Pirelli Testing At Sebring Last Week
Pirelli shod teams were in Sebring last week for some more pre-race testing. Although torrential downpours on Tuesday and Wednesday hampered them severely, both American Spirit Racing and ACEMCO Racing were able to get some track time in. ACEMCO was one of the first teams to switch to the Pirelli tire and now ASR confirms that they will also use the Italian rubber for the 2004 ALMS season.

ASR was first to arrive and got some productive time in on Monday with the #10 Lola B2K / 40. Ian James and Jason Workman did the bulk of the driving, with Bobby Sak just getting a few laps in before the rains. This is the first test with the new, larger restrictor allowed for this season and Ian James commented that it was “a step forward in power” for the Nissan engine. The biggest improvement for the car seemed to be in the tires, as Pirelli had brought several new compounds, including a development tire from Europe. Ian James remarked that “the new soft compound tire was a significant improvement, at least 1.5 seconds a lap.” Jon Lewis was equally impressed with the tires and said that “the consistency was phenomenal, they just didn’t go off. The testing went well; unfortunately we were just cut short by the weather. We were able to get some basic setup work done.”

dailysportscar.comThe team has also filled the last two seats in their driving lineup. Mike Borkowski will join Ian James and Bob Macaluso and Scott Bradley will join Jason Workman and Bobby Sak in the #11 car. Jon Lewis: “We are really looking forward to Sebring and racing in P2 this year. We have two good teams that can compete for the win at every race. Last year we were just learning how to compete in endurance racing again: this year we have championship aspirations.”

The image on the right is Ian James' drive at Sebring last year: whatever happened to this entry in late 2003 / early 2004?

After a complete washout of the next two days, the ACEMCO Saleen hit the track on Thursday. The track was still wet in the morning and even though it did dry by the afternoon it was so green that proper tire testing was not going to be possible. Team Principle Jeff Giangrande: “We tried the new tires Pirelli brought, and they seem terrific, but we just didn’t have the time or a proper track to really test them or set the car up for them. We did manage to get some work done on aero setup and engine mapping. Brabs also got a few laps in the car, but not nearly as much as we would have liked. We are excited about what he brings to the team though. His poise and professionalism was obvious even in the short time working with us.”

The team will return to Sebring the week before the race to complete the testing left unfinished here last week. The Saleen surprised the Corvettes in 2001 at Sebring. There will be no surprise if the ACEMCO team does it this year, as their effort and commitment are very obvious.
Russell Wittenberg

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