Muscle Milk leads the way
Highlands TodaySEBRING INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY - Highlands Today
Published: February 9, 2013
Published: February 9, 2013
Defending American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón LMP1 champion Muscle Milk Pickett Racing got its 2013 season off to a fast start during the two-day Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday and Friday. Through the first three sessions of testing, the No. 6 Muscle Milk Honda Performance Development ARX-03c was the fastest car on the track each time.
Lucas Luhr posted the Thursday's quickest time in the afternoon session with a lap at 1:47.414 (125.347 mph). Luhr will once again share the ride with Klaus Graf for the 2013 campaign.
"It's been quite a long winter and offseason," Luhr said. "The last time I was in the car was just before Christmas, but I was looking forward to coming back here and get away from the cold European weather, ice and snow. It's been quite a productive day for us. Sebring is always very tough to compare lap times, this year versus last year and so on.
"I've been coming here since 2000, so when you come back for the race, everything is different anyhow. We just want to go through our programs. We still have a lot to learn with our new package and a lot of things we want to try. Overall, I'm quite happy. It was a productive day and we went quicker than last year in qualifying, and it's just a bonus."
Muscle Milk turned in a faster time in the Friday morning session, completing a lap in 1:46.368.
The No. 8 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09 was quickest on Thursday in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class with a lap at 1:55.831 (116.238 mph) in the morning session. The car is being co-driven at the test by Kyle Marcelli, Chris Cumming and Stefan Johansson.
The Friday morning session saw the No. 18 Performance Tech ORECA FLM09 turn in the fastest time with a lap of 1:54.981.
Preparing for a full-time return to ALMS competition this season, Risi Competizione was quickest in the GT class on Thursday. The No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia shared by Olivier Beretta and series newcomer Matteo Malucelli turned in a best time 2:01.645 (110.683 mph) during the afternoon session.
"It's great to have Risi back and another Ferrari in the championship," said Beretta, who has won at Sebring with Viper and Corvette. "Most people would think that Sebring is an endurance race — that we would have time to make up mistakes. But it is a sprint race from the first lap to the end. We have seen in many years that cars in the GT class finish the race on the same lap and a lot of times together. Everyone wants to win this race and is prepared."
In the Friday morning session, the Extreme Speed Motorsports No. 02 Ferrari F458 Italia and the No. 91 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R, as well as Risi itself, had bettered Risi's time from Thursday. The ESM Ferrari and Risi battled back-and-fourth all morning, with Risi taking the class lead after a lap of 2:00.154, only to see the No. 02 Ferrari post a 2:00.128 in the final few minutes of the session.
Late in the Thursday afternoon session, the No. 66 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup shared by Ben Keating, Damien Faulkner and Craig Stanton turned in the best GTC lap of 2:06.514 (106.423 mph). The car also had the fastest time in the Friday morning session, notching a lap time of 2:06.454. The No. 44 Flying Lizard Porsche was right behind with a lap of 2:06.485.
Thursday's test sessions were run without significant incident, while Friday morning saw the Extreme Speed Motorsports No. 01 Ferrari F458 Italia hit the barrier near Turn 3, which brought out the red flag. The car was unable to return to the track.
There were 15 cars which competed in the annual two-day test. Many of the teams will do private testing before opening the 2013 season with the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 16.