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Aston Martin, Corvette Fast At Sebring

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Thursday, February 10 2011

The Corvette was fast in GT at the ALMS test in Sebring this week. (Photo courtesy of the ALMS)

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Lola-Aston Martin and Corvette dominated this week’s annual Sebring Winter Test.

The Muscle Milk Lola-Aston Martin had the fastest time of the week during Thursday’s final session – a 1:49.997 (121.094 mph) lap by Lucas Luhr at Sebring International Raceway. The two-day session served as a preview for the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida and the opening round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.

Luhr will drive at the 12 Hours with Klaus Graf and team owner Greg Pickett in Muscle Milk’s new Aston Martin-powered Lola coupe for LMP1. The squad won in P2 last year at Sebring with a Porsche RS Spyder, and went quickest during each of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s two sessions in its new Lola-Aston Martin. Thursday’s final session began with a brief rain shower, but the track dried midway during the afternoon.

The Muscle Milk entry outpaced Dyson Racing in each of the four sessions. The Lola-Mazda coupe’s fastest time was a 1:50.205 lap in the afternoon session. Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Jay Cochran all shared driving duties.

Corvette Racing got into the act as well in GT with the best class times both days. The team’s No. 3 Corvette C6.R of Olivier Beretta, Tommy Milner and Antonio Garcia posted the quickest time of all with a 2:02.186 (109.014 mph) pass in the afternoon. The Corvette operation was consistent with the sister car of Jan Magnussen, Oliver Gavin and Richard Westbrook setting a lap of 2:02.197 (109.004 mph) in the morning.

Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long was third quickest in GT with a lap of 2:02.373 (108.848 mph) in the afternoon session. The final four-hour run was particularly close with only 0.43 seconds separating the top four cars – the two Corvettes and Porsches from Flying Lizard and Team Falken Tire.

CORE autosport’s ORECA FLM09 of Jon Bennett, Frankie Montecalvo and Ryan Dalziel went quickest in LMPC with a lap of 1:54.370 (116.464 mph). Its time in the morning session topped both of Genoa Racing’s entries, led by Larry Conner’s time of 1:55.721 (115.104 mph) in the morning. The second ORECA of Eric Lux, Elton Julian and Christian Zugel posted a best lap of 1:55.636 (115.189 mph), also in the morning.

The GT Challenge fight was just as close. Like LMPC, the class’ fastest times all came in the morning session. TRG’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry of Spencer Pumpelly, Duncan Ende and Dion von Moltke set the quickest lap at 2:06.405 (105.376 mph). Alex Job Racing, last year’s Sebring class winner, was next at 2:06.647 (105.174 mph); Leh Keen, Bill Sweedler and Brian Wong each drove the Porsche.

The 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida is set for 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 19. The race will be shown live and in its entirety on ESPN3.com and americanlemans.com starting at 10 a.m. ET. ABC will provide coverage from 12:30 to 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 20. Visit the American Le Mans Series’ schedule page for information on tickets and area accommodations.

A collection of the best teams and manufacturers from the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón will head to the Sarthe region of France in June for the 79th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Flying Lizard Motorsports and Corvette Racing each have two entries, Highcroft Racing moves up to LMP1, and Robertson Racing and Level 5 Motorsports will make their debut in the world’s most famous auto race.

A total of 56 cars are on the preliminary list. Flying Lizard has one Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in both the GTE Pro and GTE Am. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, sanctioning body for Le Mans, defines GTE-Pro as a professional category and GTE Am for varying skill level of drivers and cars more than one year-old. The Lizards have raced at Le Mans with single-car efforts every year since 2005 and were third in GT2 that year.

Corvette Racing is back at Le Mans again with two cars in GTE Pro. GM’s factory road-racing team will send two brand new Corvette C6.Rs to France in an effort to win for the first time in the class. Corvette won in GT1 six times at Le Mans.

Robertson Racing – owned by the husband-wife duo of Andrea and David Robertson – will race one of its Ford GTs in the GTE Am class. A second Robertson Ford is on the reserve entry for GT cars as well. Additionally, Krohn Racing will enter a Ferrari F430 GT in GTE Am.

In the prototype ranks, two-time and defending ALMS champion Highcroft Racing will field Honda Performance Development’s new LMP1 car at Le Mans. The Duncan Dayton-owned squad debuted last year in LMP2.

Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports is among the teams making its inaugural run at Le Mans. Last year’s LMPC champion in ALMS has entered an HPD-powered Lola coupe in LMP2.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Thursday, February 10 2011
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