12 Hours of Sebring

Audi sebring 2013

AUDI TAKES THE 12 HOURS OF SEBRING.

After 12 hours of intense racing, the winners of the 61st Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring were greeted by fireworks as they crossed the finish line at Sebring International Raceway.  America’s oldest circuit is also one of the world’s most challenging, in part owing to the flat and featureless landscape.  Long straightaways, tight corners and switchbacks contribute to driver fatigue making concentration paramount to staying on the bumpy track which itself generates tremendous stress on the suspension and produces a skittering effect under braking.   A handful of laps on this track requires skill and talent, 12 hours of racing on it demands superior endurance from both driver and machine.

After trading first and second throughout the race with their teammates in the #2 car, the #1 Joest Audi R18 e-tron Quattro, that had started from pole position, took the P1 win by a mere 7.68 seconds.  Winning driver Benoit Treluyer (Alecon, FRA) shared the car with Marcel Fassler (Gross, SUI) and Oliver Jarvis (Burwell, GBR).  The #2 car, driven by Lucas di Grassi (MON), Tom Kristensen (DEN) and Allan McNish (GBR) finished second.  Taking third, five laps behind the leader, was the #12 Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 driven by Nicolas Prost (Fechy, FRA), Nick Heidfeld (Monchengladbach, GER) and Neel Jani (Jens, SUI).

“For me, a fantastic week and a fantastic couple of months,” said Jarvis with a nod to his GT win in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the #24 Audi R8.  “It’s been a fantastic start to the year for me.  I could never have dreamed of this. To win at Daytona was unexpected, but to come here and win again is a dream come true.  It was a privilege to be invited to race here.  When I got the call I put the phone down and started jumping.  I’ve had two races in America and two wins.  I hope to come back in the future.”

Fassler, who had earned the pole during qualifying, noted that winning the pole was a great thing, but that it was just one lap compared to a 12 hour race.  “The Race is always quite tough,” said Fassler.  “To leave Sebring as a winner is a great feeling.  Sebring is well known in Europe and to win a big race is good for a driver.”

Treluyer, who brought it home tonight, gave credit to his co-drivers.  “Marcel did a really great job on the pole position and Oliver did a great job through the night…he pulled away, and I just had to keep the gap.”

In the P2 class the victory was also claimed by the pole starting car.  The #551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03B, driven by Scott Tucker (Leawood, Kan.), Marino Franchitti (Edinburgh, GBR) and pole winner Ryan Briscoe (Sydney, AUS), finished ahead of their teammates in the  #552 car driven by Tucker, Ryan Hunter-Reay (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Simon Pagenaud (Montmorillon, FRA).  Third in class was the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zylek Z11SN with the driving team of Tom Kimber-Smith (Reading, GBR), Christian Zugel (Holmdel, N.J.) and Eric Lux (Williamsville, N.Y.).

With Tucker driving stints in both the #551 and #552 cars, he takes home not only two trophies, but also a Rolex watch which each driver in the five class-winning cars were presented.  Additionally, he is the fourth driver in the race’s history to win the 12 Hours of Sebring four years in a row. 

The PC class win went to the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry driven by David Cheng (Samamish, Wash.), Mike Guasch  (Pleasant Hill, Calif.) and David Ostella (CAN), followed by the #8 BAR1 Motorsports car driven by Kyle Marcelli (CAN), Chris Cumming (CAN) and Stefan Johansson (Los Angeles, Calif.).  The #500 Performance Tech Motorsports car driven by Tristan Nunez (Boca Raton, Fla.), Charlie Shears (Houston, Texas) and David Heinemeier Hansson (Chicago, Ill.) took the third spot on the podium.

Oliver Gavin (Northhamptonshire, GBR), Tommy Milner (Leesburg, Va.) and Richard Westbrook (London, GBR), in the #4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, edged out the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia driven by Gianmaria Bruni (Rome, ITA), Olivier Beretta (Monte Carlo, MON) and Matteo Malucelli (Meldola, ITA) for the win in the GT class.  Taking third in class was  the #17 Team Falcon Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Wolf Henzler (Nürtingen, GER), Bryan Sellers (Atlanta, Ga.) and Nick Tandy (Bedford, GBR),

“It certainly seemed like we were making it harder for us than we wanted to at times,” said Gavin.  “We had some issues with the car and got a lap and a bit down and then we got a penalty for something, I’m not entirely sure what, but that cost us 60 seconds.  The crew were absolutely fantastic today, but more so Tommy and Richard drove fantastically, especially Tommy at the end of the race, he was amazing.  He put so much pressure on the Ferrari that towards the end the Ferrari made a mistake and we took the lead.  It was an amazing 12 hours of us never giving up. I’m delighted for everybody at Corvette Racing.”

Tommy Milner acknowledged that the team was off to a great start to the season.  “I’m still a bit lost for words.  After my first stint we were about a minute behind the Ferrari and I wasn’t able to close the gap much but when we made our next two pit stops our Corvette crew did an absolutely incredible job.  I think the first one was about 20 seconds and the second one was 10 seconds.  After the first one it gave me so much confidence I just kept pushing, it was an unbelievable finish.”

Richard Westbrook said that it was clear from the beginning that they had a good car.  “When I had the problem with the dashboard it put us two laps down, but after a few yellow flag periods and great driving stints by these two guys we got back on the lead lap and of course thanks to those two great pit stops we managed to get in the lead.  At one point I was concerned because we weren’t getting the expected yellow flag periods and in fact I think we had, at one point, five hours of green flag running and it was then that I felt maybe this is just not going to be our day.  Then came the amazing pit stops and Tommy’s great driving at the end.  On the balance of things I believe we deserved this win, we did it the hard way.”

Eleven Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars ran in the GTC class with the win going to Alex Job Racing’s #22 car driven by Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Monte Carlo, MON) and Dion von Moltke (Coral Gables, Fla.).  Nelson Canache Jr. (Caracas, VEN), Spencer Pumpelly (Atlanta, Ga.) and Brian Wong (Newport Beach, Calif.) were second in the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsorts entry, followed by Henrique Cisneros (Miami, Fla.), Marco Seefried (Wemding, GER) and Sean Edwards (MON) in NGT Motorsport’s #30

Formula 1

Kimi wins oz 2013

KIMI TAKES AN EASY WIN IN AUSTRALIA.

Kimi Räikkönen opened up Lotus F1 Team’s 2013 championship points account with a maximum deposit by taking victory in the first race of the season; the Australian Grand Prix. Kimi made two pit stops – whilst most of his opposition made three – to secure his 20th Grand Prix win, equalling the tally of compatriot Mika Häkkinen. Romain Grosjean came home in tenth position after a difficult race. Kimi leads the Drivers’ Championship with 25 points to Fernando Alonso’s 18, whilst the team occupies second position in the Constructors’ Championship with 26 points to Ferrari’s 30.

Kimi Räikkönen,
“I’m happy for the team and for myself also. We’ve had a quick car all weekend and there were no issues with it either, so we could just focus on trying different things and getting the setup how we wanted. I had a good feeling that we would be ok with the tyres after practice and the team got the strategy perfect. I made a few places at the start and then had a good battle with Lewis [Hamilton] but after that it was quite simple; probably one of my easiest wins. You can’t start the season much better than winning the first race and of course we hope we can be fighting at the front of the Championship, but there’s a long way to go still and we need to keep pushing hard all the way.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
“I’m very happy. After Kimi’s great start we were hoping that we could achieve a podium finish, then as the race unfolded and we saw the other teams pitting – showing that they were on three-stop strategies – our position became stronger and stronger. It’s a fantastic feeling to open the season in this way. Kimi drove impeccably all weekend and gave the team his all. Romain had a difficult race and we have to analyse what went wrong for him. This win is a further testament to all the hard work which goes on at Enstone and we owe tremendous thanks to each and every employee. We head to Malaysia in the best position we could be. ”

James Allison, Technical Director
“It was a splendid thing we saw today. It’s a day like this which make everything about this job worthwhile and that will be true for everyone involved with the team. It’s great. We were a little deflated after qualifying, as we knew the car had better pace than our grid positions suggested. Nevertheless we were confident from the long run pace we’d seen on Friday that we could make a two-stop strategy work. It was lovely to see the lap times ticking off metronomically without any real fear that the tyres weren’t going to go the distance. Hopefully we can repeat Kimi’s fantastic performance again next weekend with both cars.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“As we’ve seen this weekend the field is incredibly close and each detail counts even more, so we’ve worked hard with the team to exploit every last area of performance from the engine over the winter period. In the race we were aggressive with the fuel strategy to maintain a healthy gap over Fernando and Kimi did a great job with managing the tyres. Romain also came in strongly at the end to get a double points’ finish. A fantastic way to start the season!.”