Sebring LMP2 winners: In their owns words
In a race full of storybook moments, Acura and Andretti Green Racing had one of the best. The newest manufacturer in the American Le Mans Series wasted no time in getting to Victory Circle with a fantastic debut win in LMP2 at Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring behind the Andretti Green crew and drivers Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan.
Acura took the top two positions in class as Lowe’s Fernandez Racing finished second in its Acura-powered Lola with Adrian Fernandez, Luis Diaz and David Martinez. The emotion and joy following the endurance classic was overwhelming to say the least.
Robert Clarke, president of Honda Performance Development:
“I can't put it in words. I would rate it as one of the highest emotional experiences I’ve had. So much work went into this program. It was one of my wild ideas and it went all the way from ‘hell no’ to our result today. It has been a long road, not just for HPD but for Acura, our team, sponsors, drivers, everyone who is involved in the program.
“I couldn’t have been so bold as to dream of this result. I could go on about the laundry list of things that could go wrong. I knew we would get to the end of the race one way or the other.”
“We hoped to earn the invitation to Le Mans. It is more important to us to convince ourselves that we are deserving of that. We’ll know if we deserve the opportunity come the end of the season.”
Michael Andretti, Andretti Green Racing co-principal
“This was a fun race except for those last 20 laps. It was a great way to start out in Acura’s first factory sports car race. It was a tough race and we knew it coming into this weekend. But the 12-hour simulation race last month here helped us, and all of the Acura teams were prepared for today’s race. Obviously it paid off for all three teams.”
“I want to reiterate about the effort that everyone put in. As drivers we have the easy job. Everyone put in such a good effort. I have heard about Sebring my whole life. It’s something I’ve always want to do. It’s something my brother (Marino) has done a lot and he said it was so much fun. And I'm happy to come here and win one.”
“We've been testing a lot. It’s been almost seven years since I’ve been coming to America. Bryan and Dario took me around at 10 o’clock (Friday) night and now I really understand what this race is. I have won many races before and championships, but this one is going to be very nice to remember.”
“I really couldn’t catalog all the problems from the last hour. Right from the beginning we were having battery voltage problems so we couldn’t use a lot of the electronics. Then we had problems with the gearbox. I think in the last 10 laps the car shut off half a dozen times and refired. We were thinking things were looking great to, ‘Oh no, not here’, to the high of ‘We're gonna win!’
“I have to take my hat off to the group, I have never seen a group that has worked so hard and put in so much effort. You wouldn't believe how many problems we had in testing and it’s a testament to bring it here and to bring us this result. This is my most special victory for many reasons, one because I got to share it with my friends Tony and Dario.”
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg. The race will start at 5:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 31. SPEED will provide a same-day broadcast event from 8 to 11 p.m. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.