Graf Flexes Muscle (Milk) in Sebring Testing
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s Klaus Graf set the best time in Tuesday’s second session as testing continued for this weekend’s 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. The defending P1 co-champion in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n set a lap of 1:47.789 (124.911 mph) in the team’s No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03a.
Graf, driving with fellow P1 champion Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas, was 0.735 seconds clear of Audi Sport Team Joest’s No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid prototype. The car – driven by Oliver Jarvis, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer – set a best time of 1:48.524 (124.065 mph). Rebellion Racing’s No. 13 Lola B12/60-Toyota of Mathias Beche, Congfu Chen and Andrea Belicchi – sat third at 1:50.198 (122.180 mph).
The only red flag for the session came with 10 minutes to go when the No. 1 Audi ran out of fuel on the opening part of its lap. Just before the stoppage, Aston Martin Racing’s No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage set the best GT time – 2:01.451 (110.86 mph). Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Bruno Senna are sharing the car.
SRT Motorsports’ No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R of Jonathan Bomarito, Tommy Kendall and Kuno Wittmer was just 0.357 seconds behind the Aston Martin. Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Corvette C6 ZR1 of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Richard Westbrook was third at 2:01.886 (110.464 mph).
In P2, Level 5 Motorsports’ two HPD ARX-03b prototypes held the top two times in class. The No. 055 for Scott Tucker, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud was fastest with a time of 1:53.263 (118.874 mph). The No. 95 of Tucker, Ryan Briscoe and Marino Franchitti was a second behind. Greaves Motorsport’s No. 41 Zytek-Nissan sat third with a 1:55.362 (116.711 mph).
DragonSpeed Mishumotors’ No. 81 ORECA FLM09 set the best time in Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire. The car of Mirco Schultis, Patrick Simon and Pierre Kaffer posted a lap of 1:56.901 (115.174 mph). BAR1 Motorsports’ two entries were second and third, as the No. 8 of Kyle Marcelli, Chris Cumming and Stefan Johansson led the team effort at 1:57.387 (114.698 mph).
TRG led an incredibly tight field in GT Challenge with its No. 66 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Ben Keating, Damien Faulkner and Craig Stanton. Its time of 2:07.821 (105.335 mph) was a slim 0.131 seconds clear of the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Cooper MacNeil and Dion von Moltke. Dempsey Del Piero Racing’s No. 27 Porsche of Patrick Dempsey, Andy Lally and Joe Foster was third at 2:07.985 (105.200 mph).
The top four cars in class were within 0.172 seconds.
Wednesday’s final test session is set for 5 p.m. ET.
Klaus Graf, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing
No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03c (P1)
“We’ve made some good progress with our Muscle Milk HPD these last couple of days. It's too bad the track was wet for the morning test session as we would have liked to get a little more track time in. It wasn’t worth running in the morning as the forecast for the remainder of the week is nice and it wouldn't have given us anything. As I’ve said many times, the track conditions change here so much that it’s hard to compare with lap times that were registered in another session but overall I feel that we've learned a lot and it's encouraging for the rest of the week.”
Olivier Beretta, Risi Competizione
No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia (GT)
“I think yesterday went with no big problems, and the car ran without any major technical issues. We followed our program and went a different direction to see what we can gain. Now Rick (Mayer) and the team will analyze all the data. Today was difficult because we lost one session because of the rain and in the other we lost 15 minutes with a red flag, but that’s the same for everyone. But, despite all that, I’m quite confident because the team has a lot of experience, we have had one good day of running, and we’ll try to put everything together and go for it.”
Ryan Briscoe, Level 5 Motorsports
No. 95 Honda Performance Development ARX-03b (P2)
“It feels good. I guess it’s been five years since I was last here in a (Porsche RS) Spyder, but it feels really close. The driving style and the way the car responds and handles is very close to what I was used to with the Spyder. It feels great out there. I feel right at home. Level 5 is doing a great job of getting through some setups and trying to get through what we can with these busy sessions with so much traffic and stuff. The biggest thing is, you’ve got to get used to some power steering again. The way the wheel feels different in your hands is different than an IndyCar. Maybe it took a couple of laps, but it feels good. These cars are fast, they’ve got heaps of downforce and they’re a blast to drive.”
Olivier Pla, DeltaWing Racing Cars
No. 0 DeltaWing LM12 (P1)
“For the few laps I had, of course it feels very different than what I’m used to. But I was expecting that anyway. It feels very stiff in the front, very soft in the rear. It’s not pitching a lot on the braking, so it surprised me a little bit at the beginning. After a few laps, you get a feeling of what to expect, and you get more and more confident. It’s OK so far. I look forward to doing more mileage (Wednesday) and Thursday and going from there.”