Photo courtesy American Le Mans SeriesEnlarge Photo
Audi continued to control the second day of pre-race testing for the 60th anniversary Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, as the R18 Quattro coupe driven by Tom Kristensen topped the time sheets at 1:48.138 (124.508 mph). The Dane shares this LMP1 prototype with regular partners Allan McNish and Dindo Capello. All three of the German factory prototypes lapped under the 1:49 mark as Audi bids to win its first Sebring race since 2009.
Kristensen noted that Audi Sport has "prepared last year's Audi R18 for the new regulations and they have fit really well from the go. The first two days here have been constructive," as the teams began with similar setups. "With three cars we learn things faster," he noted.
The R18 of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval - a winner last year in Team ORECA Matmut's Peugeot - was second at 1:48.410 (124.195) while 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer were third, 0.701 seconds off Krisensen's pace.
2011 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) LMP1 champions Dyson Racing led the petrol-powered LMP1 entrants with Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Steven Kane fourth driving their Lola B12/60 Mazda to a lap of 1:50.243. Two of the new HPD ARX-03a prototypes came next from Strakka Racing (who are contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship) and Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. The top nine cars were all from the LMP1 ranks of the 57 on-hand to test.
The top three LMP2 prototypes all lapped within 0,362 seconds. Pecom Racing's ORECA-Nissan led the way at 1:53.527, followed by a pair of HPD ARX-03b prototypes. Level 5 Motorsports was second in their open car while Starworks Motorsports took third with their coupe. Ten LMP2 cars worked the test on Tuesday.
As they always are, the GTE Pro and Am battles were extremely tight with Ferrari again leading the way. AF Corse's F458 Italia went quickest at 2:01.097, just 0,043 seconds ahead of Luxury Racing's similar entry. Flying Lizard Motorsports' new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR ended the session in third place and were just 0,074 seconds ahead of BMW Team RLL's leading BMW M3 GT. There were 15 GTE Pro and Am cars at the Tuesday test.
All the teams have Wednesday to prepare for the opening salvo for both the American Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship. Practice kicks off in earnest on Thursday while the race takes place beginning at 10:30AM Saturday morning.