Friday, March 23, 2012

Saint Petersburg - Let The New Era 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Begin!

Official event name: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - Location: Albert Whitted Airport - St. Petersburg, Florida, United States - Course: Temporary airport & street circuit 1.806 mi / 2.906 km - Distance: 105 laps, 189.630 mi / 305.130 km - Twitter HASHTAG: #gpstpete - Caption and Image Credit: Wikipedia

Saint Petersburg - Let The New Era 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Begin!

Let the new era of unified American Open-Wheel Racing (#aowr) begin with the temporary street course Honda Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg. This year, 2012, will go down as the first year that American open-wheel racing is truly unified since there are no excuses that were first raised when the merger happened suddenly at the beginning of the 2008 season. Everyone will be competing on new Dallara DW12 equipment, with a choice of three new turbo-charged 2.2 liter engines, on tracks that are the most favored by fans of both series.

The season will favor street/road courses as opposed to NASCAR styled ovals and the oval tracks featured in this truly unified season are, for the most part, ones made famous through the sport of open-wheel automobile racing.

Five oval venues out of sixteen races are on the schedule and appear as follows:

The first oval race on the schedule is the grand-daddy of them all, The greatest specticle on all of autosport, the Indianapolis 500 - May 27, 11:00AM ET - ABC Sports.

Next will be the high-banked, super high-speed Firestone 500 at the Texas Speedway. This track holds a string of closest finishes in open-wheel racing. Broadcast set for the night of June 9, 8:00PM ET - NBC Sports.

Third comes the Milwaukee IndyFest, West Allis, WI - run on the famed flat four-cornered bull-ring of a track near the Wisconsin fairgrounds. This race venue was saved by the Andretti family primarily because of the history this track holds as a contrast to all other oval tracks ever run. This track was originally a flat dirt track that transformed itself into a concrete ring that challenges drivers with close quarters and the challenge of virtually no banking. Broadcast set for June 16, 1:00pm ET - ABC Sports.

The Iowa Corn 250, Newton, IA - represents a hold over from the Indianapolis Racing League days and gives a nod to the corn based Ethanol fuel that powers these 2.2 liter turbo-charged Chevrolet, Honda, and Lotus engines of this modern era season. In order to spice things up, this race will be run at night under the lights as they do in Texas. Broadcast set for June 23, 8:00PM ET - NBC Sports.

The last oval race of the season happens to be the final race of this 16 race benchmark of the modern era in American Open-Wheel Racing. This track holds the speed records for racing of any kind on a closed course for both qualifying and at race lap speeds. Yes, the venue is the Auto Club Speedway (formally, California Speedway) at Fontana, California.

On October 28, 2000, during CART qualifying, Gil de Ferran set the track record for fastest lap at 241.426 mph (388.537 km/h), breaking the record (240.942 mph) set by former F1 driver, Maurício Gugelmin (PacWest Racing) who went even faster -- 242.333 mph, to be precise -- in practice. Mark Blundell, also a former F1 driver (PacWest Racing - Gugelmin's teammate), was originally credited with the fastest "at race lap" speed record with a lap at 237.000+ (lap time unknown). Wikipedia shows that Greg Moore actually set fastest lap during the race on lap 80 with a time of 30.900 sec. over the 2.029 mile D-shaped oval (awaiting email clarification from Auto Club Speedway). All of these times are suspect as official by the FIA due the measurement of the track at being slightly longer than exactly 2.0 miles, but the recorded speeds recorded are factual.

What is not in dispute, however, is that the 2003 IndyCar race held at Fontana (the Auto Club Speedway) was the fastest closed-circuit race ever in motorsport history, with an average speed of 207.151 mph(333.306 km/h) over 400 miles (640 km) by Sam Hornish Jr. The 2012 race broadcast is set for a dusky night-time ending, September 15, 8PM ET - NBC Sports.

KV Racing Technology's driver Rubens Barrichello gives the new DW12 Chevrolet powered Dallara a spin at Sebring after signing a one-year agreement to run a full year in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Here Rubens is being followed on the track by fellow ex-pat F1 driver, Takuma Sato, driving the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. Image Credit: LAT via IZOD IndyCar Series

This weekend features a temporary street course e set up in the Florida city of Saint Petersburg first run under ChampCar (CCWS) sanctioning in 2003. After a one year break in order to regroup, the event was resumed with the sanctioning of the Indy Racing League (IRL) from 2005 to the 2007 and continued uninterrupted after the merger of CCWS and IRL as today's IndyCar beginning in 2008 through to today.

Past winners of the Honda Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg event are as follows: Paul Tracy (2003), Dan Wheldon (2005), Helio Castroneves (2006 and 2007), Graham Rahal (2008), Ryan Briscoe (2009), Will Power (2010) and Dario Franchitti (2011), Team Penske is the most successful with 4 wins ... track speed record is held by Sebastien Bourdais (McDonalds/Newman-Haas), set competing in ChampCar (2003) when he qualified for the pole, besting Paul Tracy (Players/Forsythe) with the time of 1:00.928 as his Lola-Cosworth turned an average of 106.472 mph.

A field of 26 drivers -- listed below -- are expected to take to the track for the race set to start Sunday, March 25, 12:30PM ET broadcasted to national network TV audience by ABC Sports.

Car# | Driver (R - Rookie) | Hometown | Sponsor Car Name | Engine (Chevrolet/Honda/Lotus) | Team Entrant
2 Ryan Briscoe Sydney, Australia IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske

3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Chevrolet Team Penske

4 JR Hildebrand Sausalito, Calif. National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet Panther Racing

5 E.J. Viso Caracas, Venezuela Citgo – PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet KV Racing Technology

6 Katherine Legge (R) Guildford, England TrueCar Lotus-Dragon Racing Lotus Lotus-Dragon Racing

7 Sebastien Bourdais Le Mans, France Lotus-Dragon Racing Lotus Lotus-Dragon Racing

8 Rubens Barrichello (R) Sao Paulo, Brazil BMC/Embrase KV Racing Technology Chevrolet KV Racing Technology

9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Target Chip Ganassi Racing

10 Dario Franchitti Edinburgh, Scotland Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Target Chip Ganassi Racing

11 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Brazil GEICO/Mouser Electronics KVRT Chevrolet KV Racing Technology

12 Will Power Toowoomba, Australia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske

14 Mike Conway Bromley, England ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises

15 Takuma Sato Tokyo Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan

18 Justin Wilson Sheffield, England Sonny’s BBQ Honda Dale Coyne Racing

19 James Jakes Leeds, England Boy Scouts of America Honda Dale Coyne Racing

20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis Fuzzy’s Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet Ed Carpenter Racing

22 Oriol Servia Pals, Spain Lotus-DRR Lotus Lotus-Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

26 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Team RC Cola Chevrolet Andretti Autosport

27 James Hinchcliffe Toronto Team Chevrolet Andretti Autosport

28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet Andretti Autosport

38 Graham Rahal New Albany, Ohio Service Central Honda Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing

67 Josef Newgarden (R) Hendersonville, Tenn. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing

77 Simon Pagenaud (R) Poitiers, France Kingdom/Schmidt-Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports

78 Simona de Silvestro Thun, Switzerland Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus Lotus-HVM Racing

83 CharLinklie Kimball Camarillo, Calif. Levemir and NovoLog FlexPen Honda Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing

98 Alex Tagliani Lachenaie, Canada Team Barracuda-BHA Lotus Bryan Herta Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian


First Practice Laps At #GPSTPETE

Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon set first ever mark in an event for the new DW12 formula as he was fastest in the first official practice session of 2012, leading Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe by 0.4784 seconds.

Briscoe's teammate, Will Power, ran third, posting a lap of 1:03.57 around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course.

Dario Franchitti served as a bookend for the Penske duo, placing fourth with a lap of 1:03.60 seconds.

Schmidt Hamilton Racing's Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top 5, turning a 1:03.64-second lap in hot, humid conditions.

Honda engined-cars placed 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th, with Chevrolet runners occupying the rest of the top 10 slots.

The fastest Lotus-engined car was Oriol Servia's DRR entry in 19th with a lap of 1:04.29.

The session was mostly trouble-free, barring Charlie Kimball's nose-first crash at Turn 10 with less than five minutes remaining in the session.

With so little rubber down, times are expected to drop throughout the weekend.

Practice 1 for the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg at the St Petersburg Street Circuit

Rank | Driver | Diff. | Best Lap
1 Scott Dixon 0 1:03.0406
2 Ryan Briscoe 0.4784 1:03.5190
3 Will Power 0.5341 1:03.5747
4 Dario Franchitti 0.5607 1:03.6013
5 Simon Pagenaud 0.6011 1:03.6417
6 Justin Wilson 0.6298 1:03.6704
7 Marco Andretti 0.7522 1:03.7928
8 Mike Conway 0.7927 1:03.8333
9 Graham Rahal 0.8116 1:03.8522
10 Helio Castroneves 0.8322 1:03.8728
11 Josef Newgarden 0.8366 1:03.8772
12 EJ Viso 0.8736 1:03.9142
13 James Jakes 0.9228 1:03.9634
14 JR Hildebrand 1.0508 1:04.0914
15 Takuma Sato 1.0666 1:04.1072
16 James Hinchcliffe 1.0673 1:04.1079
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1.0833 1:04.1239
18 Tony Kanaan 1.0998 1:04.1404
19 Oriol Servia 1.2540 1:04.2946
20 Alex Tagliani 1.3455 1:04.3861
21 Sebastien Bourdais 1.4468 1:04.4874
22 Charlie Kimball 1.6226 1:04.6632
23 Simona de Silvestro 1.8741 1:04.9147
24 Rubens Barrichello 2.6275 1:05.6681
25 Ed Carpenter 2.9904 1:06.0310
26 Katherine Legge 4.2925 1:07.3331
[Reference Here]

UPDATE: Power Tops Second St. Pete Practice

Team Penske’s Will Power nearly matched his pole speed from last year in only the second practice session of the weekend, leading Briscoe and Franchitti.

Practice 2 for the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg at the St Petersburg Street Circuit:

Rank | Driver | Diff. | Best Lap

1 Will Power 0 1:02.0077 1:06.1375
2 Ryan Briscoe 0.0854 1:02.0931
3 Dario Franchitti 0.2155 1:02.2232
4 Graham Rahal 0.2847 1:02.2924
5 Scott Dixon 0.3040 1:02.3117
6 Helio Castroneves 0.3113 1:02.3190
7 James Hinchcliffe 0.4555 1:02.4632
8 Tony Kanaan 0.4737 1:02.4814
9 Ryan Hunter-Reay 0.5224 1:02.5301
10 Mike Conway 0.5260 1:02.5337
11 Marco Andretti 0.5547 1:02.5624
12 Simon Pagenaud 0.5920 1:02.5997
13 JR Hildebrand 0.7606 1:02.7683
14 Josef Newgarden 0.7761 1:02.7838
15 Justin Wilson 0.8838 1:02.8915
16 Simona de Silvestro 0.9059 1:02.9136
17 James Jakes 0.9075 1:02.9152
18 Takuma Sato 0.9517 1:02.9594
19 Sebastien Bourdais 0.9701 1:02.9778
20 EJ Viso 0.9780 1:02.9857
21 Charlie Kimball 1.0827 1:03.0904
22 Alex Tagliani 1.1735 1:03.1812
23 Rubens Barrichello 1.3213 1:03.3290
24 Oriol Servia 1.3458 1:03.3535
25 Ed Carpenter 2.5954 1:04.6031
26 Katherine Legge 2.7515 1:04.7592
[Reference Here]

UPDATE - Qualifications Highlights:

Will Power breaks his own track record by 0.2305 (old mark = 1:01.6026). Teammate Ryan Briscoe nails down P2 by breaking Will Power's old mark as well.

The top five positions on the grid are held by Chevrolet powered DW12's with seven of the top ten grid positions being filled by the new era engine supplier over longtime supplier and race sponsor, Honda.

A less than competitive showing by the cars powered by the Lotus/Judd effort with the highest placing driver of the "Lotus Legion" (highlighted in BOLD below), being one of the most consistent performing drivers of the series, Oriol Servia.

Probably the biggest surprise of this first qualification session of the new formula 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season is that even though cars fielded by Target Chip Ganassi Racing did very well in practice, the highest placing car from the Ganassi stable was Scott Dixon in P7 - none made it into the Firestone Fast Six qualifications round.

Team Penske had 3 cars, Andretti Autosport had 3 cars - 2 in the Firestone Fast Six round, Ganassi had only 2 cars, Kingdom/Schmidt-Hamilton had it's one car effort place P6 in the Firestone Fast Six, and KV Racing Technology with only one car rounding out the top ten positions on the grid.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1:01.3721s
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1:01.5357s + 0.1636s
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 1:01.9321s + 0.5600s
4. James Hinchcliffe Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 1:01.9701s + 0.5980s
5. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1:01.9987s + 0.6266s
6. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt-Hamilton DW12-Honda 1:02.1095s + 0.7374s

7. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 1:01.7636s Top 12
8. Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 1:01.7895s Top 12
9. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevrolet 1:01.8699s Top 12
10. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda 1:01.9570s Top 12
11. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda 1:02.0233s Top 12
12. Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 1:02.5084s Top 12

13. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevrolet 1:02.5146s Group 1
14. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevrolet 1:02.2009s Group 2
15. Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda 1:02.6015s Group 1
16. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 1:02.2538s Group 2
17. Alex Tagliani Herta DW12-Lotus 1:02.6506s Group 1
18. JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevrolet 1:02.4426s Group 2
19. Josef Newgarden Fisher Hartman DW12-Honda 1:02.7155s Group 1
20. James Jakes Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 1:02.5271s Group 2
21. Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus 1:02.8218s Group 1
22. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda 1:03.0437s Group 2
23. Oriol Servia Dreyer & Reinbold DW12-Lotus 1:02.8771s Group 1
24. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevrolet 1:03.3591s Group 2
25. Katherine Legge Dragon DW12-Lotus 1:03.6048s Group 1
26. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon DW12-Lotus 1:05.6858s Group 2

A short memorial for the late Dan Wheldon, who made St Petersburg his home, preceded Sunday’s race.

Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves ends year long winless drought on the streets of St. Petersburg. Helio celebrates win by climbing a fence and honoring the memory of Dan Wheldon along the newly christened Dan Wheldon Way at turn #10 at the track. Image Credit: Honda Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg

This excerpted and edited from the Tampa Bay Times –

How the 2012 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg unfolded
By Joey Knight, Times Staff Writer – Monday, March 26, 2012

On Lap 73, Castroneves gets far outside, breaks as deeply as he can and passes Dixon on Turn 1 for second. “It was awesome because the car (stuck), and I was like, ‘Yesss!’ ” said Castroneves, who soon after passes Hildebrand.

By Lap 80, Castroneves’ lead on Dixon grows to more than five seconds. Hunter-Reay, in third, falls seven seconds behind Castroneves as his crew implores him to conserve fuel. E.J. Viso, on the brink of dehydration following an overnight bout of food poisoning, is fifth — seven places ahead of his starting spot — 93 laps into the race before a final pit stop ultimately drops him to eighth. His lead edging closer to insurmountable, Castroneves drives conservatively on the last dozen or so laps and wins by 5.5292 seconds.
[Reference Here]

How the field of 26 DW12′s finished in their first race:

Pos | Driver | Team/Car | Time/Gap
1. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevrolet 1h59m50.9863s
2. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda + 5.5292s
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti DW12-Chevrolet + 7.5824s
4. James Hinchcliffe Andretti DW12-Chevrolet + 10.6526s
5. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevrolet + 11.7854s
6. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt-Hamilton DW12-Honda + 31.2623s
7. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevrolet + 34.6582s
8. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevrolet + 35.5943s
9. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda + 43.1425s
10. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne DW12-Honda + 44.3141s
11. Josef Newgarden Fisher Hartman DW12-Honda + 44.8275s
12. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda + 45.1080s
13. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda + 45.8468s
14. Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevrolet + 1 lap
15. Alex Tagliani Herta DW12-Lotus + 1 lap
16. Oriol Servia Dreyer & Reinbold DW12-Lotus + 1 lap
17. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevrolet + 2 laps
18. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevrolet + 2 laps

Did not finish:

JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevrolet 96 laps
Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 75 laps
Sebastien Bourdais Dragon DW12-Lotus 73 laps
Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda 73 laps
Katherine Legge Dragon DW12-Lotus 59 laps
Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus 22 laps
Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevrolet 21 laps
James Jakes Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 19 laps

Most of the problems of cars not finishing had to do with electrical gremlins on a car most engineers are still trying to figure out.

So, the new era 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series (#indycar) has begun at the Honda Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg (#gpstpete) — Twitter #hashtags included!

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as Saint Petersburg - Let The New Era 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Begin! on Technorati **

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is Lotus Having Trouble Delivering DW12 Engines?

Lotus Dragon Racing teammates Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge compare notes during the spring session for IZOD IndyCar Series teams held at Sebring, Florida. Image Credit: Dave Lewandowski via IZOD IndyCar Series

Is Lotus Having Trouble Delivering DW12 Engines?

Is the first race of the season through the streets of Saint Petersburg in jeopardy for teams that use the newest of engines developed for use in the IZOD IndyCar Series for 2012?

These are the kind of questions that arise when one sees a Tweet communication on Twitter like the one that follows:

brant james@brantjames - Says SebastIen Bourdais: he expects to race in @GPSTPETE #indycar but his Dragon Racing car currently no Lotus engine. Disconcerting? yes.

Lotus Dragon Racing driver, Katherine Legge during the Sebring spring test session. Image Credit: LAT via IZOD IndyCar Series

Is this just an issue with Seabass's DW12 or is this portend a wider problem with Lotus Dragon Racing and will this effect the second car on the team, the TrueCar sponsored DW12 driven by Kathrine Legge?

Lotus Bryan Herta Autosport's Alex Tagliani in his Barracuda Networks sponsored DW12 during the Sebring spring test session. Image Credit: LAT via IZOD IndyCar Series

Will this situation effect the rest of the teams (Bryan Herta Autosport, Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Lotus HVM Racing) that are using the Lotus/Judd 2.2 litre turbo-charged power plant?

If Lotus engines are in short supply, how will this potential situation play out for the "Lotus Legion" for the balance of the 2012 season?

Just askin'!

UPDATE: This excerpted and edited from Autoweek -

Bourdais, a four-time Champ Car champion embarking on a full-time IndyCar season, told Autoweek that as of Wednesday morning, Lotus had not provided an engine for his car. He is entered for the Sunday race. He said he expects to participate. But he also expected to have an engine by now.

Teammate Katherine Legge's engine is scheduled, he said, to arrive on Wednesday (it is assumed this engine arrived).

“The only question mark is mine,” Bourdais said. “We don't know. They haven't given us a date yet. That is the big question mark. The team is ready. The car is ready. It's just a matter of putting something in it that will get the car moving forward.”

Bourdais said team owner Jay Penske is “a victim in all this.”
“[Lotus] told us they would have seven or eight engines by the first race. But since my engine is coming . . . I don't know when, either there are spare engines they don't want to give to us or they don't have any engines at all,” Bourdais added. “And that I don't know.” Dragon received just one engine during spring testing at Sebring International Raceway--and not until Wednesday night of the four-day session--severely limiting both Bourdais and Legge's test time.

“It definitely doesn't get us anywhere near where we want to be,” Bourdais said, adding that he and Dragon “expect nothing” results-wise from the opening weeks of the season.
Bourdais said his team is funded for a full campaign, but he will not race at Milwaukee on June 16 because of a commitment to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
[Reference Here]

UPDATE #2 - Thursday night, approximately 8:00PM PT

Edmund Jenks @TheEDJE
RT @JennaFryer: Word on the street is Bourdais got his Lotus tonight #indycar #lotus #ccws #gpstpete #dragonracing

... notes from The EDJE

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Media Notes, Quotes, And Tweets From The 60th Mobil 1 12 Hours Of Sebring

The team of the #2 Audi R18 TDI driven by Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello, celebrate their victory, once again, with the team of Timp Bernhard, Romain Dumas, and Loic Duval, who finished in 2nd place in the #3 Audi R18 TDI at the 60th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring! It was a long, hard 12 hour race which was filled with a lot of drama and many wrecks on course. Image Credit: Josh Decker via QuattroWorld

New Media Notes, Quotes, And Tweets From The 60th Mobil 1 12 Hours Of Sebring

There are many ways people use to try to communicate what they experience when they witness an event like a competition
between people using machines of motion. Some write stories, some splice scenes from images captured in stills and video, while others capture observations registered in New Media posted on the internet via blogs, 140 character notes submitted to Twitter which are known as "Tweets", and emailed PDF's. The following entry are observations registered in New Media posted on the internet for Saturday's 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.

The captured observations, notes and quotes begin with a little more than five hours left in the 12 hour endurance race and continues to the end.

Allan McNish (#2-P1 Audi R18) posts his 28th ALMS victory, 4th at Sebring. Image Credit: ALMS

5:45 p.m. ET: Huge letdown for the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Darren Turner whose left rear wheel departed the car. Yellow flag for the stranded Aston which was running fourth in GT-Pro.

Olivier Crouzet @crewzyC7
RT @paulcrumlish: Sunset at #sebring12 @sebringraceway #alms #wec

ALMS Racing @almsnotes
TIght in #P2. Bouchut and @Level5Racing only 0.633 seconds ahead of Dalziel in the Starworks HPD. #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

Muscle Milk Racing @MuscleMilkRace
Lucas gets by JRM for 3rd overall! Still 2 hours and 39 minutes to go! #ALMS #Sebring12

Pat W @toomuchracing
What rotten luck for JRM, Dumbreck/Brabham/Chandhok. :( Suspension failure after running 3rd.

8:51 PM ET

Nick Guzman @DarkKnightC6R
RT @almsnotes: Top six in #GT within 8.469 seconds. Did anyone tell them this is endurance racing? #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

9:28 PM ET

Kevin Toy @kevintoy888
Meanwhile, for you #INDYCAR fans, @EJVISO is still leading the PC class. *knocking on wood* #Sebring12 #ALMS

Kenichi Matsuo @stargazer_R
1 hour remains. Next routine pit stop will be final. #sebring #wec #alms

9:30 p.m. ET: One hour to go and the GT battle is heating up. JanMagnussen takes over the class-leading Corvette, but makes two mistakes--the first by putting it in reverse when trying to pull away, then cruising out of the pits and onto the track too slowly, letting the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari get by.

9:32 p.m. ET: Class leaders:

LMP1: Tom Kristensen
LMP2: Stephane Sarrazin
LMPC: E.J. Viso
GT-Pro: Jorg Mueller
GT-Am: Julien Canal
GTC: Dion von Moltke

OAK Racing Live @OAKRacingLive
The clock ticks past 11 hours here with @olivierpla still in contention for LMP2 victory. +24secs to @starworksmotor. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

Muscle Milk Racing @MuscleMilkRace
Less than an hour to go! Simon is always in 3rd overall and Memo continues in 5th. #ALMS #Sebring12

9:41 PM ET

Alianora La Canta @lacanta
#sebring12 #alms #wec Things are quiet in LMP1, but the gap between the top 3 LMP2 cars (#44, #24 and #055) is 26 seconds.

Sport Auto Live @SportAutoLive
Top 3 GTE-Am : P1 Porsche 911 n°88 , P2 Corvette n°50 , P3 Corvette n°70. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

Alianora La Canta @lacantaMuscle Milk Racing @MuscleMilkRace
RT @almsnotes: Late-race trouble for @MuscleMilkRace! Reports of fueling rig problems. #ALMS #WEC #Sebring12
#sebring12 #alms #wec The #3 Audi (Bernhard P2) has pitted with, at a minimum, severe light bank damage.

Tony DiZinno @tonydizinno
That's least of 6 car concerns. 016 Dyson now 1L away from being on same lap, 2L from overtaking. #DejaVuAllOverAgain #ALMS #Sebring12

Nathan Grundle @NathanGrundle
RT @almsnotes: Top six in #GT within 8.469 seconds. Did anyone tell them this is endurance racing? #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

10:05 PM ET

Jack Payne @jack4cap
#alms Joey hand retakes GT lead.

Laura Pritchard @LJ_Pritchard
Endurance racing. The proverbial it's not over until the fat lady sings. @radiolemans @specutainment #WEC #sebring12hrs #alms

Mathilde berger @MatbergerBerger
RT @OAKRacingLive: @olivierpla's pitstop has dropped him behind the @Level5Racing HPD. Time to shine Olivier. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

ROBERT LACAMBRA @robertlacambra
12 HRS OF SEBRING - 26 Minutes to go - Class Leaders #ALMS

Vukie @Vukie
RT @almsnotes: There is just 0.18 seconds between @JoeyHandRacing and Olivier Beretta with 21 minutes left. #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

Sunset at Sebring - The #56 BMW was consistently fast. Image Credit: James Fish | The Epoch Times

Sport Auto Live @SportAutoLive
Top 5 LMP1 : P1 Audi R18 n°2 , P2 Audi R18 n°3 , P3 Pescarolo n°16 , P4 Lola Mazda n°016 , P5 HPD ARX n°21. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

OAK Racing Live @OAKRacingLive
Less than 15mins left here and LMP2 looks all-but settled, unless fuel plays a part of course. #WEC #ALMS #Sebring12

10:19 p.m. ET: Olivier Beretta out-brakes himself trying to pass Joey Hand for the GT-Pro lead. These two are providing the best fight on the track.

Michelin Alley @MichelinAlley
About 10 mins to go. Looks like Jan will be fighting it out for third place at #Sebring12. #alms #wec

Michelin Alley @MichelinAlley
5 mins to go: Audi No.2 leads. Starworks HPD leads P2, @JoeyHandRacing leads GT and @COREautosport's No.06 leads PC. #Sebring12 #wec #ALMS

James Bogue @unitmotorsports
2 mins to go. Olivier Beretta slices past @JoeyHandRacing to grab GT lead. Last lap now. #alms #wec

Bernard T. Bolt Esq @bernietb
Allan McNish exits the last corner and wins the Sebring 12 hour. #WEC #Sebring12 #ALMS

Michelin Alley @MichelinAlley
Hand back past but then pushed off. Beretta leads again in GT. #wec #ALMS

Kev @KevD9
Beretta prevails. What racing for the GT lead right at the end of a 12 hour race. Another great one. #ALMS #Sebring12 #WEC

Marcel ten Caat @dsceuroeditor
BMW wins Sebring, Corvette second, Beretta third. #Sebring12 #ALMS #WEC

Kevin Toy @kevintoy888
What a GT/GTE-Pro finish! gonna need a video replay. BMW 56 wins, followed by Corvette 4 and Ferrari 71. #Sebring12 #WEC #ALMS

Kenichi Matsuo @stargazer_R
Checkered flag! Cong Audi, Sarrazin, Pescarolo, and BMW #sebring #wec #alms

Matt Eagan @mattheweagan
@JoeyHandRacing is an animal!!! Get that position back! Big win - what a finish. #Sebring12 #ALMS #WEC

corey burbick @coreyburbick
class is in ALMS always goes down to the wire even after 12 hours of racing #12hoursofsebring #ALMS #marchmadness

l'endurance magazine @lendurancelive
RT @bernietb: Man. This endurance racing shit is SO BORING, eh? #WEC #Sebring12 #ALMS

Indy Racing Review @INDYracereview
Congratulations @COREautosport @EJVISO for winning the @almsnotes PC Class 60th Anniversary @sebringraceway 12 Hours #wec #alms #indycar2012

Andy Lally @AndyLally
Thank you.RT @ericpwilson Amazing result for No. 044 @FlyingLizard_MS with @AndyLally making a last-lap pass for P6 in #ALMS GT. #Sebring12

Helio Castroneves @h3lio
@EJVISO : buenissimo hombre te felicito!! Well done!

Marshall Pruett @marshallpruett
Also awesome for former open-wheel standout Jonathan Summerton, who won GT with @JoeyHandRacing and @RLLracing on his team and race debut.crazy how competive the GT

Graham Rahal @GrahamRahal
What a job by @RLLracing and @JoeyHandRacing to hang on to win. Ass of the year is Olivier Beretta who tried to take him out after 12 hrs!

Eric P. Wilson @ericpwilson
Replay showed Joey Hand didn't know what he was taking about, was hit by No. 51 while No. 71 spun behind avoiding Hand #ALMS #Sebring12

Michael Friedman @mfriedman_63
Long Beach ALMS race will be live, on ESPN3, and ESPN2 TV it appears, in 4 weeks from today. #ALMS

Image Credit: ROBERT LACAMBRA via TweetDeck

At 10:31 pm (12h 0m running), Checkered Flag

Unofficial Top three in class:

(1) #2-P1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18) 325 laps
(2) #3-P1 Bernhard/Dumas/ Duval (Audi R18) 321 laps (-4 Laps)
(6) #16-P1 Collard/Boullion/ Jousse (Pescarolo Judd) 318 laps (-7 Laps)

(3) #44-P2 Potolicchio/Dalziel/ Sarrazin (HPD ARX-03b Honda) 319 laps
(4) #055-P2 Tucker/C.Bouchut/Barbosa (HPD ARX-03b) 319 laps (32.274-)
(5) #24-P2 Nicolet/Lahaye/ Pla (Morgan/Judd) 318 laps (-1 Laps)

(12) #06-PC Popow/Viso/Friselle (Oreca FLM09) 312 laps
(13) #52-PC Leitzinger/Dobson/ Junco (Oreca FLM09) 311 laps (-1 Laps)
(15) #05-PC Bennett/Braun/ Lux (Oreca FLM09) 310 laps (-2 Laps)

(18) #56-GT Hand/Summerton/Mueller (BMW E92 M3) 307 laps
(19) #03-GT Magnussen/Garcia/ Taylor (Corvette C6-ZR1) 307 laps (6.370-)
(20) #71-GT Bertolini/Cioci/ Beretta (Ferrari F458 Italia) 307 laps (8.110-)

(29) #88-GTE-AM Ried/Roda/ Ruberti (Porsche 911 RSR 997) 298 laps
(31) #70-GTE-AM Bourret/Gibon/ Belloc (Corvette C6-ZR1) 297 laps (-1 Laps)
(39) #50-GTE-AM Bornhauser/Canal/ Lamy (Corvette C6-ZR1) 288 laps (-10 Laps)

(33) #023-GTC Sweedler/Bell/ von Moltke (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 292 laps
(35) #022-GTC MacNeil/Keen/ Dumoulin (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 291 laps (-1 Laps)
(37) #34-GTC LeSaffre/Faulkner/ Bleekemolen (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 290 laps (-2 Laps)

Performance Hallmarks:

Allan McNish (#2-P1 Audi R18) posts his 28th ALMS victory, 4th at Sebring.

Tom Kristensen (#2-P1 Audi R18) posts his 13th ALMS victory, 7th at Sebring.

Dindo Capello (#2-P1 Audi R18) posts his 36th ALMS victory, 6th at Sebring

Alex Papow (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) first ALMS victory

E.J. Viso (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) first ALMS victory

Burt Frisselle (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) second ALMS victory, first at Sebring

Stephane Sarrazin (#44-P2 HPD ARX-03b Honda) seventh ALMS victory, first at Sebring

Vicente Potolicchio (#44-P2 HPD ARX-03b Honda) first ALMS victory

Ryan Dalziel (#44-P2 HPD ARX-03b Honda) first ALMS victory

Joey Hand (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) sixth ALMS victory, second at Sebring

Dirk Mueller (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) seventeenth ALMS victory, third at Sebring

Jonathon Summerton (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) first ALMS victory

Paolo Ruberti (#88-GTE-AM Porsche 911 RSR 997) records his first ALMS win

Christian Ried (#88-GTE-AM Porsche 911 RSR 997) records his first ALMS win

Gianluca Roda (#88-GTE-AM Porsche 911 RSR 997) records his first ALMS win

Townsend Bell (#023-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) first ALMS win

Dion von Moltke (#023-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) second ALMS win, first at Sebring

Bill Sweedler (#023-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) first ALMS win

Selected Driver Quotes:

(1) #2-P1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18) 325 laps

Allan McNish (#2-P1 Audi R18) “We've been racing this car for nearly a year, the first time here at Sebring. It adapted very, very well. The car is built for LE Mans, but the rigors here are what makes this track and the race so difficult for the engineers and the drivers. The R18 goes to its retirement after a victory. Sounds like a good way to send it off after 2011. We are looking now at the next race in the World Endurance Championship. We had a great run from start to finish. The work starts here. [during the last stint] I had Howden in my head the last time. All the attack situations. I heard some noises at the beginning of the race, which was more scary than at the end. But we have a very good history of finishing races at Audi. We know going in that we have a chance at victory. As drivers, we can be thankful for that, because there have been times in our careers where that wasn’t the case. [about the closed cockpit car] “The closed car doesn’t have the vision as an open car, the regs are in such a way and with the big tire we use, it takes the down force loads we require. The closed car is apparent it is more efficient. The advantage is the speed in the straights, especially with the small restrictors. It's difficult to describe what it's like, we've done a lot of testing so we're used to it. But this race with 60-some cars, and the speed differentials was a great test again for us. We had to be very precise in traffic to make sure we made decisive maneuvers but not take excess risk.”

(3) #44-P2 Potolicchio/Dalziel/Sarrazin (HPD ARX-03b Honda) 319 laps

Ryan Dalziel (#44-P2 HPD ARX-03b Honda) “Its huge, Enzo and I have been with Starworks for a few years. We built a car in 9 days for 24 hours at Daytona and put it on the pole. You work with people who have perfected their craft after years and years. Our experience is very different, but a huge reward for guys who have not slept all week. They didn’t sleep at all last night. IT was a great start to what will be my most exciting season to date. I cant wait to get to the next race.

(12) #06-PC Popow/Viso/Friselle (Oreca FLM09) 312 laps

Alex Papow (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) “It was amazing to be here and we set a deal with Core Auto Sports 10 days ago. Just last Wednesday before coming to the track on Sunday and were told we think we have a chance for the championship. And it is here, we did it. We got first place. The team did a professional job and we just drove and made first place. It is incredible. It was my first time in the car and at Sebring. It is going to be good.

E.J. Viso (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) “For me it has been a very exciting week, he [Alex Popow] has been my best friend for so many years. He called me and said do you want to do this race. I know this track because of the IndyCar testing at the south circuit. But to learn a new track is always fun. But the program CORE Autosport has is a fantastic crew. It was a fantastic race.”

(18) #56-GT Hand/Summerton/Mueller (BMW E92 M3) 307 laps

Joey Hand (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) “It was basically the last 2 hours and 45 minutes that was the crazy train I was on. We talked about this, what do we have for this race, we knew we didn’t have the ultimate lap. We knew we had the smartest guys, starting with Bobby Rahal, then BMW, Dunlop, a lot of great people. We had 4 or 5 issues that could have taken us laps down. But we pitted on the right laps, in the right place. Coming down the last laps, we stinted 1 and a half or 1 and 3/4 and we just took fuel at the end. I was a little surprised. Then Berretta got around me, then I got back around him again. We got sideways again, the next thing I was around him. I can’t be here all year, I can help all I can. Summerton did an excellent job, he really impressed me. He didn't make any mistakes. In a car to car competition, you have no chance making the move Beretta tried, it worked out for me, mainly because I was expecting it. When I was spinning, I kept it straight, but I knew he had a right front flat, so I knew if I could get up to him and get him jammed, it would be easy to get around.”

(29) #88-GTE-AM Ried/Roda/Ruberti (Porsche 911 RSR 997) 298 laps

Paolo Ruberti (#88-GTE-AM Porsche 911 RSR 997) “We are really happy to win the first FIA WEC and the 12 hours of Sebring. It's like a dream. The car was perfect, we had a bit of trouble in the last hour. I did the last stint without the power steering. I kept the car on good pace with a good results. The Ferrari is a little faster than us, but we were in fact in the best position. In this place we need to now finish all the races for a good results.

(33) #023-GTC Sweedler/Bell/von Moltke (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 292 laps

Dion von Moltke (#023-GTC Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) “What a crazy race. A great one-two finish for Alex Job and the team. Thanks to Battery Tender, William Rast and PR Newswire for all of their support. Bill and Townsend did an amazing job all day. I had a scare with two hours to go when I got hit in Turn 17. I had to push the last two hours and was able to get a gap, make the last stop and bring it home for the win. The car ran flawless all day. The crew put a great car under us, and we delivered.”

ALMS Racing @almsnotes
Don't miss #Sebring12 on ABC starting at noon ET and 3 p.m. PT today - Sunday. Don't miss a classic! #ALMS #WEC @sebringraceway

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as New Media Notes, Quotes, And Tweets From The 60th Mobil 1 12 Hours Of Sebring on Technorati **

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Aston Martin Takes Early GT Class Lead In The 12 Hours Of Sebring

In their return to GT, Aston Martin Racing set the 4th fastest time of FIA WEC competitors in LM GTE Pro with the Vantage GTE. Image Credit: JEAN MICHEL LE MEUR

Aston Martin Takes Early GT Class Lead In The 12 Hours Of Sebring

The return of Aston Martin Racing in GT (with Stefan Mücke, Adrian Fernandez and Darren Turner) shows promise for the English manufacturer in this class. The #97 held the top spot in the GT class during the a round of pitstops with about 90 minutes transpired in the 12 hour endurance race.

John Gaw (Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, Aston Martin Vantage GTE #97, LM GTE Pro): “To come here [Sebring] with a new car and record a lap that was 1.5 seconds quicker than last year’s pole time is very encouraging. We know from testing that the Vantage GTE has terrific reliability, and we now know that it also has the potential to be very quick, too. There is lots of pace still to be found in the car because it’s very early on in the development cycle and the team is looking forward to demonstrating its potential over the course of the season.”

12 Hours of Sebring Live Timing & Scoring HERE

Live Streaming ESPN3 Broadcast HERE

Update - 5:45 p.m. ET: Huge letdown for the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Darren Turner whose left rear wheel departed the car. Yellow flag for the stranded Aston which was running fourth on the same lap as leaders in GT-Pro.

… notes from The EDJE

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Audi R18 Diesel 1-2-3 Overall At 2012 Sebring Qualifications

Audi R18 #1 on the circuit. To be driven in the 12 Hours by Lotterer, Treluyer and Fassler. Image Credit: MichelinAlley

It's Audi R18 Diesel 1-2-3 Overall At 2012 Sebring Qualifications

Qualifying for Saturday's 60th Anniversary, Mobil 1, 12 Hours of Sebring was held today and with little surprise in the overall standings, the diesel-powered Audi R18's took the top three positions with the three fastest times. The cars qualified in car number-badged numerical order, with cars #1, #2 and #3 in grid positions 1, 2 and 3. Andre Lotterer (driving the #1 Audi R18 - pictured), the defending champion at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, showed what pace the cars could achieve with the overall and LMP1 class poles at 1:45.820. The race goes green at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday.

Andre Lotterer (#1-P1 Audi R18) Overall pole winner, “This is my first time to the Sebring race, but not the Sebring track as we have tested here before. It is better to come here during the race weekend. This a little more action and it is great to see so many people. It is a great atmosphere. We were here in December for testing so we knew a little bit about the new front straight wall going into Turn 1. This is the last race for the R18 so it is an emotional car for the drivers as we move to the new Audi. It feels good to come to a legendary race like Sebring to compete with the car one more time. Hopefully the car will finish very nicely tomorrow for us. (On his stop-and-go penalty) I had a little stressful incident with the pit lane penalty. Usually the pit limiter is always on, but it wasn’t that time. That was my mistake for not noticing. It didn’t really make my life more difficult. The car ran great and I was able to get in a good lap. This pole is really nice for the staff as the guys work so hard to prepare for this race. This is a nice reward for the mechanics who work on the car. I wasn’t perfect at turns 13 and 15 so I didn’t think I would be that fast. You usually need a near perfect lap for the pole. Looks like the rest of the lap was better than I expected.”

While the Audi effort was dominating, the rest of the field of 64 cars would care to be mentioned so to that end, the other class poles featured Muscle Milk Pickett Racing (ALMS P1), OAK Racing (WEC LMP2), Level 5 Motorsports (ALMS P2), RSR Racing (ALMS PC), AF Corse (WEC GTE Pro), Corvette Racing (ALMS GT), Luxury Racing (WEC GTE Am) and NGT Motorsport (ALMS GTC).

EJ Viso captured while in the cockpit (in mirror) with the fender louvers shown in foreground. Image Credit: MichelinAlley

Top three in class (overall position on the grid - in parentheses):

(1) #1-P1 Andre Lotterer (Audi R18) 1:45.820
(2) #2-P1 Tom Kristensen (Audi R18) 1:46.215 (0.395-)
(3) #3-P1 Romain Dumas (Audi R18) 1:46.935 (1.115-)

(11) #24-P2 Olivier Pla (Morgan/Judd) 1:50.467
(12) #44-P2 Stephane Sarrazin (HPD ARX-03b Honda) 1:50.823 (0.356-)
(13) #41-P2 Elton Julian (Zytek Z11SN-Nissan) 1:51.809 (1.342-)

(21) #9-PC Bruno Junqueira (Oreca FLM09) 1:54.510
(22) #06-PC E.J. Viso (Oreca FLM09) 1:54.555 (0.045-)
(24) #025-PC Dane Cameron (Oreca FLM09) 1:54.628 (0.118-)

(31) #51-GT Gianmaria Bruni (Ferrari F458 GT) 1:58.427
(32) #59-GT Jaime Melo (Ferrari F458 Italia) 1:58.723 (0.296-)
(33) #03-GT Jan Magnussen (Corvette C6-ZR1) 1:58.996 (0.569-)

(40) #58-GTE-AM Dominik Farnbacher (Ferrari F458 Italia) 2:00.184
(44) #57-GTE-AM Niclas Jonsson (Ferrari F458 Italia) 2:00.929 (0.745-)
(46) #50-GTE-AM Pedro Lamy (Corvette C6-ZR1) 2:01.640 (1.456-)

(52) #30-GTC Sean Edwards (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 2:06.674
(53) #34-GTC Damien Faulkner (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 2:06.697 (0.023-)
(54) #022-GTC Leh Keen (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) 2:06.711 (0.037-)

Much of the interest surrounded the performance of open-wheel focused drivers crossing over to get broader experience in this international endurance racing event.

Selected Post Qualifying Quotes:

Simon Pagenaud (#6-P1 HPD ARX-03a) “It was a good day overall. In the end, we placed the Muscle Milk HPD right behind the Audis and that’s very good. However, it was an interesting day trying to make the car work with the track. We tried different things and, by the end of the session, it was very positive. I think we’re heading in the right direction. I’m getting excited now. I think we have our finger on what we need to do and it’s coming together. It’s taking longer than we would like because the sessions are short. There are a lot of cars on track and there were a lot of red flags, which makes it very difficult for the team to get to try what they want to try. It’s especially frustrating for the engineers but everyone is doing a great job and I think we should be good for qualifying and Saturday for the race.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#95-P2 HPD ARX-03b) “This has been a driver’s dream week. Just in a race car almost every day. The old quote, “just living the dream” is my motto this week. Saturday and Monday I was here in the LMP2 sports car for Level 5, Tuesday and Wednesday in the IndyCar for Andretti at Barber Motorsports Park, Thursday, Friday and Saturday back at Sebring for practice, qualifying and the race. Next Wednesday, I’ll be at St. Pete for the IndyCar Series opener. I can’t wait to get started in the IndyCars. I feel very fortunate and appreciative that I am able to drive these sports cars as well as the IndyCars. It keeps me sharp in the cockpit. I feel fresh going into St. Pete next week. I love coming back and racing with Level 5. It is a great team. It’s a great environment and it is becoming routine to come to Sebring each year. I really enjoy Sebring. It is my home track and we are looking to defend our win from last year (in LMP2).

Bruno Junqueira (#9-PC Oreca FLM09) Pole winner in PC, “This pole gives our team some good morale for this race. The team told me to be patient and bring the car home and we will be fine. This is the first time I have driven this car. I love it. (Adjusting to PC) On the first lap, I felt the brakes and they were great. They really worked well. So I said, ‘Hey, it’s race time. So let’s go.’ And the car was great. Now, we are ready for the race. It should be exciting. It feels really good and I can’t explain how happy I am to be here with an equal car and chance to fight for pole and today I have to thank our team for giving me the opportunity. Today I knew if I drove good, I would get a shot and every lap I got better. I was very happy.”

E.J. Viso (#06-PC Oreca FLM09) “I’m very excited to be here. This is something that was very last minute. I just got a call last week asking if I wanted to do this race and, of course, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. I know one part of the track here at Sebring, the back section (from IndyCar testing). The rest of the track was
completely new to me. And racing these cars is also new to me. So far I am having a blast. This race has a great atmosphere here. I have seen a lot of familiar faces from my days of racing in Europe. I am having a lot of fun and I hope this will be the first of many here at Sebring. There are fans and motorhomes everywhere around this track. It is fun to see.”

Jonathon Summerton (#56-GT BMW E92 M3) “It is awesome to be here in this race. The BMW RLL team have been so helpful. I’m very honored to be here with them and hopefully we can go for a win. It’s a great group of guys. Right now, I am running in four ALMS races this year. I’m filling in for Joey (Hand) when he goes to the DMT series. After that, it is wherever BMW North American or BMW Motorsport want me. I want to be affiliated with a manufacturer and BMW is just the best. It is a thrill to be here.”

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as It's Audi R18 Diesel 1-2-3 Overall at 2012 Sebring Qualifications on Technorati **

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reining ALMS LMP1 Champion Takes Delivery Of New Sword For 2012 Season

Dyson Racing team inspects their new coupe upon its arrival. At the time of this posting, Dyson Racing has about 10 days to get the car ready for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida (ctrl-click HERE to launch Dyson Racing video). Image Credit: Dyson Racing via Video

Reining ALMS LMP1 Champion Takes Delivery Of New Sword For 2012 Season

Dyson Racing takes delivery of its new Mazda-powered Lola B12/60 LMP1 Car.

The team took delivery of its intimidating Lola B12/60 coupe the team will use with Mazda power in defense of its ALMS P1 championship. Featuring revised aerodynamics and wider front tires, the car will be a powerful contender in defending their American Le Mans Series Championship.

The B12/60 LMP1 Coupe is a one-piece carbon composite monocoque and is “technology ready” for the latest regulations and homologated up to 2014. The body panels are of lightweight pre-preg carbon composite construction.

Suspension? ... CHECK! Dyson Racing has about 10 days to get the car ready for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida (ctrl-click HERE to launch Dyson Racing video).Image Credit: Dyson Racing via Video

The suspension is double wishbone with pushrod/rocker-activated coil spring/adjustable dampers. The six-speed sequential gearbox is lightweight cast magnesium and features Lola fitted pneumatic/automated paddle-shift system.

Powering Dyson Racing’s Lola Coupes, Mazda’s MZR-R engine won the 2011 American Le Mans Series Engine Manufacturer’s Championship, adding to Advanced Engine Research’s title tally of four ALMS championships and four LMS championships.

The Lola gets offloaded from the transporter at the shop. Dyson Racing has about 10 days to get the car ready for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida (ctrl-click HERE to launch Dyson Racing video).Image Credit: Dyson Racing via Video

Building on their successful partnership with Mazda, AER built an all-new version of the MZR-R race-winning engine for the 2010 season. Further refined and strengthened in 2011, the 2012 version has further advancements in virtually all areas. The 2.0 liter, four-cylinder in-line turbocharged engine was designed from a clean sheet of paper, and is designed to make in excess of 500 HP -- on a per cylinder basis, more than an F1 engine. It is all aluminum construction and mounted as a semi-stressed member of the chassis with A-frames.

Combining very low mass with a small physical footprint, the engine is the smallest, lightest and most compact in LMP racing today and there are no external belt drives or ancillaries. The camshafts, water pump and oil pump are internally driven by gears. The engine has barrel throttles for optimum engine response with the latest Life Racing electronics for optimum engine control and high efficiency.

Checking to see if the new body length airflow vane meets specifications. Dyson Racing has about 10 days to get the car ready for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida (ctrl-click HERE to launch Dyson Racing video).Image Credit: Dyson Racing via Video

Even with the Mazda MZR-R engine being the smallest in the ALMS paddock, it won the 2011 championship over the twelve-cylinder Aston Martin. It also added the honor of winning the 2011 Michelin Green-X Challenge to its resume. 2011 was the 20th anniversary of Mazda’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They remain the only Japanese manufacturer to have won the endurance classic and their “never stop challenging” spirit continues its winning ways as strong as ever.

Team manager Michael White, driver Chris Dyson, and Technical Director Peter Weston describe the features of the new car.

... notes from The EDJE

Monday, March 5, 2012

IZOD IndyCar Series Sets A Social Media #hashtag Agenda

This photo is evidence of a fan led social media involvement through Twitter. The photo was posted at IZOD IndyCar Series blog pages on May 5, 2010 and urged fans traveling to Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama to log in to, and follow tweets on Twitter through the account set up presumably by the cable media outlet (VERSUS) carrying the race that weekend. Image Credit: IZOD IndyCar Series Admin (2010)

IZOD IndyCar Series Sets A Social Media #hashtag Agenda

Here in 2012, this will not be your father's IndyCar ... or CART/ChampCar for that matter.

Last year (2011) was the last year for a bunch of IndyCar-ism's, not the least of which was the continued running of a tired and old formula that utilized an old Dallara chassis that was optimized to work well on ovals and adapted for use (with many engineering and driver complaints) on road and street courses with all teams using the same naturally aspirated engine from Honda. The first year of the new DW12 Dallara chassis has a frame that has been designed to be more balanced for use on road and street courses and the teams will run turbo-charged engines manufactured from three manufacturers of Honda, Chevy, and Lotus.

One of the strongest changes, however, concerns itself with the communications medium of New Media and the sub-set known as Social Media. To illustrate the change of visibility and understanding from the top when, during the announcement that F1 standout driver Rubens Barrichello was joining KV Racing Technology's three car team for the 2012 season, IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard went to one of Barrichello’s test sessions to meet the Brazilian. He said last Thursday it was an exciting day for the series ”and a positive step to start” the year.

“There’s not a person in the world who knows racing that wouldn’t tell you that Rubens Barrichello is one of the greatest drivers of all time,” the series CEO said in a statement. “That will create great competition and expands our international platform.”

What Randy Bernard was alluding to was that Barrichello brings with him an ardent and strong New Media fan base … his 1.47 million followers on Twitter is one million more than Kanaan’s ... who leads all IndyCar Series drivers with 448,000 Twitter followers.

So basically, as was written in the article titled "Brazilian Changing Of The Guard, Barrichello In As Meira Leaves IndyCar", what we will expect to be hearing from the PA speakers in the stands, at every 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series venue during the season is – "Ladies and Gentlemen … start your 'Tweets'!"

The IZOD IndyCar Series has set an agenda to utilize the Social Media platform of Twitter that allows fans to communicate to one another in 140 character (or less) messages known as "Tweets". If one were to use their smartphone, iPad, tablet, or laptop to post the messages, and wanted to follow what others who were following the comments and on-track action of a particular race, all one would need to do is employ the search method of locating messages through the use of a "HASHTAG". A HASHTAG takes the form of an indexing tool utilized in real-time to send messages and look at messages on Twitter ... it opens the door to the discussion room of that IZOD IndyCar Series race so socially, we all can participate in the process.

Mario Andretti, always in command, three generations of Andretti get a kick out of Tweet'n on Twitter. Image Credit: More Front Wing

This excerpted and edited from Pressdog -

IndyCar Sees More Twitter Integration, Hashtags, Driver Engagement in 2012

Pressdog - March 05, 2012

IndyCar fans can expect Twitter handles on race broadcasts, much stronger at-the-track Twitter presence and a set of event-specific hashtags in the 2012 race season.

The series is also trying to provide teams with resources and expertise required to engage fans through expanding social media avenues including Twitter.
Kate Guerra (@kateguerra4), public relations coordinator and manager of social media for IndyCar (@IndyCar), said last week NASCAR (@NASCAR) may have made a big social media splash in Daytona, but IndyCar also recognizes the value of social media like Twitter to engage fans and has been building its Twitter efforts since late last season.

Guerra said last fall IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard (@RBINDYCAR) and COO Mark Koretzky “said to me we want you take over our social media and we really want you to just go for it. We want you to do anything you can to help us out. We want you to reach out to everybody in our atmosphere -- teams, drivers, sponsors, tracks, local social media influencers and more. We set goals where we want to be every month.”
IndyCar has four primary social media thrusts planned for 2012.

First, more integration of Twitter handles into race broadcast. Guerra said after she saw how SPEED integrated Twitter handles into graphics during the Rolex 24, she met with producers for ABC and NBC Sports who were very willing to do something similar on all IndyCar broadcasts.

Second, Guerra hopes to create “hashtag communities” for each race.
For example, leading up to and during the IndyCar race at St. Petersburg, tweets that include the event hashtag -- #gpstpete – will be collected under that tag. By clicking on the hashtag in your Twitter stream, you’ll go to a listing of all tweets that contain that hashtag.

“They really create a sense of sense of community,” said Guerra. “People who click on a hashtag see everything anyone is sharing on it and at the same time see who is

sharing their opinions. It’s really a great place for IndyCar fans to interact with each other about whatever certain event we have going on. Hashtags were something that were asked for and demand by our fans. They are out there now and have been shared with our teams and drivers and tracks. It’s almost like creating a forum, but it’s on Twitter which is such a user-friendly medium.”

Third, IndyCar and Guerra continue to offer help and guidance to teams and drivers who want to up their game on Twitter. In that regard, Bernard invited Omid Ashtari from Twitter to speak to teams and drivers during the State of IndyCar meetings last month.

Guerra said Ashtari’s talk stirred many inquires of her from teams looking to increase the effectiveness of their use of Twitter. Guerra expects Ashtari to be involved in talks with IndyCar's television partners on ways to best optimize the use of Twitter during broadcasts.
Teams and drivers are also starting to incorporate their Twitter handles into their uniforms, car paint schemes and more. Examples include the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing hauler that features a HUGE “@SFRHindy” on the side to EJViso (@EJViso) doing things to rapidly increase his Twitter followers.

Fourth, IndyCar is trying to increase its at-the-track Twitter presence. “I feel like the second people step onto a track they should be absolutely surrounded by everything social media,” said Guerra. “Whether in our fan village or at autograph sessions when there are massive lines and people playing on their phones. All the name plates we have and use for autograph sessions will have the driver’s twitter handle right underneath the name. It’s little things like that that people tend to underestimate that I feel like could make a huge difference.”
The newness of IndyCar this season also gives drivers an opening to reintroduce themselves to fans. “It’s almost a new sport,” she said. “There’s so much new -- with the car, with the engines, with some new drivers -- they may want to rebrand themselves and really make this a reintroduction to the sport this season. Nobody has said that specifically, but I really feel they really want to grow and help us grow.”
Race car drivers' nature may also help fuel Twitter growth. A driver who has half the followers of another may feel the need to pick up the pace. "As you well know, drivers are a very competitive breed," Guerra said. "So, yeah, it's even a little bit of that I feel. I haven't heard any Oh, man, let's see who can get to 50,000 followers first,' but maybe it's something I could push needle on."

Guerra said she and others are determined that IndyCar will also ride the wave of Twitter s well. “It’s definitely something I am working very hard on,” she said, “something that is very important to me. It has always been a dream of mine ever since I realized I wanted to work in sports that I handle a league’s social media.”
[Reference Here]

Over the last three years or so (2009), we at The EDJE pioneered posting race action blogs that featured selected comment and reaction "Tweets" with posts labeled "Tweet-By-Tweet". Using Twitter, Facebook, twitpic, Pinterest, YouTube, and any other New Media communications platforms that allow people to have free access to words, photos and action in realtime, of events as they happen, can only expand ones interest and fanbase knowledge with the result of a stronger experience and racing series.

People experienced in using Twitter have expanded their access to message input through the use of "TweetDeck" which allows the user to set up and follow several #hashtag streams ... check it out on Chrome (download application) and a laptop.

2012 IndyCar Series Official Race Event Hashtags (16 races) = #name

RACE *** (TWITTER ACCOUNT - @name) *** = #hastag

1) Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (@GPSTPETE) = #gpstpete

2) Honda Indy Grand Prix of AL (@BarberMotorPark) = #higpa

3) 38th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (@ToyotaGPLB) = #tgplb

4) Sao Paulo Indy 300 (@IndyemSaoPaulo) = #saopauloindy

5) Indianapolis 500 (@IMS) #indy500

6) Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (@DetroitGP) = #detroitgp

7) Firestone 550K (@TXMotorSpeedway) = #texas550

8) Milwaukee Indy Fest (@MKE_IndyFest) = #indyfest

9) Iowa Corn Indy 250 (@IowaSpeedway) = #iowa250

10) Honda Indy Toronto (@HondaIndy) = #hondaindy

11) Edmonton Indy (@edmontonindy) = #edmontonindy

12) Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (@followmidohio) = #midohio

13) Streets of Qingdao, China = #Indychina

14) Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma (@InfineonRaceway) = #igps

15) Baltimore Grand Prix (@BaltimoreGP) = #bgp2012

16) Auto Club Speedway (@ACSupdates) TBD - Suggestion = #fontana

Again, what we will expect to be hearing from the PA speakers in the stands, at every 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series race venue during the season is – "Ladies and Gentlemen … start your 'Tweets'!"

Happy tweeting.

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as IZOD IndyCar Series Sets A Social Media #hashtag Agenda on Technorati **

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Brazilian Changing Of The Guard, Barrichello In As Meira Leaves IndyCar

Pitting on lap 27 at the 2011 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, after a full course caution was called for Simona DeSilvestro’s spin, the ABC Supply team pulled out a 7.1-second pit stop for Vitor Meira (above), but Meira had to be held for a half a second to avoid hitting J.R. Hildebrand’s car entering the pit box directly ahead of Meira’s. On the way out of pit lane, Meira was tagged by Graham Rahal who shot into the fast lane exiting his pitbox. The impact shoved Meira into the outer pit wall but he was able to continue with only minor damage [photo slideshow HERE>>]. Caption Credit: Catchfence | Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

Brazilian Changing Of The Guard, Barrichello In As Meira Leaves IndyCar

Lest we think there will not be the requisite number of drivers from Brazil commanding the wheel of a DW12 IZOD IndyCar Series car during the 2012 season, ever since ten year veteran Vitor Meira announced his departure from the series last month, today, nineteen year Formula One veteran Rubens Barrichello joins KV Racing Technology. Also announced today was the re-signing of fellow Brazilian, Tony Kanaan to a two-year KV Racing Technology deal.

A couple of weeks ago (Feb. 11, 2012), Vitor Meira announced that he will be leaving the IndyCar IZOD Series to race back home in Brazil in the Campeonato Brasileiro de Stock Car. Brazil's premier stock car series. He has not decided if he will race in select races in the IZOD IndyCar Series or cut ties completely. The decision seemed a little sudden at the time because the first race was just over one month away ... March 25 in St. Petersburg, Fla..

Vitor Meira and the ABC Supply team weathered a few close calls in the 2011 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to finish ninth, his second top-10 finish in three races. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

Vitor's best years were from 2003-2005. During those years he finished in the top ten overall. He also had several second and third place finishes throughout his career. He missed most of the 2009 season due to injuries incurred in a scary accident during the Indy 500 which broke several vertebrae bones in his back. He made a full recovery and since his accident, he managed to secure only two top five finishes racing for AJ Foyt. One of those top five finishes occurred in 2010 in his first race back after his injury.

As for Rubens Barrichello, 39, the Brazilian announced Thursday he has joined KV Racing Technology on a one-year contract. He will make his IndyCar debut at the season opener on March 25 in St. Petersburg, Fla.. Barrichello, with a record 325 races in his F1 Series career, is the biggest name to move to an American-based open-wheel series since F1 champion Nigel Mansell joined CART in 1993. Mansell won five races and the series title that season. Barrichello finished second in the F1 drivers' championship in 2002 and 2004, both times behind seven-time champion Michael Schumacher of Ferrari.

"I'm loving the idea I'm going to be a rookie," he said. "That makes me young, and I'm loving that."

Barrichello will participate in all 16 IndyCar races on the calendar, including the Indy 500 in May and the other four races on ovals.

A trio of drivers that included young up and coming star E. J. Viso, Formula One legend Rubens Barrichello and IndyCar superstar Tony Kanaan, tested with KV Racing Technology for two days (February 25-26) on the of around the 2.303-mile, 12-turn Infineon Raceway permanent road in Sonoma, California. Viso behind the wheel of the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine ran the most laps, 143, over the two days and produced the fastest times. He was third fastest overall among the seven drivers testing and the fastest KVRT pilot with a time of 78.50 seconds on Saturday and a 77.36 second lap on Sunday. Caption & Image Credit: KVRT

This announcement comes on the heels of KV Racing Technology confirming the re-signing of EJ Viso who will return to the team for a third year to compete for the full 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Viso, 26, who hails fron Venezuela, will drive the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet-powered DW12 with additional support from Herbalife, Mindeporte CANTV and SBA Airlines. Barichello has been assigned the No. 8 BMC | Embrase race car with Kanaan returning in the No. 11 GEICO | Mouser Electronics entry.

"I am really happy to be back with KV Racing Technology," EJ Viso said at the announcement. "Last year was very successful even if the results don't necessarily reflect what we wanted. We worked very hard and we proved we were competitive. The progress we made over the last two years will be a key to our success in 2012."

As for Kanaan, 37, the 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion, will be entering his 15th US-based open-wheel season. Kanaan started in 1996 with Tasman Motorsports in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship. It's his 11th Indy car season and his second with KVRT. Kanaan's driving history with the IZOD IndyCar Series is one of the strongest ... he was fifth in the standings last year, is one of the most consistent and fearless drivers in the series who has placed in the top six every year he has competed.

"I am very excited to be returning to KV Racing Technology, not only with a two-year deal but also to have Rubens Barrichello as my teammate," Kanaan said. "We have always dreamed about racing together (aside from their winter kart races in Brazil) but never imagined it would actually happen and certainly not in the near future or in Indy cars. So I am looking forward to the start of the season. I think it's going to be a very exciting year."

Rubens Barrichello reacted. "I am thrilled, it is something very new to me. With all my experience I will start as a rookie, but I think I will get better as the year progresses. I hope with my contribution to KV Racing Technology we can build on Tony's contribution to the team from last year and take the team to another level. I am extremely happy and have a big smile on my face."

IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard went to one of Barrichello's test sessions to meet the Brazilian. He said Thursday it was an exciting day for the series ''and a positive step to start'' the year.

"There's not a person in the world who knows racing that wouldn't tell you that Rubens Barrichello is one of the greatest drivers of all time," the series CEO said in a statement. "That will create great competition and expands our international platform."

Barrichello brings with him an ardent and strong New Media fan base ... his 1.47 million followers on Twitter is one million more than Kanaan's, who leads all IndyCar Series drivers with 448,000 Twitter followers.

So basically, what we will expect to be hearing from the PA speakers in the stands, at every 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series venue during the season is - Ladies and Gentlemen ... start your "Tweets"!

... notes from The EDJE

** Article first published as Brazilian Changing Of The Guard, Barrichello In As Meira Leaves IndyCar on Technorati **