Rebellion Racing turned the quickest lap during Thursday’s two-hour testing session at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in preparation for today’s American Le Mans Monterey, the third round of the 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
Neel Jani clocked the fastest lap in the No. 12 Rebellion Timepieces/Lemo Connectors/Speedy Garage Lola B12/60-Toyota with a time of 1:14.700 (107.855 mph). Jani’s lap was 0.916 seconds ahead of the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a-Honda at 1:15.616 (106.546 mph). The No. 16 Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Lola B12/60-Mazda from Dyson Racing was third at 1:15.619 (106.545 mph).
“We walked the circuit (Wednesday),” said Rebellion Racing driver Nick Heidfeld. “Normally it’s the not the most fun thing to do, but here it was fun because the track looks very amazing. This track is new for all of us in every way. We definitely can improve the balance more and more as we go along.”
The No. 552 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b from Level 5 Motorsports led the way in the P2 class with a lap of 1:19.502 (101.341 mph). Second in P2 was Extreme Speed Motorsports’ No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b-Honda at 1:20.815 (99.694 mph), followed by the No. 01 Tequila Patrón ESM machine at 1:20.866 (99.631 mph).
“It’s great to see the car hit the track so close to optimum,” said Level 5 driver Marino Franchitti. “It’s such a hard track with the dust, and that makes the track different every lap. To find the direction is very difficult. The balance changes from lap to lap.
“We have to be on our toes because the Extreme Speed guys are coming along really strong. The team has a year on the car and a good bank of data from previous years, and the simulation work we’ve done has really helped.”
GT class honors went to Team West/AJR/Boardwalk Ferrari on the strength of a lap at 1:23.802 (96.141 mph) by the No. 23 Yokohama/Battery Tender/Boardwalk Ferrari/William Rast/Motegi Racing Ferrari F458 Italia. Paul Miller Racing was second in class with the No. 48 Chopard Watches/TOTAL Lubricants/Motegi Racing Wheels Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at 1:24.158 (95.734 mph) ahead of the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at 1:24.191 (95.697 mph).
"This is our first chance to try some things that I hadn’t been able to try so far,” said Team West/AJR/Boardwalk Ferrari Townsend Bell, who lives within several hours of the track in San Louis Obispo, Calif. “The Ferrari is just a fantastic car out of the box, and it’s the third year of the 458. Development-wise, the guys have a really nice car and it’s a matter of adapting our brake, damper and tire partners to this platform, which we know is a winning one."
Fresh from a victory in Round 2 at Long Beach, CORE autosport was quick out of the box once again at Mazda Raceway in the Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire.
The No. 05 Composite Resources ORECA FLM09 led the class with a lap of 1:20.569 (99.999 mph), which was also good for fifth overall on the day. Second in PC was the No. 9 Johnson Controls entry from RSR Racing at 1:20.832 (99.673 mph), followed by the No. 52 PR1/Mathaisen Motorsports Molecule ORECA FLM09 at 1:20.969 (99.505 mph).
"It was a great sight to pull up behind the CORE Porsche on the track and see our colors and logo on the back. Unfortunately it made me a little more careful but it was fantastic to see. Colin (Braun) is very good at communicating the idiosyncrasies the car needs and Travis (Low, car engineer) is a quick study in putting those in place. It’s a real joy to drive here and see our cars go so well.”
Alex Job Racing also topped the time charts in GT Challenge with the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup turning a best lap of 1:27.684 (91.884 mph). Second in GTC was the No. 27 Tully’s Coffee Porsche for Dempsey Del Piero Racing at 1:27.936 (91.621 mph) the No. 30 MOMO Porsche from NGT Motorsport was third in class at 1:28.127 (91.423 mph).
Today’s race begins at 6:30 p.m. and television coverage of the race will be on Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.