Bourdais leads Sebring class poles for second TUDOR race

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Sebastien Bourdais (P and overall), Bruno Junqueira (PC), Michael Christensen (GTLM) and Dane Cameron (GTD) have secured the four pole positions for Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Bourdais laid down a 1:51.917 to score the top spot for the Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. He’ll co-drive in the second round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.

Olivier Pla took OAK Racing’s No. 42 Morgan Nissan to second at 1:52.086. He’ll co-drive with Alex Brundle and Gustavo Yacaman.

Junqueira laid down a ridiculously quick time in the spec-ORECA FLM09 class, some 0.76 seconds clear of the field in the No. 09 RSR Racing entry. His time of 1:54.839 makes his second pole at Sebring, as he also won the class pole for RSR in 2012.

The Brazilian will co-drive with Duncan Ende and David Heinemeier Hansson in Saturday’s race.

The 8Star and Performance Tech PC class cars were second and third.

Porsche North America took the GT Le Mans class pole with Sebring debutante Michael Christensen in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR at 1:58.933. His co-drivers are Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister.

Two Porsches, BMWS and Corvettes apiece made up the top six, and combined were separated by under four tenths of a second.

Dane Cameron took the GT Daytona class pole in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3, at a track that suits this car better. His co-drivers for Saturday are Paul Dalla Lana, Markus Palttala and Shane Lewis.

Cameron’s time of 2:04.258 was one-hundredth of a second better than the second-placed Leh Keen in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America.

An SRT Viper GT3-R, Aston Martin Vantage and Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 apiece rounded out the top five in class.

The race goes green past 10:15 a.m. ET on Saturday morning.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”