Sunday, March 16, 2008

12 Hours of Sebring

12 Hours of Sebring
The 56th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring has been run. A previous Street Level entry covered particular things to watch for. Here's how they turned out:

Peugeot vs. Audi
As predicted, the diesels had problems with reliability. although admittedly almost none of the issues were engine related. A hydraulic pump failure eventually ensured that the lone Peugeot would trail the Audis across the line. The Peugeot's fastest lap was quicker than the fastest Audi lap, so the 24 hour French classic in June should be a close fight.

Porsche RS Spyders vs. Audi, Peugeot
Also as predicted, the Porsche RS Spyders were just as fast as the Audis and the Peugeot despite being in the "slower" LMP2 class. Few people were surprised by Porsche's overall victory, although just as few predicted the podium sweep of LMP2 cars. An Acura squeezed its way between the first- and third-place Porsches, relegating the lead Audi to fourth.

Risi Competizione vs. Flying Lizard Motorsports
The Risi Ferrari was poised to take a second-straight Sebring victory until about the halfway point of the race. Jamie Melo, the driver who took the Ferrari across the line at the incredible end of last year's race, got into the grass on the inside of turn 7, then came across the track into the front corner of Dirk Werner's Porsche. Both cars limped through the grass in an attempt to get back to the pits, but both cars ended up parked in the grass. Jörg Bergmeister and Flying Lizard Motorsports took full advantage and the class victory.

Chevy vs. Ford vs. Dodge
This classic battle played out roughly as expected. The LG Corvette seemed to have the edge and posted the fastest lap time of the three, however it succumbed to overheating problems after less than 100 laps. The Viper then pulled from the Ford, which planted itself into a wall about 100 laps after the Corvette's exit. All three are expected to improve over the course of the season, so look for this battle to heat up.

The final class victors of the 2008 12 Hours of Sebring were:

LMP2: Romain Dumas - Porsche RS Spyder - Penske Racing
LMP1: Tom Kristensen - Audi R10 - Audi Sport North America
GT1: Johnny O'Connell - Corvette C6.R - Corvette Racing
GT2: Marc Lieb - Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - Flying Lizard Motorsports

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