10:11am Wednesday 21st March 2012
EAST Yorkshire racer Guy Smith made a great start to his defence of the American Le Mans Series title when he claimed maximum points in the Sebring 12 Hours in Florida.
While the Welton-based race ace took the chequered flag in eighth place, Smith was the best-placed ALMS P1 class registered car home in the annual Sebring race – the opening event of this year’s ten-round endurance sportscar championship.
Smith, driving a brand new British-built Lola B12/60 Mazda Coupé which had only turned a wheel for the first time a week earlier, plus co-drivers Chris Dyson (US) and Steven Kane (N Ireland) completed 317 laps.
Bearing in mind the “newness” of the Lola combined with the toughness of the bumpy and fast 3.7-mile, 17-corner track Sebring International Raceway, Smith was delighted.
Said Smith: “We didn’t expect to be particularly fast straight out of the ‘box’ and were just aiming to get the car home to the finish.
“Unfortunately for them, our main ALMS title rival encountered a problem in the closing stages which promoted us but we’ll take our good fortune on this occasion.”
An entry of 64-cars began the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring fuelled by Fresh from Florida with the Smith/Dyson/Kane Lola starting from the 12th row after Dyson had qualified 11th fastest in the P1 category – 23rd overall.
Smith drove three stints totalling almost five hours in the race run in hot conditions.
Smith’s next ALMS race is at Long Beach, California, on April 14 – a two-hour race around the 1.968-mile street circuit.
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