Audi tops test day at Sebring

SEBRING, FL — Alan McNish and the No. 2 Audi R-18 Hybrid went from the outhouse to the penthouse in the course of eight hours of work Thursday at the storied Sebring track where Audi has brought a team of two cars as a part of the USA Farewell Tour.

McNish, out in the morning session, had a shunt on cold tires before completing even a single lap. Apparently the cold tires spun when he was going through turn 10, putting the car into the wall. While there was a goodly amount of body dammage to the car, the tub survived as did McNish and the No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro with teammate Tom Kristensen at the wheel toured the circuit at 1:46.660 (126.233 mph) for top time in the evening session.

The time was just 0.026 seconds faster than the No. 1 car with Benoit Treluyer at the wheel. Third place in the P1 category went to Lucas Luhr in the Muscle Milk Honda HPD ARX 03c. Luhr was about three-quarters of a second behind the fastest Audi. Based on the times posted by all of the Audi drivers, it would appear that both teams are ready for qualifying and the race.

This is the last time that the vaunted Audi P1 Team will visit the Sebring Track, where they have had dominate performances over the last decade. With the merging of the ALMS and Grand-AM series, there will no longer be a class for the Audi. Although the team will visit the World Endurance Championship (WEC) round in Austin, TX in September, this indeed may be the last time the Audi P1 cars turn a race lap at Sebring.

The Sebring race also gives the Audi Team a tune-up for the start of the WEC season that kicks off at Silverstone in the UK the weekend of April 12-14. Sebring will give the Audi team a good test (as it has already) with a very serious challenge coming from the Toyota team that was the equal of the Audis in the latter half of the WEC season in 2012.

In the GT class, there was less than a half a second between the top three with American Muscle showing the way as two Corvettes C6 ZR1s posted the top two times.

There is one test session Friday morning with qualifying Friday afternoon. The race kicks off Saturday morning at 10:30 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

Prototype 2 (P2) Top 3
• Ryan Briscoe – No. 551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b – 1:52.138 (120.066 mph)
• Ryan Hunter-Reay – No. 552 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b – 1:52.735 (119.431 mph)
• David Brabham – No. 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b – 153.133 (119.010 mph)

Grand Touring (GT) Top 3
• Oliver Gavin – No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 2:00.282 (111.937 mph)
• Jordan Taylor – No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 2:00.406 (111.822 mph)
• Matteo Malucelli – No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia – 2:00.736 (111.516 mph)

Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire (PC) Top 3
• David Ostella – No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09 – 1:55.662 (116.408 mph)
• Pierre Kaffer – No. 81 Dragon Speed Mishumotors ORECA FLM09 – 1:56.467 (115.604mph)
• Colin Braun – No. 05 Composite Resources CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 – 1:56.656 (115.416 mph)

GT Challenge (GTC) Tire Top 3
• Spencer Pumpelly – No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – 2:06.376 (106.539 mph)
• Andy Lally – No. 27 Dempsey Del Piero Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – 2:06.570 (106.376 mph)
• Jeroen Bleekemolen – No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – 2:06.721 (106.249 mph)

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