The Le Mans Prototype Class cars are the fastest closed-wheel racing cars used in circuit racing today. They are considered a class above production-based grand touring cars which compete alongside them in sports car racing. Their cost and technology makes them comparable to Formula One cars, including reaching a higher top speed than Formula One. The ALMS just completed a test at the 17 turn, 3.7 mile Sebring International Raceway held on February 8 – 9, 2012 in Sebring, Florida. The main goal of the test was to get the drivers acclimated to the cars, test their set-ups and make necessary adjustments. Katech Motorsports is proud to be the exlusive engine provider for the LMPC class, and we are now building new parts for the teams. These new parts include; oiling system upgrades, billet engine front covers and high performance throttle-bodies. We have started manufacturing these parts in order to make them readily available to the teams at a reasonable cost.
Eager to get the 2012 racing season started, the Dempsey/Silicon Tech Racing team was on hand for the annual American Le Mans Series winter test. This was the first outing for the #25 Oreca FLM09 car and it performed flawlessly. The two-day test would provide plenty of opportunity for the drivers Duncan Ende, Dane Cameron and Ryan Lewis to acquaint themselves with the LMPC machinery, along with their new team. A collaboration between Dempsey Racing, owned by actor and driver Patrick Dempsey and Silicon Tech Racing. The team was able to put down some great lap times once the drivers were able to get used to the systems. The car’s pace would prove strong from the moment it hit the track, and it topped the LMPC class after the two day test. As the two day test progressed the #25 car cranked out the fastest lap of 1:53, which was over a second faster than the competition. “We had a very strong, and very productive, two-day test in Sebring,” said Ende. “The LMPC class this year looks to be very competitive, with a lot of very strong teams and drivers, so it was important for us to get a strong start. Dane and Ryan have raced in LMPC in the past, so they were able to help me get acclimated to the car and really shorten our learning curve. I couldn’t be happier with how things went for us at the test.”
Throughout the testing PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports was able to shake down their #52 car and turn some great lap times. The #52 is driven by Rudy Junco, Butch Leitzinger and Ken Dobson, even though they were not able to snag the best lap time, they ran consistently throughout the test and tuned their car for the Sebring 12 hour race. “The competition in LMPC has increased considerably this year, there’s no doubt about that,” Dobson said. “I’m not that concerned though. Looking up and down the field, I believe that we have the strongest driver lineup in the paddock, we’ve all won with PR1/Mathiasen last year, so I’m feeling very confident that we’ll be able to compete for wins again this year.”
Team Core Autosport was also at the Sebring winter test, dialing their #05 driven by Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and David Martiniez. They were also fielding the #06 driven by Antonio, Matt and Lucas Downs. The drivers stated, “The purpose of this test, especially for me, was to get some laps in the LMPC car, which I’d not driven before the test. I must say the car was quite good out of the box, which I would expect from the team that won the championship last year. The car has amazing horsepower; – It feels like a big, live, huge race car, – different than anything I’ve ever driven. At Sebring, there’s plenty of room to really open it up. From where I’ve been, working to get to this level is a huge learning curve and I’m taking it step by step. I’m just working on gaining confidence and bringing down my times. This test was a great experience and I thank CORE Autosport for hosting me and my brothers.”
Muscle Milk/Pickett Racing completed a successful and productive ALMS Winter Test. The Muscle Milk team then continued with the shakedown of its car by giving Lucas Luhr, Klaus Graf and Simon Pagenhaud each a turn behind the wheel, in order for them to get comfortable in their new surroundings. Gauch stated, “Today was our first ALMS open test with the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing LMPC car, we’ve been testing all off-season already and we felt like we had it somewhat sorted out. It was nice because we got here and pulled the car right off the truck and the setup was very, very good, very close.” The teams will return to Sebring later in February for another test before the race week in March. The 2012 ALMS season begins with the 60th Anniversary Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 17th.