New Acura Sports Car Teams Prepared For Sebring SEBRING, Fla. - Friday's limited on-track activities and heavy rains plagued the final day of practice for Saturday's 55th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring but the Acura teams were still busy prepping their new sports cars for the manufacturer's American Le Mans Series debut on the famed 3.7-mile road circuit.
The three Acura factory-backed efforts - Lowe's Fernandez Racing, Highcroft Racing and Andretti Green Racing - all took the opportunity to go through their entire machines as they prepared for one of the world's toughest race events. Only the Fernandez squad put it's Acura car on the track Friday as the Highcroft and Andretti Green contingents worked in their paddock areas on proper race setups.
Luis Diaz and Adrian Fernandez swapped driving chores in the short 25-minute warm-up with the No. 15 Lowe's Acura Lola B05/40 posting the fourth-fastest speed of the practice session.
On Thursday, David Brabham qualified second in the No. 9 Highcroft Acura ARX-01a (1:47.109, 124.359 m.p.h.) in the LMP2 class. Brabham will drive with Duncan Dayton and Stefan Johansson Saturday.
Bryan Herta took Andretti Green's No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a to fourth on the LMP2 starting grid (1:47.423, 123.996 m.p.h.). Herta will partner with Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan on the AGR team.
Fernandez qualified his machine in the sixth position Thursday (1:48.417, 122.859 m.p.h.) and drives on Saturday with fellow Mexican stars Diaz and David Martinez in the 34-car field.
The No. 7 Penske Porsche with drivers Timo Bernhard, Roman Dumas and IndyCar Series regular Helio Castroneves will start from the pole position in the LMP2 division in the 55th running of the Sebring classic.
Saturday's Sebring telecast on the SPEED Channel begins at 9:30 a.m. (EDT).
TOM ANDERSON, Co-owner, No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola): "We tried some new pieces on the car in the Friday practice. We weren't sure about the new nose of the car that we received from Lola. So it was good to work with both noses and get a proper setup for Saturday's race. We are now comfortable with our car and we learned a lot about this kind of racing from the 12-hour simulation race we had last month. No one is going to have a perfect car for the entire race. You have to make some compromise for the whole race. I think there will be a couple of Porsches and one Acura that are going to be rabbits in this race. It is the old case of the tortoise and the hare and we'll play it in the middle. Twelve hours is a long time without something going wrong. Reliability, strategy and a solid pace will win this race. If someone runs the entire distance in a sprint, they will win easily. But I don't think that will be the case Saturday. It's a long, tough race and we want to be there at the end."
12 Hours of Sebring Starting Lineup
1. Penske Porsche #7 1:46.046
2. HIGHCROFT ACURA 1:47.109
3. Dyson Porsche # 16 1:47.130
4. ANDRETTI GREEN ACURA 1:47.423
5. Dyson Porsche #20 1:48.175
6. LOWE'S FERNANDEZ ACURA 1:48.417