Sunday, March 16, 2014

TUSC: Top 10 results for the Audi teams at Sebring

By Johan Laubscher

The 12 Hours of Sebring was held this weekend, round two of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Five Audi R8 LMS cars took part fielded by four different teams, the same entries which took part in the 24 hours of Daytona.

The Audi Sport customer racing contingent was represented by five Audi R8 LMS cars from four different teams in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. Flying Lizard Motorsports returned with their two-car Audi R8 LMS team. Their #35 R8 LMS was piloted by Seth Neiman, Dion von Moltke and Filipe Albuquerque and their second #45 R8 LMS by Nelson Canache Jr., Spencer Pumpelly, Alessandro Latif and Markus Winkelhock. Tim Pappas unfortunately suffered food poisoning earlier this week and did not compete in the #45 machine, thus Alessandro Latif was moved from the #35 driving crew to aid the #45 entry.

One-car each was entered by GMG Racing, Fall-Line Motorsports and Paul Miller Racing. GMG Racing’s #32 Audi R8 LMS was driven by James Sofronas, Alex Welch and Marc Basseng. Fall-Line Motorsports’ R8 LMS had Christopher Mies, Charlie Putman and Charles Espenlaub behind the wheel and Paul Miller Racing had Bryce Miller, Christopher Haase and Matthew Bell.

The track action got under with three practice sessions on Thursday, followed by a fourth practice session and qualifying on Friday.

Qualifying concluded in a similar fashion for the Audi teams. The Audi R8 LMS cars were again relegated to the mid-field positions. GMG Racing’s Audi R8 LMS proved to be the fastest Audi by taking sixteenth place within the GT Daytona class. The #48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS grabbed eighteenth. The remaining trio of Audis qualified together in positions twenty through twenty-two, with Fall-Line Motorsports ahead of the two Flying Lizard Motorsports R8 LMS cars (#45 and #35).

The race itself got underway at 10:15 local time on Saturday morning. The Audi R8 LMS cars were involved in the battles within the top ten during the incident filled race. By the end of the long and gruelling twelve hours, three Audi R8 LMS teams had made it into the top ten, one of them in the top five.

The #35 Flying Lizard Motorsports crew of Seth Neiman, Dion von Moltke and Filipe Albuquerque brought their R8 LMS across the line in fifth place within GTD, less than ten seconds behind the GTD race winning #44 Magnus Racing Porsche. Fall-Line Motorsports finished sixth with the #46 R8 LMS, a further seconds back from the #35 car.

Flying Lizard Motorsports’ #45 R8 LMS rounded out the top ten Audi runners by taking eighth within the GTD class. GMG Racing and Paul Miller Racing finished just outside of the GTD top ten, with eleventh and twelfth places respectively.

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will now be heading to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for round three of the series, 3-4 May.