Sebring Winter Test Underway

Sebring, FL ? The American LeMans Series competitors fired up their engines for the first time in 2008 at the historic Sebring International Raceway. Eighteen teams are on hand to wring out their equipment in preparation for the 56th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on March 15.

Heading up the field was the venerable Audi R10, the car that dominates ALMS action, and a new entry, a Peugeot 908 diesel prototype from France. Peugeot hasn?t announced whether it will enter the March race but track officials and fans are hopeful. If so, Peugeot may well be able to challenge Audi, which has won eight in a row on the bumpy 3.7-mile road course.

The ALMS has four classes of cars: P1, P2, GT1 and GT2. The P1 class has the fastest cars but the P2 competitors occasionally manage to defeat the faster group. Factory Corvettes have led the way in the GT1 ranks, winning seven consecutive championships, but Aston Martin announced it will return to the ALMS for the upcoming season. Aston Martin has won six times in the ALMS, including a class win three years ago.

Several drivers raced in the Rolex24 at Daytona prior to coming to the Sebring test. Those doing double duty include Allen McNish, Sascha Maassen, Patrick Long, Mike Rockenfeller, Bill Auberlen, Gunnar Jeannette and Joey Hand.

IndyCar veteran Scott Sharp took his first laps in the Patron Highcroft Racing Acura. The accomplished driver will race full time in the ALMS in 2008.

In three test sessions Monday, the Audi of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen, Rockefeller and McNish was the fastest with a one-lap speed of 128.298 miles per hour.

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