It may be one of America’s most storied races, but the car sitting on the pole for tomorrow’s 59th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring isn’t even from a manufacturer that sells cars here.
Topping the Audis in qualifying was Anthony Davidson in the Peugeot 908 with a 1:46.571 lap time. Davidson will race with Alexander Wurz and Marc Gene in tomorrow’s endurance classic, defending last year’s title. Peugeots also took third and fifth place in qualifying, divided by two Audi R15s in second and fourth. Tom Kristensen set the second fastest lap in qualifying with a 1:47.680, and will share the car with partners Allan McNish and Dindo Capello before the R15 chassis is retired.
And while LMP1 saw a battle between European rivals, LMP2 came down to an all-Japanese dual, with the Level 5 Motorspots Lola-Honda driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay besting Soheil Ayari in the Signatech Nissan. A second Level 5 Motorsports Honda placed third.
In the hotly-contested GT category, the new Ferrari 458GT cars got all the publicity, but managed only 5th in class, while one of the older F430GT models driven by Gianmaria Bruni took the GT pole. Finishing just behind was the Corvette ZR1 driven by Oliver Gavin. BMW took third in an M3 GT driven by Dirk Werner, with the top-placing Porsche just sixth.
Watch all the action starting Saturday, March 19 on ABC, ESPN2 or ESPN3.com. Those outside the U.S. can watch the race live at www.americanlemans.com