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Fernandez tops morning test times
The day’s second four-hour session of the American Le Mans Series Winter Test is underway at Sebring. The morning session ended under cloudy skies and winds that eventually led to a brief shower. Cars are on the track and will continue into the afternoon to close out the first day.

Only nine of the 16 cars on track recorded times. The Acura-powered Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Lola B05/40 led the cars that posted times at 1:50.156. The No. 15 car of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz turned 18 laps, most of the recorded cars. Next quickest was Intersport Racing’s AER-powered Lola of Clint and Jon Field and Richard Berry.

Defending GT2 race winner Panoz was quickest in class. The Yokohama-liveried Panoz Esperante GTLM is being fielded this year by Panoz Team PTG. Team drivers Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand were in the No. 21 entry, which turned in a time of 2:04.423. Flying Lizard Motorsports’ two Porsche Type 997 RSRs were second and third with the No. 45 entry driven by Johannes van Overbeek less than 0.2 seconds behind the lead Panoz.

Here are selected quotes following the first session:

David Brabham, Highcroft Racing
Courage LC75-Acura (LMP2)
“Since it’s a new program, there is still much we are having to learn. We can’t run all day like some others. Both of us (Brabham and Stefan Johansson) have a lot of experience in this type of car. Stefan drove the Zytek last year so he has a bit more feedback.”

Seth Neiman, Flying Lizard Motorsports
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR-997 (GT2)
“This is a really great race car. Everything is new to us. The car is new. The tires are new. But the first impression is that this is a tremendous improvement by Porsche. It’s hard to make a comparison (from 2006). If we were making a comparison, then these cars are plainly quicker. What that means in terms of race pace we don’t know.”

Chris Dyson, Dyson Racing
Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2)
“The car ran perfectly right out of the box. Today is a learning day for the whole team. There are new faces and new people that we are working with. For us it getting used to the systems on the car. We are not going to concentrate on a lap time for now. The main thing is to get familiar with everything and how it all works together. The fundamentals of the car are quite good; aerodynamically it is very well balanced and the engine ran like a Swiss watch right out of the box. It is typical Porsche, stem to stern, no stone left unturned.

“What I like most about it is the aero. It is excellent: very efficient, very effective. In terms of drivability, it is quite easy to drive. We will get used to mechanically how the car works and how it reacts to different setups.

“(The driving style) is a bit different. There are different nuances and different philosophies in terms of how the setup is arrived. We are showing up mid-program but in terms of collaborative working relationship the merging of the two efforts is going to push the whole program forward.”

Bryan Herta, Andretti Green Racing
Courage LC75-Acura (LMP2)
“I ran here in 2002 and I remember it being bumpy, and I can tell you it hasn’t gotten any smoother! This is a new challenge. Learning how to adapt the car to different circuits. We’re definitely in a learning mode.

“It’s a totally different animal completely. They are both unique and totally different from the Indy Car. The best thing I’m trying to do is not think about ‘Gee my Indy car did this’ or ‘The Panoz did that.’ We’re focusing on what our Acura car is doing and adapting to that. The more time I spend in it the more comfortable I feel.

“The biggest thing we’ve been focusing on is reliability. There aren’t a terrible amount of performance issues. We’re just working with the usual shocks and springs and adjusting the balance of the car.

1. Lowe’s Fernandez Racing (Fernandez/Diaz), Lola B05/40-Acura (LMP2), 1:50.156 (120.919 mph)
2. Intersport Racing (J. Field/C. Field/Berry), Lola B05/40-AER (LMP2), 1:52.231 (118.684 mph)
3. Autocon Motorsports (Lewis/McMurry/Willman), Lola EX257-AER (LMP1), 2:00.02 (110.998 mph)
4. Panoz Team PTG (Auberlen/Hand), Panoz Esperante GTLM (GT2), 2:04.423 (107.054 mph)
5. Flying Lizard Motorsports (van Overbeek), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2) 2:04.607 (106.896)
6. Flying Lizard Motorsports (Neiman, Law), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:05.960 (105.748)
7. Panoz Team PTG (Maxwell), Panoz Esperante GTLM (GT2), 2:07.014 (104.870 mph)
8. Tafel Racing (Liddell/Henzler), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:08.842 (103.382 mph)
9. Robertson Racing (D. Robertson/A. Robertson/Luyendyk Jr.), Panoz Esperante GTLM (GT2), 2:09.185 (103.108)

*Only nine cars logged times.

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