Lola sportscars were once again in victory lane at the 54th running of the Sebring 12 hours over the weekend. Jon Field, his son Clint and Liz Halliday celebrated a superb win in the LMP2 class and a second placing overall.
Three different models of Huntingdon built sports-prototypes were competing on the famous airfield in Florida. While the all-new B06/10 LMP1 design finished 2nd in its class on its debut, the similarly AER powered B05/40 LMP2 car run by Intersport Racing started the season with its best ever result at Sebring. Completing a highly successful day for Lola was Binnie Motorsport who made it a 1-3 finish in LMP2, sandwiching one of the Penske Porsches.
Clint Field, the reigning LMP2 champion, had a scare early in the race when Frank Biela spun his Audi in the second hour, causing the American to take avoiding action on the grass. Later, the drivers took the chequered flag, 22 laps ahead of the second in class Porsche RS Spyder of Sascha Maassen, Lucas Luhr and Emmanuel Collard.
"This was a special race as we were sandwiched between the Audi drivers and the Corvette, and it was amazing beating those guys to claim runners-up spot. Full credit to my team mates, the team, Lola and AER," said a delighted Jon Field from the podium. Liz Halliday became the highest placing woman driver ever at Sebring, beating Lynn St James who had managed fifth overall in 1983 in a Nimrod C2. Oddly, Liz's second place was also appreciated by race winner Allan McNish, as the Scot had lent a pair of his gloves to the Californian immediately before the start of the race!"
Jon's son and team mate Clint Field added: "It was a great day and I am delighted for the team, Jon and Liz. We now need to capitalise on this result for the next race in Houston on 13th May. To win our class and finish second overall behind the works Audi team is a major achievement."
DYSON DELIGHT WITH NEW LOLA LMP1
The new B06/10 AER package finished second in the LMP1 category in the hands of James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace, in the #16 Dyson entry. The car had a technical problem, which caused both of the team's cars to temporarily stop out on the circuit, but neither was delayed for long. "I am very impressed with our guys, with Lola and also AER who have done a superb job with this fantastic car," said Dyson team owner/manager Rob Dyson. "We have had only six days of testing prior to coming here, and this is the first time that the engine and chassis combination has run in anger. A year ago the engine was a blank sheet of paper, and we started to run it something like three months ago."
Weaver was full of praise for the new package. "It is a very good car, and we can win races with it," said the Englishman. "I think with development we can be on the pace the Audis showed today. We did not have too many problems during this race. We had a brake pipe problem and we damaged the floor running over some concrete somewhere but that was it and before this race, we had never run more than 12 laps at a time. It is an extraordinary achievement."
The Audi has miles and miles of testing under its belt before it came here for the gruelling 12-hours of Sebring, but we have shown that with this good engine and chassis combination, we can be very competitive," concluded Weaver.
The # 20 Lola B06/10 of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith ended up retiring seven and a half hours into the race after a competitive but eventful run. Guy Smith started the race and ran as high as third, but two punctures and software glitches dropped the car to thirty-first. Delighted with his car's race setup, the 2003 Le Mans winner had moved the car back up to eighth by the end of his double stint. Chris Dyson took over and continued the team's progress, running as high as fifth overall before a problem interrupted the second half of the American's double stint. Dyson handed the car back to Smith, but two hours were lost replacing a supply-side oil pump and repairing a fuel leak. Unfortunately, the car was retired forty minutes after returning to action with overheating caused by debris in the radiator.
BINNIE TAKE IMPRESSIVE LMP2 PODIUM PLACE
Third in the LMP2 class was the Binnie Motorsports team of Bill Binnie, Rick Sutherland and Allen Timpany in their Zytek-powered Lola B05/40. "It is great that Binnie has worked hard to reverse his fortunes from last year," said Lola's David Scotney. "They have made a very good engine choice this year, and that has paid off for them this weekend."
"But for a water hose clip we'd have been second but we're very pleased indeed with that result," confirmed Bill Binnie. "We can move forward now on the back of that.I'm absolutely delighted for Intersport. That was a fantastic race by all of them, " he sportingly acknowledged. Binnie Motorsport will be in action in the Le Mans 24 Hours in June as well as selected Le Mans Series and ALMS races throughout the year.
HIGHCROFT AND AUTOCON POSITIVE FOR COMING SEASON
The Highcroft Racing Lola B01/60 AER of Duncan Dayton, Rick Knoop and Gregor Fisken, retired as a precautionary measure when the car was found to have a fuel leak, believed to be a ruptured fuel tank.
"We had a minor spin on oil and we lost several laps due to a misfire, but then we climbed up and we were ready to get back into the top 20 overall when we had to drop out," said Gregor Fisken. "Duncan was able to qualify quickest of the non-new generation Prototypes, and he was running fifth or sixth when he spun in oil. We regouped and we were knocking on the door of the top 20," continued the Scot.
The similar Autocon Lola B01/60-AER of Michael Lewis, Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman stopped out on track with a suspected oil fire in the fifth hour of the 12-hour race.
LOLA B06/10'S HIT EUROPE
The spectacular new Lola B06/10 LMP1 car will make its European public debut at Paul Ricard next week in the hands of Synergy Chamberlain who will contest both the LMS and 24 Le Mans 24 Hours.
The car tested last week ay Estoril and ran faultlessly for two days, much to the delight of team principal and driver Bob Berridge. The car will then go on to Istabul for its competitive European debut on April 7-9.
Also competing in Turkey will be the LMP2 cars of RML, Team ASM and Horag. Lola Cars International Ltd are currently taking deposits on both the LMP1 and LMP2 cars.
For further information please contact Sam Smith or Nick Jordan on +44 (0) 1480 359590 or email@example.com
Pos Drivers Car Class Laps Gap
1 Capello, Kristensen, McNish Audi R10 TDI Power P1 349
2 Field, Halliday, Field Lola B05/40 AER P2 345 4 Laps
3 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R GT1 338 11 Laps
4 Bright, Lamy, Sarrazin Aston Martin DB9 GT1 337 12 Laps
5 Weaver, Leitzinger, Wallace Lola B06/10 AER P1 336 13 Laps
6 Enge, Turner, Kiesa Aston Martin DB9 GT1 324 25 Laps
7 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R GT1 324 26 Laps
8 Maassen, Luhr, Collard Porsche RS Spyder P2 323 26 Laps
9 Maxwell, Brabham, Bourdais Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2 320 29 Laps
10 vanOverbeek, Fogarty, Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GT2 320 30 Laps
11 Kelleners, Melo, Lazza Ferrari 430 GT GT2 320 31 Laps
12 Binnie, Timpany, Sutherland Lola B05/40 Zytek P2 317 32 Laps
13 Law, Neiman, Pechnik Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GT2 315 34 Laps
14 Tomilson, Dean, Kimber-Smith Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2 312 37 Laps
15 Rockenfeller, Graf, Rahal Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GT2 311 38 Laps
16 Barazi, Vergers, Julian Courage C65 P2 293 56 Laps
17 Bergmeister, Jonsson, Bergmeister Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GT2 292 57 Laps
18 Hezemans, Bleekemolen Spyker C8 Spyder GT2 281 68 Laps
19 Weickardt, Borcheller Saleen S7R GT1 275 74 Laps
20 Sudgen, Matthews Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GT2 267 82 Laps
21 Pumpelly, Thornton, Patterson Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GT2 263 86 Laps
22 Bach, Cosmo, Matos Courage C65 Mazda P2 262 87 Laps
23 Kox, Crevels Spyker C8 Spyder Aud GT2 248 101 Laps
24 Ehret, Nielsen, Farnbacher Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GT2 198 151 Laps
25 Auberlen, James, Hand BMW E46 M3 GT2 197 152 Laps
26 Bernhard, Dumas, Long Porsche RS Spyder P2 193 156 Laps
27 Dyson, Smith Lola B06/10 AER P1 173 176 Laps
28 Vonka, Casadel, McCormick Porsche 911 GT3 RS GT2 130 219 Laps
29 Dayton, Fisken, Knoop Lola EX257 AER P1 128 221 Laps
30 Sellers, Jensen, Marks BMW E46 M3 GT2 124 225 Laps
31 Lewis, McMurry, Willman Lola EX257 AER P1 121 228 Laps
32 Biela, Pirro, Werner Audi R10 TDI Power P1 117 232 Laps
33 Jeannette, Milner, Junqueira Panoz Esperante GTLM GT2 71 278 Laps
34 Ruberti, Babini, Davies Saleen S7R GT1 66 283 Laps
35 Lally, Gue, Davis Courage C65 AER P2 62 287 Laps
With thanks to Cormack Fallon