Lola sportscars continued exhaustive preparations for this years Sebring 12 Hours at the Florida circuit this week.
Fernandez Racing’s Acura powered Lola and the Intersport version of the LMP2 were both in action in readiness for the 55th running of the season opening classic to be held on March 17th.
Over the first two days of testing both cars have performed vital development runs as they get set for what is sure to be a classic year of LMP2 sportscar action.
Fernandez had both their drivers lapping on Monday and Tuesday with both Mexicans Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz conducting engine and chassis work for the team.
Acura’s President of Performance Development, Robert Clarke commented. “For where we are in the program, I’m quite pleased. The engine and the chassis have both been fine. It is the various components that are used to tie them together that have been giving us small problems. We haven’t started to work on the speed of the cars yet. Right now, we’re just focusing on reliability. To win, you have to finish, but once we start working on the set-ups, I think we’ll be right there speed wise with the Porsches.”
Luis Diaz enjoyed a considerable amount of laps in the Lola-Acura on both days and was delighted with his first laps of the Sebring track with the car. He managed to set a best time of 1m48.207s. “The car is very drivable. I think in that department we OK,” confirmed Diaz. “The car has been very good in all the tests. (Sebring) is very much like a giant street circuit! We still have some work to do with the dampers to get over the bumps. We also still need to work out on the car to find a little more speed and fix a little bit of understeer.”
Intersport Racing arrived at Sebring after announcing a tyre supply deal with Kumho. The Ohio based squad concentrated on finding a baseline set up with their AER powered Lola B05/40 on the new rubber with both Jon and Clint Field driving the car.
“We are still finding our feet with the Kumho tyres so it was vital for us to get as much running as possible,” said Clint Field after the second day (Tuesday). We managed to get down to a 1m49.940s which is actually very quick, although this year of course the ante has been upped significantly with the arrival of Dyson and Acura in P2.”
Autocon unveiled their spectacular new livery at the Sebring test with Michael Lewis driving the new look orange and black liveried Lola B01/60 AER. Sadly a wastegate problem for the team limited them on Monday and then a slight off course moment on Tuesday also meant a frustrating lack of laps. The team are however confident that they may have a second Lola out at some stage of the 2007 ALMS season.
The test continues at Sebring today.
LEADING LMP2 TIMES AFTER TWO DAYS OF TESTING
1. Maassen/Briscoe Penske Porsche 1m47.219s
2. Bernhard/Dumas Penske Porsche 1m47.447s
3. Wallace/Dyson Dyson Porsche 1m47.652s
4. Fernandez/Diaz Fernandez Lola Acura 1m48.207
5. Brabham/Dayton Highcroft Courage Acura 1m49.319s
6. Franchitti/Herta/Patrick AGR Courage Acura 1m49.493s
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