Monday, March 12, 2007

More Ferrari’s at Sebring

Although this year’s 55th running of the Mobil 1 12hrs of Sebring’s grid seems vastly depleted, there are a few bright spots in the entry list. (Is that really correct as the ALMS entry list shows only 35 entries…)

And it’s funny how the top two categories are basically non-existent while the “lower” divisions of both prototypes and GT’s make up the bulk of the field, along with being the fiercer competition.

Fighting for the overall race victory will most likely once again be an interterm scrum between the all conquering Audi R10 TDI diesels. The two Audi AG entries will face meager competition from the other two LMP1 category newcomers Intersport Racing (Creation/Judd) and Autocon Motorsports (Lola/AER)

Meanwhile the GT1 category features a paltry three entries consisting of two GM “Work’s” Corvette Z06’s and Team Modena’s lone Aston Martin DBR9. Ironically I’d expect Team Modena to be running something Italian…

The LMP2 category will be the division to watch with the hotly contested competition between the Porsche and Acura factory backed teams. Interestingly Rob Dyson who finally gave up competing against the Audi’s “Mano-E-Mano,” has switched to LMP2 Porsche Spyder’s this year and was the fastest car at the recent Sebring test.

And bringing up the rear, figuredly speaking that is, is the GT2 category which features the bulk of entrants. The majority of this class consists of the ‘ol dependable Porsche 911 GT3 RSR’s. These mainstays of endurance racing for the past four decades will be joined by a few Panoz Esparante’s. These are being campaigned by Tom Milner’s PTG race team, a long time factory backed BMW entity. There will also be a lone Spyker C8, making its North American debut?

Yet the GT2 combatant’s will be seeing red, as in the form of four Ferrari F430GT entries. As previously mentioned, Peterson/White Lightning has made the switch from Porsche to Ferrari. Yet in Febuary a new alliance was formed with Corso Motorsports, who will also be racing a F430GT under Peterson/White Lightning’s guidance.

In a similar guise, Tracy Krohn has formed a new partnership with Risi Competizone. Krohn will contest selected ALMS events as well as this years 24 Heurs du Mans.

Risi’s lone winning F430GT will once again return to the fray with veteran ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Salo behind the wheel. Salo helped Risi claim the GT2 Championship last year.

And while the majority of media attention will be focused upon the Australian Grand Prix, the Mobil 1 12hrs will be seen in major chunks of airtime on Speed precluding the Melbourne event.