ACURA PROTOTYPE SPORTS CARS COMPLETE THREE DAYS AT SEBRING;
ALMS TEAMS MAKE PROGRESS PREPARING FOR 12-HOUR CLASSIC
Andretti Green, Lowe’s Fernandez, Highcroft Teams Log Long Hours With New Cars
SEBRING, Fla. — Preparing for one of motorsports’ most demanding events, the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring, can be a difficult task for racing teams. Long hours must be logged on and off the track by drivers, engineers and mechanics to take their machines to the limit in preparing for the contest.
For three days this week, the three new Acura American Le Mans Series LMP2 sports car teams – Andretti Green Racing, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing and Highcroft Racing – worked through a variety of race-type scenarios on the rough surface of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn former airport road circuit known as Sebring International Raceway.
All Acura American Le Mans Series operations are utilizing the new 3.4-liter V-8 Acura ALMS engine, the first racing power plant completely designed and developed by Honda Performance Development (HPD) of Santa Clarita, Calif.
The 55th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring sports car classic is set to take place on March 17 when the Acura factory prototype machines make their American Le Mans Series debut on the legendary course in south Florida.
The annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring saw cars from four separate classes run in in seven practice sessions and the new Acura mounts performed well against a variety of makes and models. Despite the Acura cars’ infancy in the LMP2 division, all three Acura teams showed outstanding potential throughout the three days of testing.
On the first day, Lowe’s Fernandez Racing drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz paced the Acura assault with a best time of 1 minute, 50.156 seconds for an average speed of 120.919 miles per hour in their Lola. Andretti Green’s Bryan Herta and Dario Franchitti clocked in at 1:50.747 (120.274 m.p.h.) in the XM Satellite Courage, followed by the trio of Duncan Dayton, David Brabham and Stefan Johansson in the Highcroft Courage at 1:52.472 (118.429 m.p.h.).
Day Two showed improvement by all three Acura squads with the Lowe’s Fernandez unit again the quickest at 1:48.207 (123.097 m.p.h.) followed by Highcroft at 1:49.391 (121.765 m.p.h.) and Andretti Green at 1:49.493 (121.652 m.p.h.). IndyCar Series regular Danica Patrick drove the XM Satellite Acura in the afternoon for her first official test in a prototype sports car.
On the final testing day, Luiz Diaz posted the quickest Acura time of the three-day session with a lap of 1.47.006 (124.479 m.p.h.) in the Lowe’s Acura, with Franchitti taking the XM Acura to a best of 1:47.386 (124.039 m.p.h.). Johansson clocked in for Highcroft with a 1:48.388 (122.892 m.p.h.).
The three Acura teams are set for another testing session prior to 12 hours of Sebring, on Feb. 19-20.
|ALMS Winter Test Best Times|
(LMP2 Class, over 3 Days)
|1. Dyson Porsche||1:46.983 (124.506 mph)|
|2. Fernandez ACURA||1:47.006 (124.479 mph) |
|3. Penske Porsche||1:47.166 (124.293 mph)|
|4. Andretti Green ACURA||1:47:386 (124.039 mph)|
|5. Highcroft ACURA||1:48.388 (122.892 mph)|