The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is a tough enough race for even the most seasoned teams in the American Le Mans Series. But for a first-year full-season outfit such as Corsa Motorsports, the task of competing in America’s greatest sports car race is daunting at best.
Not that this matters to the bunch from Sandy, Utah. After racing in the Series twice last year, including at Sebring, the Steve Pruitt-owned team is eager to take on the challenges of the world’s most physically demanding race. Corsa Motorsports has entered Sebring with Gunnar Jeannette, Johnny Mowlem and Ralf Kelleners slated to drive the team’s Ferrari F430 GT. It also will make the Series racing debut for tire partner Hankook.
“We are all keenly aware that the Sebring race will be a very public 12-hour tire test for us,” said Mowlem, who was part of Risi Competizione’s GT2-winning effort in 2007 with the F430 GT. “Both Corsa Motorsports and Hankook knew that they were taking on a big challenge, not just with the tire development program that they've committed to, but doing it in the most competitive sports car environment that they could have chosen: the American Le Mans Series. The package - in terms of the car, team and drivers (although all proven in the Series before) - is new to itself. We just aim to go about our job in a quiet and professional manner and keep the program moving forward as efficiently as possible.”
That may be the best approach to take in a class that is stacked with other Ferraris and entries from Aston Martin, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Panoz and Porsche. But Corsa doesn’t see it as an uphill battle. Rather, it’s more of a gentle learning curve.
“This is a long-term program, and we couldn't ask for a better base to start from as Sebring is probably the most demanding racetrack in the world for any tire, especially in terms of its construction,” Mowlem said. “Based on our last two tests, Hankook will be providing us with new construction, profile and compound variations to test during the (Sebring) week, and we should know more about our realistic prospects for this year’s race by Wednesday of race week.”
The 2008 American Le Mans Series season opens with the 56th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 15. The race will start at 10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast live by SPEED, which will begin its coverage at 9:30 a.m. MotorsTV, Fox Latin America, 7TV in Russia and Greenlight Television will provide international coverage as well. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.
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