Team West Alex Job Racing to Start Sebring GT from Fifth Row
SEBRING, Fla. (Mar. 15, 2013) - Team West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk Ferrari will start the 61st running of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from the fifth row.
The team had just received the Team West AJR Ferrari a week ago. When they unloaded the car here on Monday and hit the track, the car was reliable and fast right out of the box. For drivers Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.), Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Leh Keen (Charleston, SC) the car was easy and fun to drive from the very first practice.
Keen had the wheel of the Ferrari 458 GT for qualifying. During the week he had put in a time just below the two minute mark, but during the heat of the afternoon posted a qualifying time of 2:00.308 good for a fifth row starting position.
"This whole week has been almost a dream," Keen said. "When you get a new car, you never have days like we had on Monday. That morning the car was good right off of the truck. Later that day we did a tire test with our Yokohama's and that went really well. The car has run strong all week. We are developing the tire for this car. It is impressive how good it is performing already. I was able to run a 1:59 Friday morning. We are really excited about the race car. We didn't work on any kind of qualifying set up, but we have a good consistent Ferrari for the race."
Sweedler likes the new red and white 458 Italia.
"The car is amazing," Sweedler said. "Out of the box we were really quick. I hadn't been in a car since Petit. The Ferrari is an amazing car to drive. The Yokohama tires have been very good all week. The Yokohama guys took some data and did a great job to give us a tire that is working well. The car is really handling well over a stint and we will be looking keep it consistent and out of trouble all race. I see a definite podium opportunity for the race."
Bell is happy with the speed and reliability of the team's new Ferrari.
"It has been a fantastic week so far. We just got the car off of the airplane from Italy last Thursday. To have just one proper test day on Monday we are super pleased. It is a nice piece of equipment. It has been totally reliable. With our starting Yokohama package I feel really good about our race situation. We knew we weren't going to be a threat for the pole, but I think we have a really consistent car over a stint and that is going to help move us to the front."
Alex Job has his team dialing the Ferrari into the Sebring circuit.
"We just received the car a week ago," Job said. "We took our first laps on Monday and have been on the track every session making improvements. The Ferrari has been very reliable and is reacting well to the changes we have made. Yokohama has provided us with a tire that is really consistent over a fuel run and we hope that is going to make a big difference during the race. We have a lot more speed to come with the help of Yokohama so the race and future looks very bright."
The 61st running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be broadcast live on the Speed Channel, Mar. 16 in three segments: 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the finish from 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Qualifying, Mar. 15, can be viewed via live streaming starting at 1:05 p.m. EDT.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 68 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won four championships (GTC 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts eight Sebring 12-hour wins.
The ALMS GT Class is comprised of production-based, moderately-modified, two-wheel drive race cars including the BMW Z4, Corvette C6.R, Ferrari F458 GT, Viper SRT and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The GT cars share many similarities to their showroom brands. With top speeds of up to 180 mph, these elite GTs produce between 450-500 horsepower and have a minimum weight of 1,145 kilograms (2,480 pounds). All GT race cars have green Leader Light System race position lights and green car numbers.