Spa.”
Olivier Pla, #24 Morgan 2012 LMP2: “It’s a great way to start our WEC campaign with second position here. For some reason the pace and handling were both very good during my daylight stints but tailed off towards the end of the race when I was not able to fight for the win. By the end I was just concentrating on getting the car to the finish as these points are very important for the rest of the season. I have to say the beginning of the week was quite difficult so this is a fantastic reward for the team following all their hard work. They’ve done an incredible job.”
Meanwhile, there was more good news for OAK Racing’s manufacturing department Onroak Automotive whose other Morgan 2012 LMP2, run by official US partner team Conquest Endurance, also scored a class podium finish, this time in the American Le Mans Series’ prototype category.
OAK Racing’s WEC campaign will continue at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on May 5. Before then however it will be in LMP2 action at the season-opening European Le Mans Series round at Paul Ricard on March 31.
Conquest Endurance Sebring 12 Hour Race Report – Conquest Endurance is a ‘Survivor’ at Sebring
Though it never had to go in front of a Tribal Council this past week, the Conquest Endurance team’s first race in the American Le Mans Series Presented by Tequila Patrón had as many twists, turns and drama as a full seaon of the long-running reality TV show ‘Survivor.’
From taking delivery – at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway – of its Onroak Automotive designed and built 2012 Morgan-Judd car just one week before the race, to finding a substitute third driver just 12 hours before the green flag, Conquest Endurance and owner Eric Bachelart kept earning ‘Survivor’-like immunity to get them to the end of one of the most grueling races in North American motorsports.
The Conquest Endurance ALMS debut came in the 60th Anniversary of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. It’s an event that just making it to the finish in the middle of the Florida darkness is an accomplishment. But in its first ALMS and Sebring race, Conquest Endurance not only survived, it thrived.
Drivers Martin Plowman, David Heinemeier Hansson and late-addition Jan Heylen deftly negotiated traffic created by 62 cars racing around the bumpy and grueling 3.74-mile Sebring circuit for 12 hours. They pushed when they could and were patient when they needed to be. The drivers’ performance was equalled by the Conquest Endurance crew, which had to make a gear change back in the paddock area during the middle of the race.
Just like a season of ‘Survivor’ on TV, Conquest Endurance has learned how to play the game of high-stakes sports car racing and is ready for its next challenge.
Conquest Racing Sebring Race Notes
Television: Tape-delayed Sunday, March 18 at Noon on ABC
•Conquest Endurance owner Eric Bachelart decided to replace driver Francesco Dracone with Jan Heylen late Friday night. Bachelart reported that Dracone was sick, and he was not confident the driver could withstand the rigors of a 12-hour race. Heylen has a lengthy background in sports cars and Indy cars, including finishing second in a Champ Car race at Assen driving for Bachelart’s IndyCar team.
•The next ALMS race is the Tequila Patron American Le Man Series at Long Beach event, April 13th and 14th.
•A recap of Conquest Endurance’s effort in the 60th Anniversary of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida follows:
10:30 a.m Race Starts with Martin Plowman in the No. 37 Conquest Endurance Morgan-Judd car.
10:44 Yellow Flag tow-in for No. 61 GTE team and pits are closed.
11:00 Green Flag.
11:34 Plowman into the pits for fuel only.
11:52 Air temperature is 80 degrees with a track temperature of 88 degrees.
12:13 Plowman takes the lead in P2 class with 48 laps completed.
12:16 Plowman pits for four tires, fuel and driver change.
Plowman Quote: “It was very hairy at the start, a lot more aggressive than it was in practice. I was overly cautious at the beginning of my stint. And to make things worse, my radio came unplugged so I couldn’t hear for my first stint. We came in a little bit early to fill up with fuel and fix the radio. The car was getting better and better, and I was getting into a good rhythm.”
12:16 David Heinemeier Hansson now in the No. 37 Conquest Endurance Morgan-Judd car.
12:30 Air temperature is 83 degrees and track temperature is 95 degrees.
1:01 Yellow flag out for Heinemeier Hansson who is stopped in Turn 10 and out of fuel.
1:07 Heinemeier Hansson returns to pits and can only be fueled enough to return to track.
1:13 Heinemeier Hansson returns to pits for fuel only.
1:17 Heinemeier Hansson returns to pits for four-tire change and top off fuel.
1:37 Yellow flag for contact between No. 23 P2 car and the No. 59 GTC car.
1:52 Heinemeier Hansson returns to pits for fuel only.
2:03 Green flag.
2:33 Heinemeier Hansson in the pits for fuel, four-tire change and driver change.
Heinemeier Hansson Quote: “It’s an absolutely fantastic car to drive. All of the problems we seemed to have yesterday with the brakes are gone. Once the tires are hot, the car is in really good shape. It’s a very easy car to turn fast, consistent laps in, even in traffic. We had some learning issues with the pit stops and some problems with the radio, which is why we’re down a few laps. But I was very happy with the pace and the car. Hopefully, we can win it back. The first half of my stint, the radio didn’t work at all. To compound that problem, the low fuel lamp went on right as I went out, so I didn’t know if I was close to running out of fuel or not. By the time I saw the pit-in board, I ran out of fuel a few corners later.”
2:33 Jan Heyland is now driving the No. 37 Conquest Endurance Morgan-Judd car.
2:41 Yellow flag.
3:02 Green flag.
3:18 Heylen pits for a four-tire change and fuel.
4:27 Heylen stops car on track just past the bridge at Turn 1. Car has no power.
4:34 Yellow flag for Heylen stalled on the track.
4:38 No. 37 Conquest Endurance Morgan-Judd car is returned to the paddock area.
4:38 Team begins working on a gear change.
4:50 Green flag.
4:53 Yellow flag for spin in Turn 7 by the No. 5 PC car.
5:09 Green flag.
5:30 Heylen drives car out of the paddock and back into the Conquest Endurance pitbox.
Heylen quote: “Unfortunately, we just broke third gear. It’s just one of those things. The car was running well. I was in a good rhythm after my first stop. It was just really unfortunate. The guys obviously worked so hard to get the car here to Sebring, and it’s just a shame. Hopefully, we’ll have the car out in a half hour and still score some points for the championship.”
5:31 Martin Plowman returns to track driving the No. 37 Conquest Endurance Morgan-Judd.
5:31 Conquest Endurance is 38 laps down to overall leader and 33 behind the class leader.
5:43 Plowman in pits for stop and go penalty.
5:45 Yellow flag for No. 97 GT car stopped on course.
5:55 Plowman into pits for fuel only.
6:06 Green flag.
6:09 Yellow flag for No. 25 PC car accident at Turn 8.
6:40 Green flag.
6:52 Martin Plowman pits for fuel only.
7:03 Yellow flag for No. 30 GTC into the tire barriers in Turn 13.
7:23 Green flag.
7:34 Plowman pits for fuel, tires and driver change.
7:34 Heinemeier Hansson is back in the car.
7:42 Yellow flag.
7:47 Green flag.
8:01 Yellow flag to tow in the No. 18 PC.
8:14 Heinemeier Hansson pits for fuel.
8:21 Green flag.
9:01 Heinemeier Hansson pits for fuel only.
9:41 Heinemeier Hansson pits for fuel, tires and driver change. Jan Heylen will finish the race for Conquest Endurance.
10:12 Heylen pits for fuel only.
10:12 Heylen takes checkered flag in 44th overall and 3rd in ALMS P2 class.
Conquest Racing Sebring Race Quotes
“It was obviously a disappointing day, but it was really important to get back out and log miles so we can all learn. Last Saturday was the first time that the car rolled out of the box, so it’s been a very, very steep learning curve. Obviously, we would have loved to had done better, but I think we can take away a lot of lessons today as a whole team. There have been a lot of promising signs that the pace can be there, and we’ve just got to put the pieces together and minimize the mistakes and apply that to a whole race weekend. The important thing about finishing is we take away points. If we don’t finish we don’t get points. I think we’ve made a lot of progress. A week in the car is a week in the car, and we’ve discovered a lot of things that we can fix. Long Beach is always a great track, and I have a really good feeling around there. This track (Sebring) was mostly new to me, but Long Beach is a track I know real well so I can hit the ground running. It’s more of a sprint format and a little more like what I’m used to.”
David Heinemeier Hansson
“I was hoping that we would get as much running in as we could to get as much experience as we could since we’re still all new to the car, and we did that. We lost 25 laps or something close to that number to a blown gearbox, but we still managed to get a lot of sessions in and a lot of good practice. I feel like I know the car much, much better than I did before. I just got a lot more comfortable with the brakes in particular, how deep I could take it in and keep it on the limit of the downforce. It’s something that you just get with laps.”
“It was nice to finish the race. I was hoping to put a couple of good laps in at the end, and it just didn’t work out with the traffic. With me getting the call last night at 10:30, we weren’t as well prepared as we could have been. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a proper seat insert and on this last stint, I simply couldn’t see. I was sitting so low, I could kind of work around it when it was light out, but I couldn’t see anything in the dark. But the car was working well, and obviously I’m super happy to be here and to have done this with Conquest, David and Martin. It was a very good experience. Hopefully we can do it again. I think we did well all things considered. It was the first time for me here at Sebring doing the Twelve Hours in a P2 car, so I think we did alright. We put some decent times in. Like I said, hopefully we can come back and do it again.”
“We finished the race, and that’s what we wanted to do. We had a few issues related to the new car, so we have some work to do when we get back. But we wanted to finish this first race in one piece, and we did. We had a problem with the gearbox. One of the gears broke, but other than that the car was pretty amazing. The car is finally going to see the shop this week, and we’re going to address different issues that we had so we’ll be ready to go to Long Beach. All together, the guys did a really good job. We learned a lot, and there were quite a few people on board. I feel that now we’ve learned all of these things and now we can build, but we had to start somewhere. I’m very proud of all the guys and very thankful because everyone has been working very hard. It’s been a very long week, and we’ve put a lot of hours into this project. Now it’s back to Indianapolis to regroup and move forward.
source: GRand Solutions Communications, grand-solutions.net, conquestracing.com
Lotus LMP2 12 Hours of Sebring
#31 Thomas Holzer (GER) – Mirco Schultis (GER) – Luca Moro (ITA)
Race Position 10 (FIA WEC) Lap time 1:54.474 (Thomas Holzer)
Position 6 (LMP2 class)
The newly-created FIA World Endurance Championship started off with the first race of the season today. Lotus finished the finished the race in 10th position in the overall classification and in 6th position in the LMP2 classification.
It was an impressing day for the team that has made a great effort achieve this good result. Thomas Holzer, Mirco Schultis and Luca Moro performed well in the car and managed to bring it to the finish.
Thomas Holzer, Race Driver #31:
“It was an amazing feeling to start and finish the race for Lotus at the first round of WEC. Racing at the 12 Hours of Sebring means a lot to me and I am happy to be part of it this year. Thanks to the whole team for the great job they did the last days so that we could achieve this great result.”
Mirco Schultis, Race Driver #31:
“It was a tough race and very difficult to drive when the sun set down. I enjoyed racing though and it is a great result for the whole. It was great to participate in the first race of WEC and I am looking forward to work with the team this season.”
Luca Moro, Race Driver #31:
“The atmosphere in Sebring is unique, especially when you are racing at night. You have to be fully concentrated until the end of the race. I am happy that we finished the race in 10th position in the overall classification and in 6th position in the LMP2 classification. It is a great result for the team and I want to say thank you that I can be part of it.”
Lotus LMP2 Second Day at the 12 Hours of Sebring
#31 Thomas Holzer (GER) – Mirco Schultis (GER) – Luca Moro (ITA)
Practice 4 Position 14 Lap time 1:54.407 (Thomas Holzer)
Qualifying LMP2 Position 10 Lap time 1:53.080 (Thomas Holzer)
The first qualifying of the new FIA World Endurance Championship was underway today at Sebring International Raceway.
Lotus LMP2 qualified 10th in LMP2 category with Thomas Holzer at the wheel of the Lotus Lola B12/80 Coupe. The young German will also be the one who will start the first ever race of WEC.
The team has fulfilled its programme during the test sessions and made good progress during the week. Lotus LMP2 is looking forward to the race and wants to show another good performance.
Thomas Holzer, Race Driver #31:
“It was a great honour for me to participate in the first ever qualifying for Lotus LMP2 in WEC. Already in the practice this morning I had a good feeling in the car. We improved during all the sessions and I am looking forward to the race tomorrow. It is going to be very exciting to start the race for the team.”
Mirco Schultis, Race Driver #31:
“It is a great day for Lotus LMP2 having qualified 10th in the first event of WEC. The car got quicker during every session and in the cockpit you could feel the progress. I am really looking forward to participating in the 12 Hours of Sebring tomorrow and I am sure that we will perform well.”
Luca Moro, Race Driver #31:
“It is great fun to drive for Lotus LMP2 and I can’t wait to race here in Sebring again. Compared to the first test sessions we had at the beginning of this week the car improved and we could pick up speed. I am positive about our performance during the race and I hope that we will achieve a good result.”
Joel scored first 2012 FIA WEC points!
Swiss GT driver Joel Camathias (31) alongside his team-mates, Finnish driver Markus Palttala (34) and American Bill Binnie (54), driving #55 JWA/Avila Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, finished 6th in the GTE Am Class at the inaugural round of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship.
It has been a very tough race beginning for Joel, since he took depart only 1h30′ later than the expected time. In fact just few minutes before the race he had to change car clutch.
Considering all at the end Joel was happy to f
“For sure we need to improve our pace, we got some important information from the race. I thought we couldn’t take part at the race ’cause the problem with car clutch, but my team did an incredible job and they repaired the clutch. At the end I’m considering myself happy and how things have been evolved. We got some good informations, we finished a long race and we got some points!”.
Next round: 6 Hours of Spa (May, 5th)
Franck Mailleux has strong start at Sebring before Signatech-Nissan unfortunately forced out of 12 hour race after unexpected collision
Franck Mailleux and the Signatech-Nissan team have been forced to retire from the 12 Hours of Sebring race after a collision in the third hour of the event caused irreparable damage to the Oreca 03 chassis during Olivier Lombard’s second stint.
The team had enjoyed a solid start to the opening round of this year’s new World Endurance Championship with Franck qualifying in fourth place on Friday and completing a strong double stint as the race got underway at 10.30 local time on Saturday morning.
Franck made a good start from his fourth place in LMP2 and made his way up into the podium positions with relative ease. A delay at his first scheduled pit stop moved him back into fourth place in the combined LMP2 standings, but a strong second of those cars in the WEC LMP2 classification as he handed over to Olivier Lombard. Unfortunately, Lombard was unable to complete his competitive double stint as a result of an unexpected accident on lap 85 of the race.
The driver was caught out by a patch of oil left on the track by another car which caused him to spin. This alone would not have been much of a problem but, at the same time, a GT car running behind him did exactly the same thing and ended up crashing into the #23 Signatech-Nissan.
The car was transported back to the garage in the hope that the team could rejoin the race but the damage to the front of the car, caused by the GT car collision, was irreparable and there was no alternative but to retire from the race.
The pace and reliability of the Nissan-powered Oreca 03 chassis and Dunlop tyres gave the team cause for encouragement right from the first laps in the pre-event test earlier in the week. Their competitiveness was underlined by the speed of the car during both Franck’s and Olivier’s stints so there is natural disappointment that they will be returning empty handed from Sebring, a race in which they scored a podium finish in 2011.
Franck Mailleux commented: “We are all very disappointed to have retired from Sebring, especially at such an early stage of the race. After a solid qualifying yesterday, I felt I had a really good double stint at the start of the race and we were quickly establishing a podium rhythm. The car felt quick, the Nissan engine was responsive, as always, and the Dunlop tyres were giving me confidence, so all in all I think we would have fought hard for a podium finish. It is a long race and anything can happen but it is very frustrating to be heading back to Europe with no points from this opening race of the new WEC after our initial promise. I have had a great week at this fantastic circuit with the Signatech-Nissan team and my new team-mates, Olivier and Jordan. We have all had a very good working relationship and this gives us a good foundation for the rest of the season. It’s great to be back in the full swing of the racing season and we will look to rectify this disappointment at the next race at Spa-Francorchamps in May. Thanks also to my sponsors, Sojasun, who have, as always, shown their unwavering support.”
Franck Mailleux and Signatech-Nissan were forced to retire from the Sebring 12 Hours race