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Prototype (P)

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USCC Point Standings
After Lime Rock
Prototype Drivers
Pos Drivers Total
1 Joao Barbosa 220
1 Christian Fittipaldi 220
2 Dane Cameron 216
2 Eric Curran 216
3 Jordan Taylor 211
3 Ricky Taylor 211
4 Marc Goossens 197
5 Oswaldo Negri Jr. 191
6 Jonathan Bomarito 183
6 Tristan Nunez 183
7 Tom Long 179
7 Joel Miller 179
8 Katherine Legge 171
8 Ryan Dalziel 171
9 John Pew 164
10 Sean Rayhall 120
11 Johannes Van Overbeek 95
11 Scott Sharp 95
11 Luis Felipe Derani 95
12 Ryan Hunter-Reay 84
13 Max Angelelli 82
14 Olivier Pla 77
15 Spencer Pigot 72
15 Ed Brown 72
16 Ben Devlin 70
17 Andy Meyrick 67
18 Scott Pruett 62
19 Filipe Albuquerque 61
20 Rubens Barrichello 53

Teams
1 #5 Action Express Racing 220
2 #31 Action Express Racing 216
3 #10 Wayne Taylor Racing 211
4 #90 Visitflorida.Com Racing 197
5 #60 Michael Shank Racing 191
6 #55 Mazda Motorsports 183
7 #70 Mazda Motorsports 179
8 #0 Panoz Deltawing Racing 144
9 #2 Tequila Patron Esm 95
10 #50 Highway To Help 46
11 #81 Dragonspeed 29
12 #01 Ford Chip Ganassi 27
13 #02 Ford Chip Ganassi 25
14 #37 Smp Racing 23
15 #24 Porsche Centre Oakville 21

Manufacturers
1 Chevrolet 236
2 Honda 227
3 Mazda 212
4 Bmw 56
5 Ford 30
Another Turn: Field of Dreams

by David Phillips
Friday, February 13, 2009

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Peugeot and Audi will do battle again this year
A pretty compelling case can be made to support the proposition that the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida will be THE premier sports car endurance race of the 2009 season. One need look no further than the LMP1 entry which, with the addition of a second Peugeot entry, not only boasts more manufacturer depth than last year’s 12 Hours but far and away the deepest manufacturer involvement of any sports car race this year.

After all, with Acura in the first year of its LMP1 program and with no plans to journey to le Circuit de la Sarthe, only at Sebring will Acura, Audi and Peugeot go head-to-head this season. What’s more, Sebring will not only mark the race debut of the Acura ARX-02a and but the public debut of the Audi R15 TDI. For while the ARX-02a was very much on display for all to see at Sebring during the American Le Mans Series’ Winter Test in late January, to date only a few “spy” photos of the R15 have surfaced. Plus the new Audi isn’t expected to break cover much before the opening test session of Sebring race week on the morning of March 16.

So it in no way disparages the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans to note that not only will Sebring be the one and only time all three major LMP1 manufacturers go head to head, but by the time Le Mans rolls around the Audi R15 will be - if not exactly old news - considerably more familiar to race fans the world over than at Sebring.

Of course with two brand new, unraced designs from Acura and Audi, one would have to look at the tried and true Peugeot 908HDi as the Sebring favorite. Virtually every time Peugeot had locked horns with Audi over the past couple of seasons the French manufacturer has had the edge in outright speed only to see the Germans win on the basis of their trump cards - reliability and efficiency. Needless to say, the roles may be reversed at Sebring with the next generation Audi - and quite possibly the Acura - quicker than the 908HDi but perhaps lacking the reliability that can only come from miles, miles and more miles of testing and racing.

Though Audi and Peugeot will be out to win at Sebring, their number one priority for ’09 remains victory at Le Mans. Not so Acura, of course, for whom Sebring may be the one and only time they get a chance to compete with Audi and Peugeot this season.

Another intriguing dimension to the Sebring race comes in the driver lineups. Although Audi’s roster of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, and Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner is as predictable as it is strong, both Acura and Peugeot bring some intriguing match-ups to the venerable airfield circuit. As was the case at last year’s Petit Le Mans, 2008 IndyCar Series and Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon will join Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud in the de Ferran Motorsports ARX-02a (now sporting XM Satellite livery), while 2007 IndyCar Series and Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti augments Patr¢n Highcroft’s regular duo of David Brabham and Scott Sharp. (Who knows, the Scotsman might even get to race the Patron ARX-02a this time.)

And while one of the Peugeots will be driven by the familiar trio of Nic Minassian, Pedro Lamy and Christian Klien, the second will feature an intriguing combination of talent in World Rally star-turned sports car ace Stephane Sarrazin, three time Champ Car champion-turned Toro Rosso F1 driver Sebastien Bourdais and multifaceted Franck Montagny. The latter began the ’08 season on the podium in his one and only Champ Car race and then went on to score an overall win for Andretti Green Racing in their LMP2 Acura at Detroit and another class win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

All-in-all, the Acura vs. Audi vs. Peugeot battle figures to make the 57th edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring a memorable one … and one that race fans can only hope (or is it dream?) proves to be a preview of things to come if and when Audi and Peugeot someday decide to compete with Acura in the full American Le Mans Series schedule.

David Phillips is one of North America’s most respected and renowned motorsports journalists. His ‘Another Turn’ feature appears regularly on americanlemans.com. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Le Mans Series.

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