ALMS Testing At Sebring

January 31, 2008, Orlando, FL – With the 12 hours of Sebring around the corner (March 14-15) the American LeMans Series (ALMS) winter test looks to be very significant with the presence of Peugeot. They certainly made their presence felt. It took four days to build their testing facility that they worked out of while in Sebring. Team principals said there not sure about running for the race, but it sure looked like they are serious. The first session they were only .01 sec off the AUDI R10?s pace. It looks like Audi will have their hands full, the problem with the Peugeot is there have been issues with reliability. On Wednesday, Peugeot did top the timing charts, with a fast lap of 1:43.7. The trio of Pedro Lamy, Nic Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin piloted the diesel-powered Peugeot 908 to quick time of the Winter Test

I spoke with Tom Kristensen and he was happy to be here, he added, ?I was a little rusty, but I’m looking forward to the season.? He seems excited about going after his fifth Sebring victory. Kristensen did set fast time for the Audi team on Wednesday during the first session. Kristensen?s time was 1:44.1, a little over a quarter-second behind the Peugeot.

Team Penske had their two Porsche RS Spyders at the test with the #7 of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. Bernhard and Dumas was third fastest overall and quickest in class Wednesday. The #7 Porsche set a time of 1:44.6 in the morning session. The #6 Team Penske Porsche of American, Patrick Long and Sascha Maassen was second quick.

Also Christian Fittipaldi was happy about having full time ride in ALMS For Andretti-Green Racing?s (AGR) Acura program. Fittipaldi joked that now he has to listen to his new boss Michael Andretti. They were teammates for five years as drivers with Newman-Haas Racing. In testing, it was the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz that was quickest of the Acuras. The Fernandez entry was third quickest at 1:45.8 in their new Acura ARX-01b. The AGR Acura of Bryan Herta and Fittipaldi were close behind at 1:46.1. Additional buzz in the paddock was made by the arrival of Scott Sharp and Patron who are coming over from the IndyCar Series.

The big theme is the ALMS going green and how they are doing their part for the environment. The ALMS is touting their entry in the renewable fuels arena and racing. KL Process Design Group (KL) of Rapid City, SD, will supply the ALMS with cellulosic E85 racing ethanol for the 2008 season. The fuel, produced from waste wood, will be used for the first time during the season opener at Sebring.

There were also a lot of other announcements such as Gil de Ferran getting back into the drivers seat and running a new start-up team for Acura. Also, Aston Martin is returning and going to be giving Corvette a run in GT1. Many Ferrari fans should be excited about Tafel Racing switching over to Ferrari in GT2 and bringing Dirk Mueller the FIA GT2 Champion over to race in the states. Tafel?s rival in GT2, Risi Competizione was fastest in GT2 with a 2:01.4 for Jaime Melo and the #62 Ferrari F430GT. Tafel Racing’s Ferrari was close behind with a 2:01.6 in the second session. This is Tafel?s first time testing its Ferrari in North America with Muller, Dominik Farnbacher, Pierre Ehret and Jim Tafel.

Additionally, Scott Sharp and Patron are coming over from the IndyCar Series. This season should be the most exciting and how could be after last year with the closest finishes in history.

The 2008 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. American Le Mans Radio and IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring will be available at Check in with for updates throughout the Sebring weekend.

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