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)

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.