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Near-record number set for Winter test.

The entry list for the American Le Mans Series' annual Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway is out and features several of the most anticipated new entries to the world's premier sports car championship.

The three-day test is set for January 26-28 at Sebring, site of the season-opening 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and a near-record number of entries will test on the same circuit that will play host to the Series' 100th all-time event.

Perhaps the car most Series fans have been waiting to see is the Acura ARX-02a. The manufacturer announced its move to LMP1 in September with de Ferran Motorsports and Patrón Highcroft Racing set to campaign one car each for the full 2009 season. David Brabham and Scott Sharp will drive the Patrón Highcroft Acura at the test, with Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud in the de Ferran entry.

"In 2009 the team starts from a blank sheet and it's a totally different story," Pagenaud said recently. "It is expected to have some mechanical issues as every other new car would have. Acura is putting a lot of effort into it, and it will be really exciting to see the P1 car grow during 2009."

Dyson Racing will have one of its Mazda-powered Lola B08/86 coupes on hand for drivers Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Butch Leitzinger. The team moved to Mazda from Porsche and plans to enter two cars for the full season. Acura will also have an LMP2 challenger present in the form of the Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01b; Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz are entered along with Michel Jourdain Jr.

There are nine entries representing five different manufacturers from the highly competitive GT2 class. One of the highlight is the new BMW M3 for BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team. Familiar faces Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand and Tom Milner will see time in the M3.

Five Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs will be present with three from Flying Lizard Motorsports. Darren Law, Seth Neiman and Johannes van Overbeek are in one car with Porsche factory drivers and former class champions Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in the other. All five Lizard drivers will see extended testing time in the third Porsche as well. The team's full-season plans centre on a two-car attack in search of a second straight class championship.

Dirk Werner and Wolf Henzler will drive a Porsche for Farnbacher Loles Racing in their first season together. A fifth Porsche is listed for Team Falken Tire, a new entry to the Series.

LG Motorsports is bringing its Riley-built Corvette C6 with drivers Lou Gigliotti, Tomy Drissi and Randy Ruhlman. Robertson Racing has entered its Doran-Ford GT-R for Andrea and David Robertson, and David Murry. Tom Milner's Panoz Team PTG also plans to take the team's Panoz Esperante GTLM.

"It will be a hard year," Milner said. "But the Panoz will be a contender, much more than this past year. I am looking forward to it."


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Bernhard/Dumas/Collard - #7 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder, Sebring 12 Hours
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Peter Dumbreck - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Karun Chandhok - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Karun Chandhok - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
David Brabham - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Peter Dumbreck - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Peter Dumbreck - JRM Racing HPD ARX-03a
Audi`s Dindo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen win Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Audi leads into the night at Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Audi leads at start of Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Brian Redman piloting the Chevron B16 of ALMS boss Bobby Rahal at Sebring [Pic credit: Legends of Motorsports]
The Highcroft Racing team celebrates second place at the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring just seven days after taking delivery of its new HPD ARX-01e   [pic credit: Highcroft Racing]

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Just a Fan - Unregistered

January 11, 2009 9:38 AM

It was announced at the end of last year that Porsche was no longer supporting as a "factory" effort and Penske made it clear they weren't interested in being "privateers"... there was talk of some privateers buying the Porsche's but not sure they are staying in the ALMS... ...and if Dyson were so quick to drop Porsche as well there can't be much incentive to have them :?

Just a Fan - Unregistered

January 11, 2009 9:52 AM

The real disappointment for me as far as Porsche is concerned is that for all their talk of wanting to support the "production based" sports car classes, they've never seriously considered building a GT1 class car, apart from some PR bulls&%t about using the Carerra GT but, apparently, that was never actually seriously considered... maybe if they had GT1 wouldn't be the joke it has become, and forcing the rule makers to get rid of it



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