ALMS drivers discuss St. Pete race The head of the grid at this weekend's Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by XM Satellite Radio has no shortage of storylines. Audi, Acura, Porsche and Mazda all are represented in one of the deepest prototype fields in American Le Mans Series history. The LMP1 and LMP2 classes also will see three different types of fuel - clean diesel, cellulosic E85 and E10. Plus the Series' independent teams hope to continue their strong showing from the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Add all that plus a second consecutive stop to the famed St. Petersburg street circuit and you have all the ingredients for a classic. Just ask the drivers.
Adrian Fernandez, Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01b (LMP2) "I think this car has a lot more potential. We're still learning about the new chassis, but it's definitely an improvement over the last year. And I think having the three Acura teams together makes big sense. So we're very happy with the change and we just have to keep working on it. I think that St. Petersburg is going to be a good race track for us."
Timo Bernhard, Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2) "St. Pete is one of my favorite street circuits. When I came here last year for the first time, I had read about a lot of things but actually had never been there. And when I did the first couple of laps I already felt that this street circuit is very special because it's not a typical street circuit with a 90-degree right or a 90-degree left. It has some influence from a normal track, I would say. You have some quick corners; the last 'S-corner' is nearly flat with our car or sometimes flat, so it's different. That's what I like about it."
Bryan Herta, Andretti Green Racing Acura ARX-01b (LMP2) "I don't feel any more stress at St. Pete although I'm definitely busier being that it's an Acura race and Andretti Green Racing promotes the event. So there's a lot of that going on. And track time on street courses is always at a minimum so it just feels very hectic throughout the weekend. But I love street racing. I love the street courses, and I think that as an inaugural event last year it was really good. I'm looking forward to the new time slot in the middle of the day. I think hopefully that will shorten the day up for some of the fans and give them a reason to really stick around and cheer us on."
The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg presented by XM Satellite Radio is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 5 from the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be broadcast on ABC from 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET on April 5. American Le Mans Radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 from 5 to 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 6. Live American Le Mans Radio coverage will be available at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring.
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