Sebring 12-hour: Extra drivers to watch

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As the second round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is a great chance to see an extra bumper crop of drivers in action before their regular campaigns in other series begin.

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship sees a number of all-star third and fourth drivers in action in all four classes. The P and GTLM class have no driver restrictions and as such, can afford to bring in ringers to aid their two main drivers.

They include but are not limited to:

PROTOTYPES

  • Gabby Chaves (No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13),
  • David Brabham (No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b), Simon Pagenaud (No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b),
  • Sebastien Bourdais (No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP), Jon Fogarty (No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP)
  • Jann Mardenborough (No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA 03 Nissan)
  • Max Angelelli (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP)
  • Alex Brundle (No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan)
  • Justin Wilson (No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley)
  • Mike Rockenfeller (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP)
  • Marino Franchitti (No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley), and all three drivers in No. 02 CGR car
  • Tristan Vautier (No. 07 SpeedSource Mazda SKYACTIV-D Coupe)

GT LE MANS 

  • Ryan Briscoe (No. 3 Corvette C7.R), Robin Liddell (No. 4 Corvette C7.R)
  • Marco Holzer (No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR)
  • Joey Hand (No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4), Dirk Werner (No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4)
  • Andrea Bertolini (No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 Italia), Gianmaria Bruni (No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia)
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 91 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R), Rob Bell (No. 93 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R)
  • Patrick Pilet (No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR), Jorg Bergmeister (No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR)

PROTOTYPE CHALLENGE

Sam Bird (No. 8 Starworks Motorsport), Sean Rayhall (No. 25 8Star Motorsports), Stephen Simpson (No. 85 JDC/Miller), Martin Plowman (No. 88 BAR1 Motorsports) and David Heinemeier Hansson (No. 09 RSR Racing) are “good gets” for third drivers given the pro-am nature of the class requires at least two Silver drivers in a three-driver lineup.

GT DAYTONA 

Like PC, GTD requires a pro-am lineup, with at least two Silver drivers in a three- or four-driver lineup. But there are some star pros who can fill in if teams have a higher volume of Silvers.

Some extra drivers to watch here include:

  • Matt Plumb (No. 13 Rum Bum/Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Philip Frommenwiler (No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America), Alex Riberas (No. 23 Team Seattle/AJR Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Klaus Bachler (No. 28 Konrad Motorsport/Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Christina Nielsen (No. 30 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Marc Basseng (No. 32 GMG Audi R8 LMS)
  • Filipe Albuquerque (No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS), Markus Winkelhock (No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS)
  • Christopher Mies (No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 LMS)
  • Stefan Johansson (No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
  • Norbert Siedler (No. 71 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Patrick Huisman (No. 81 GB Autosport Porsche 911 GT America)
  • Markus Palttala (No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3)

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.