Sebring race winners motivated
TAVAERES, Fla. - Team Seattle -The Heart of Racing is taking the momentum of winning the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD class at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring last month to the Continental Tire Grand Prix powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, May 1-3.
Team Seattle-The Heart of racing drivers Mario Farnbacher (Ansbach, Germany) and Ian James (Phoenix, Ariz.) are ready for the 2.2-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit and its legendary Corkscrew turn. The driving duo and the team will be dealing with a lower powered Porsche as the series delivered more restriction on the flat-six through their balance of performance (BOP) committee. The Sebring winners and the Alex Job Racing team will have to work harder to keep pace with the ultra-competitive GTD field.
"We are still celebrating our Sebring win," Farnbacher said. "Laguna is one of my favorite tracks. Every corner is exciting. Every lap through the Corkscrew is amazing. Hopefully the balance of performance will not affect our Team Seattle-Heart of Racing Porsche too much. For sure we will feel a difference in the top speed of the engine. Ian and I, together with the team, will do our best. We will keep pushing. I don't really understand the BOP change. Sebring was very competitive across the whole GTD field, especially in qualifying."
James likes the team chances this weekend following their Sebring GTD class win.
"Laguna is one of my favorite tracks. Its flowing smooth nature has always jelled well with my driving style," James said. "My favorite section of the track is the uphill Turn Six. That section requires commitment and precision and can reward your lap time when done right. I love the whole California race weekend vibe and am excited to head back to Monterey. Obviously any time you lose power it is not a good thing. It is kind of hard to understand why the BOP changes have negatively affected the Porsche, but that is up to the team and manufacturer to fight that battle. Mario and I are confident with our Team Seattle-Heart of Racing Porsche and the great support we have behind us. We are feeling good coming off our victory at Sebring. Every time we turn up we are aiming to win and Laguna will be no different."
Team owner Alex Job has his work cut-out this weekend.
"We have had a lot of time to celebrate since our win at Sebring," Job said. "We took a little hit with more restriction on the BOP since Sebring, taking away some top speed of the Porsche. The team is motivated to have another strong run this weekend at Laguna Seca. We will try to out engineer the competition."
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Grand Prix powered by Mazda will be televised on Fox Sports 1, Sunday, May 3, starting at 4 p.m. ET. Qualifying can be viewed, May 2 at IMSA.com at 7:15 p.m. ET.