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ALMS: Porsche pilots practice for the real thing

American Le Mans Series, Wintertest in Sebring, USA, day 2

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The American Le Mans Series winter test on the Sebring International Raceway also serves as a dress rehearsal for Porsche pilots with the upcoming Sebring 12 hour race. At America’s oldest sportscar race the new season begins on 15th March.

In the #6 RS Spyder, the 2006 champion Sascha Maassen (Germany) gets a new partner: Patrick Long (USA) replaces Ryan Briscoe (Australia) who celebrated two overall victories last year with Maassen and contests the US Indycar Series this season for Penske Racing. For the long distance race in Sebring, however, he makes a guest appearance as the third driver in the cockpit of the successful sports prototype. Like last year, the 2007 title defenders Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) share driving duties in the #7 RS Spyder. Emmanuel Collard (France) joins the pair in Sebring.

At the winter test, with spring temperatures on the airfield circuit in the heart of Florida, all six pilots from Penske Racing can make the first direct comparison with the opposition. ‘Here we can gauge how good we are and how good the others are,’ says Sascha Maassen, who sees another advantage to testing here. ‘You hardly ever get a chance to test so comprehensively before the first and at the same time toughest race of the season.’

For the Porsche RS Spyder everything ran according to plan on the second day. ‘Again we were able to do everything we set out for ourselves,’ said Roland Kussmaul, Head of Performance. For the Penske Racing and Dyson Racing teams, who again field two RS Spyders each this season, the main goal of the passed two days was to test tyres and find a good set-up. The Weissach-developed and built sports prototypes performed excellently setting quick times under difficult conditions. With constantly changing grip conditions and strong winds, that ‘messed up the entire aerodynamics’ as Roland Kussmaul said, Sascha Maassen turned the fastest time in the LMP2 class on the second day of testing.

- Porsche AG

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