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1000 Miles Of Sebring: Wednesday Paddock Notes

Project 1’s Porsche arrives

Team Project 1 has received its new Porsche 911 RSR (featured) and spent the morning frantically preparing it ahead of the WEC track action.

By mid-morning, the team had already applied most of the car’s livery. It didn’t make it out for FP1 though (unsurprisingly), due to the engine and sensor work required before it could run. The team did take part in the second session though and looks ready to go in Florida after a troubled start.

DSC’s editor Graham Goodwin later caught the car going through scrutineering (above).

The WEC brings the stars out

While the IMSA paddock is still being fully set up today, ahead of the first WeatherTech sessions tomorrow, the WEC end is now fully ready to go.

One of the nice finishing touches to the WEC paddock is the addition of ‘Hollywood Boulevard’ type stars featuring each of the drivers’ in the 1000 Miles of Sebring scattered across the paddock in front of each of the team tents.

Garcia talks WEC/IMSA double duty with Corvette

So far we’ve had good preparation, and I don’t think it’s too difficult; we are using a different car but we are sharing information within the team. Also, it’s not just the challenge in the car: once we get into tomorrow it starts to get difficult attending the different meetings and commitments that we have such as the briefings and things like that. I’m more concerned about that than the races, with the last practice [for the 12 hours] and then the WEC qualifying back-to-back.

The plan is that we will share information between the cars, so it’s like double the test session. Race engineers will be different for each race, so that is something I’ll have to adapt to and then there are the different pit lanes of course. It’s the little things like that which I think could take some getting used to. I’ve asked them if I’m coming in to tell me if it’s WEC pit lane or the IMSA pit lane… especially at Sebring where we have so much familiarity, in race conditions that could be an easy mistake!

And in terms of how much difference that experience could make in the WEC race, I don’t know. Maybe to begin with, but the other teams are running two cars so that’s twice as much data in the conditions. Even though we are running just the three drivers, which will make things smoother, I wouldn’t say that’s really gaining us any advantage. We can’t be sure how the track will develop, but we have a pretty good idea based on experience. We won several times here and that’s a good reference point, but who knows… it’s a new race for everybody.”

Toyota pace

Toyota’s pace today at Sebring has been nothing short of blistering, continuing its form from the pre-event test where it unofficially broke the all-time circuit record twice. The best time from Toyota today was set by Jose Maria Lopez with a 1:41.730 in FP2.

The outright qualifying and track records seem set to tumble, team sources suggesting that time in the very low 1:40s or better is possible.

Aston drivers lost in (Kennedy) Space

Aston Martin’s WEC drivers headed to the Kennedy Space Center before arriving at the circuit here for race week, the team putting a short film of their visit on twitter today:

Bomarito thankful for WEC chance

Jonathan Bomarito is set to do double duty this weekend at Sebring, the American Mazda factory driver on the FIA WEC entry in a GTE Pro Ford, which he will share with Andy Priaulx and fellow Mazda DPi teammate Harry Tincknell.

“I’m super thankful to John (Doonan) for letting me do both races. It’s about five years since I’ve driven a GTE car and this is really competitive racing. It’s going to be a lot of driving: usually, you get to rest between sessions but to lay it all down on Friday and then turn around and do it again on Saturday is huge. This a really tough place to race, but I feel we have two really quick race cars.

“It’s super physical, but it’ll be fun as well; once you put that helmet on and you’re on that lead lap fighting it won’t be an issue.

“Driving the GTE was a bit of an adjustment but with Andy Priaulx and Harry helping me along it’s not so bad. WEC has so many different rules with pit stops and safety cars, and it’s a different pit lane, and those logistical issues are a lot more difficult to wrap my head around than driving the car. So there will be transitional issues but it will be a lot of fun.”