SEBRING, Fla.—Thursday morning practice for the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring was a mixed bag for Audi: Oliver Jarvis in the #1 R18 e-tron quattro set fastest time of the session at 1:45.908, but Allan McNish crashed exiting Turn Ten and tore most of the nose off the #2. He was not hurt.
Audi had had unsteady but satisfactory results all week long; rumors claim the new hybrid system in the #2 need to be replaced, and after running a lot of laps in testing Monday and Tuesday, the team didn’t get much track time Wednesday.
Now the 2013-spec #2 is in the garage for major repairs. Audi has four semi-trailers full of spare parts and plenty of mechanic; quite possibly the car will be back on track for the afternoon session.
Lucas Luhr in the #6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03c was second quickest in the morning session, .74 off the leading Audi’s pace. Butch Leitzinger in the #16 Dyson Lola-Mazda ran third, 3.47 seconds off the lead and 2.73 behind the Muscle Milk car.
The two Rebellions which led the Wednesday evening session were four and four-and-a-half seconds off the pace. Possibly there were testing on full tanks—it seems unlikely they could have lost that much speed overnight.
The DeltaWing was nearly ten seconds behind the leader. Apparently the new Mazda-based 1.9-liter twin turbo needs a lot more development.
In GT, the #97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Stefan Mücke topped the class with a lap of 2:00.786, .14 seconds quicker than Oliver Gavin in the #4 Corvette Racing C-6R. Antonio Garcia in the #3 Corvette was only seven one-hundredths slower than his team mate.
The new BMWs still aren’t ready for prime time; the pair finished eighth and tenth in class.
Simon Pagenaud in the #551 Level 5 HPD ARX-03b was quickest in P2, only six one-hundredths ahead of Tom Kimber-Smith in the #41 Greaves Zytek Z11SN. Marino Franchitti in the other Level 5 HPD was third in class, 1.04 behind the Zytek.
GTC was equally close, with Spencer Pumpelly in the #45 Fling Lizard Porsche GT3 .06 ahead of Jeroen Bleekemolen in the #22 Alex Job Porsche.
Pierre Kaffer in the #81 DragonSpeed Mishumotors Oreca was quickest in PC.
The next ALMS practice session is scheduled for 3:15 pm. Follow Live Timing and Scoring at ALMS.com, or better still, come on out to the track and watch in person. Tickets are available at the gate and at Sebring Raceway.com.
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