CORVETTE DPs AT SEBRING: Bourdais Puts Action Express on Pole
Momentum continues following season-opening Rolex 24 victory
SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2014) – Sebastien Bourdais delivered a second straight pole position for the Corvette Daytona Prototype on Friday with the fastest lap in qualifying for the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. Bourdais posted a lap of 1:51.917 (120.303 mph) in Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Corvette DP that he shares with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.
The trio opened the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season with a victory at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, leading a sweep of the top four overall positions for Chevrolet. Barbosa, Fittipaldi and Bourdais are seeking to become the first drivers to win at Daytona and Sebring in the same season since 1998.
“The Prototype qualifying session today was a great example of how difficult conditions at Sebring can be,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Program Manager for Daytona Prototypes. “Congratulations to Sebastien and Action Express Racing on the overall pole position for the 12 Hours. The track characteristics changed from this morning practice due to the different types of rubber on the racing surface and the windy conditions. It was not easy to take all this into account and deliver a strong lap.”
Bourdais was 0.169 seconds quicker than the next-fastest driver in qualifying: Oak Racing’s Olivier Pla. Ricky Taylor qualified third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP with a time of 1:52.544 (119.633 mph). He will drive with brother Jordan and Max Angelelli as the two Corvette DPs will line up nose-to-tail for Saturday’s 10:30 a.m. green flag.
The Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP finished second at the Rolex 24. Four Corvette DPs qualified in the top-10 on Friday at Sebring, where Daytona Prototypes are competing for the first time.
Television coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be available live on FOX Sports 1from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET with the remainder of the race airing live on IMSA.com. FOX Sports 1 also will air a three-hour recap at 8:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, March 16.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRES RACING CORVETTE DP
“It was a great qualifying for us. We didn’t exactly know where we were going to be. This morning, you couldn’t put a lap together; traffic has been a big difficulty because it’s hard to get a read on the car since you can do three corners on the line. It’s tough to know exactly the balance of the car and how to get in a rhythm. It’s not like it will be any easier tomorrow. At least we got a definite read on how the car is in qualifying because you could string a few laps together and that gives you a good feel for it. I guess we are pretty spot on because there was a bit of an issue with oversteer but overall the car was enjoyable to drive. I took my time and strung a few laps together. By the end of it, the car was pretty optimized. I gave it another shot on the last lap but overdid it a little bit. I’m very happy for the Action Express team and Chevrolet. It’s a great way to start after Daytona. Hopefully we can keep that kind of pace throughout the day tomorrow. Obviously qualifying doesn’t mean much in a 12-hour race. We will reset the counters tomorrow and see where we end up.
“A lot of guys made mistakes before they even banked a lap, which is unusual. But it’s a good sign of how tricky the conditions are. When the wind is like this at Sebring, you get a double-faced car; it goes from oversteer to understeer as soon as you turn the car around. These DP cars are very sensitive to the wind and to traffic, which makes things quite interesting behind the wheel. It should be quite close tomorrow.”
RICKY TAYLOR, NO. 10 WAYNE TAYLOR RACING CORVETTE DP
“Through practice, we never knew where we really were because of traffic. The last session, we ended up quite far in the back but I think this proves we have a really good car. Now, we have a good picture of where everybody is. We obviously have work to do to catch the No. 5, but I think with the three drivers we have in our car – and having the best team on the pit lane – we’re good even through we’re third in speed in qualifying. “It’s definitely been a cool day. It’s hard to believe three hours ago I was sitting in Dad’s (Sebring International Raceway) Hall of Fame induction ceremony, thinking about qualifying. He’s had a pole here and he’s not stopped rubbing that in my face, so I had that carrot dangling in front of me during qualifying. Obviously, the team did a good job and gave me a good car. I’m really looking forward to racing here tomorrow in these cars for the first time.”