Speeds Improve on Final Day of Sebring Winter Test
The 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Patr¢n Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway is now in the books, and the second day of the two-day session saw times come down in all classes.
Defending ALMS P1 co-champion Klaus Graf posted the quickest time of the test on Friday morning, turning a 1:46.368 (126.579 mph) lap in the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03c. The time was more than a full second quicker than teammate and fellow co-champion Lucas Luhr posted to lead Thursday’s sessions.
“It was a very productive test,” Graf said. “We made a lot of changes and went through a big program. We did a lot of miles, and the car was very reliable. It was a very important test for us to go through the updated components and make sure everything works OK and is reliable.
“A lot of what we did will help us throughout the season as well as for the Sebring race. The track conditions change so much here, and that’s normal, that it’s hard to say how things will be come race week. It depends on so many factors. Overall, it was a very satisfying test and we collected plenty of data for us to look over.”
In the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, Kyle Marcelli turned in a late flyer aboard the No. 8 BAR 1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09 to take over Winter Test bragging rights from the No. 18 Performance Tech team. Marcelli’s quick lap was a 1:54.803 (117.279 mph).
“This is going to be the second year for BAR 1 Motorsports,” Marcelli said. “Last year was put together really after the test at this point. It was so last-minute, and we were just battling from behind all year.
“We were fast, we had good appearances at certain events here and there, but we really pieced together the puzzle for this year with everything it took to go after a championship. The team looks good, we’ve got good people, we’ve got a good driver lineup and I think our only focus is to go after a championship.”
As it did Thursday, the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia once again showed the way in the GT class with a lap at 1:59.862 (112.329 mph) in the afternoon session. The morning session lead went to the No. 02 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari F458 Italia with Anthony Lazzaro at the wheel, which may have provided some consolation after Johannes van Overbeek crashed the team’s No. 01 machine earlier in the test’s only significant incident. Van Overbeek was not injured.
“As drivers and competitors, you’re always concerned about the lap time, so my last time in the car this morning, we were quite quick,” Lazzaro said. “That’s what we can leave on, so I’m happy with that. I’ve said it before, this team – when I came here for Sebring (in 2012) – made me feel welcome right away. It’s an extremely comfortable atmosphere to be in. It’s a really good group of guys that are really happy and love what they’re doing, but also quite serious. That’s what you saw as they got a couple of wins last year, most notably at Petit Le Mans. They know how to perform.”
Top honors in the GTC class went to the No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Spencer Pumpelly behind the wheel. Pumpelly logged a best lap at 2:06.061 (106.805 mph) late in the afternoon session.
“I’m proud of the lap time, but I think what was more important was the work we did to learn more about this car and get it ready for the race and try some things that will be helpful throughout the season,” Pumpelly said. “These guys are new to this car, but they’ve got a ton of experience. I can’t be happier to be a part of this team and this organization, and [co-drivers] Nelson [Canache] and Archie [Hamilton] also did an awesome job. It was a really good test for us and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
The new ALMS season will start with the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 16. The race will air live starting at 10:45 a.m. ET on SPEED, and ticket information is available through ALMS.com.