OAK Racing Tops Charts In Morning Session At Sebring
Porsche North America (GTLM), 8Star Motorsports (PC), TRG-AMR (GTD) Also Fastest
Gustavo Yacaman may have been exaggerating about his “million laps” of experience at Sebring International Raceway, but the Colombian driver backed up that claim on Thursday by turning the fastest lap in the opening session of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship test at the famed circuit.
Yacaman turned a lap of 1:53.204 (118.936 mph) in the No. 42 OAK Racing Nissan/Morgan co-driven by Olivier Pla and Ho-Pin Tung to lead the Prototype (P) class. The two-day winter test is in preparation for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Saturday, March 15.
“I have close to one million laps on the club circuit here,” Yacaman said. ”Sebring has always been one of my favorite tracks. Today was my first time driving the full (3.74-mile) track, and it’s even more amazing than the course I’m used to. It’s very hard, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Scott Pruett, back at Sebring after a long absence – the race was not on the Rolex Sports Car Series schedule during the series’ existence – had a rough welcome back, when he scrubbed the wall in Turn 3 in his first laps driving the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Ford/Riley that he shares with Memo Rojas and Scott Dixon.
“A bump caught us out and the car got out from underneath me,” admitted Pruett, who won the GTO class at Sebring in 1986, co-driving with Olympian Bruce Jenner for Roush Racing. “Our team hasn’t been here before, and I haven’t raced here since the 1980s. I’ve got thousands of miles on the short course testing Indy cars, but this is my first time here on the latest long-course configuration. It’s driving good, but we need to get our hands around the car control.”
Jordan Taylor was second in the P class with a lap of 1:53.974 (118.132 mph) in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP co-driven by Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor, followed by Klaus Graf at 1:54.590 (117.497 mph) in the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA/Nissan co-driven by Lucas Luhr.
Coming off a GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, Porsche Motorsports North America took first and third in the opening session. Joerg Bergmeister led the class with a lap of 2:00.048 (112.155 mph) in the team’s No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR co-driven by Patrick Long and Michael Christensen, while Richard Lietz was third with a lap of 2:01.153 (111.132 mph) in the Daytona-winning No. 911 co-driven by Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet.
The meat in the Porsche sandwich was the No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE of Dirk Werner, who is testing that car with Andy Priaulx. He ran 2:00.745 (111.508 mph) on the 17-turn layout.
“I tested but didn’t race at Sebring last year, and it feels real good to be back,” Bergmeister said. “We had a little bad luck with our car at Daytona, but overall Daytona was a perfect start for our new team. This is a new car, but we’ve tested here quite bit in the past and our setup was perfect right off the truck.”
While 8Star Motorsports was fastest in Prototype Challenge (PC), Roberto LaRocca sidelined the No. 25 ORECA FLM09 team with a crash late in the session after turning a lap of 1:55.940 (116.129 mph). The team plans to have the car repaired for the afternoon session, with LaRocca being joined by Tom Kimber-Smith and Eric Lux. BAR1 Motorsports was second and third in the class, with the No. 87 of Gaston Kearby, Moses Smith and Bruce Hamilton, 1:59.009 (113.134 mph) followed by the No. 88 of Doug Bielefeld, 1:59.257 (112.899 mph).
In GT Daytona (GTD), James Davison was fastest at 2:05.655 (107.151 mph) in the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage co-driven by Al Carter and David Block. Second in GTD was Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS with a time of 2:05.719 (107.096 mph), followed by the No. 33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R of Jeroen Bleekemolen, 2:05.737 (107.081 mph).
TUDOR Championship testing will continue with a second Thursday session from 2:45-5 p.m.