Qualifications for the 12 Hours of Sebring took place today and the story of the day was the Acura LMP1 taking pole position from the Audi and Peugeot. Scott Dixon drove the ARX-02a to a fast lap of 1:45:278. Kristensen put the new Audi R-15 in P2 and Christian Klien has the 908 Coupe starting P3.
Acura was not only celebrating the overall pole position, as the Acura LMP2 car took top honors in the class at the hands of Adrian Fernandez. The new Mazda powered Dyson racing machines were not able to match pace with the Fernandez and will have to make up the time on the race track come Saturday.
The GT class was slightly less dramatic as the Chevrolet Corvettes continue to battle only each other in the GT1 division. Gavin put the #4 Corvette on pole position while the #3 sister car will start behind. A bitter sweet pole for the Corvettes as it is the 10th anniversary of Corvette racing, however the lack of competition and the eventual dissolving of the GT1 class has made racing a little dull for the team. Next year will present new challenges as the team moves to the fiercly competitive GT2 class against the likes of Ferrari, Ford, and BMW.
The GT2 did not dissapoint as Dirk Werner put the Farnbacher Loles Porsche on pole beating out the Flying Lizard car and Jorg Bergmeister. Gianmaria Bruni puts the Advanced Engineering Ferrari F430 into P3 on the grid. Another suprise was the 5th place spot taken by the Robertsons and their Doran Ford GT-R. The car beat out many of the factory teams during the session which says a lot for the team and the development they have put forth on the car. Rahal Letterman Racing will be asking some questions as the BMW M3 was not up to snuff during the trial session. The team had a decent showing during practice but will have a hefty task ahead of them come race day.
Overall the sessions were filled with great action and a few suprises. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the LMP1 class as Acura continues to try and stun the paddock with its very competitive pace. I am also hoping for the Ferraris to get the act together and claim some GT2 glory which will be no easy task against the leading Porsches. Make sure to stop by Openpaddock.net for continued Sebring news and opinions.
One Thought to “Acura Stuns Sebring”
This is going to be a blast. With the uncertainty of the Pugeots being modified to meet the new ACO rules in the offseason, the brand spanking new R15, and Acura’s first attempt at LMP1, this race could turn out to be a classic. Especially since you could cover difference of the qualifying speed of the prototypes with a blanket.
I will be very interested to see how the Acura performs this weekend with the difference in their design philosophy. The car is slower on the straights but lightning quick in the corners, but all those g’s in the corners will be telling on how robust their new design is.
The R15’s and Pugeot’s are here to gather test data for Le Mans, but make no mistake. They want to win too.
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