American Le Mans Series is holding its annual Sebring Winter Test Monday through Wednesday in warm and breezy Florida. The temperatures have been in the mid seventies F. The test is being run on the long configuration of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn airport circuit – the oldest road course in America.

de Ferran Motorsports No.66 Acura ARX 02a
de Ferran Motorsports No.66 Acura ARX 02a LMP1 LAT Photo
Patron Highcroft Racing No.9 Acura ARX 02a LMP1  LAT Photo
Patron Highcroft Racing No.9 Acura ARX 02a LMP1 LAT Photo

SIMON PAGENAUD/No.66 de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX 02a was quickest both Monday and Tuesday. Monday’s time was 1:45.053/126.793 mph, set in the late afternoon. Tuesday he quickened the pace in the morning session, and ran 1:44.814/127.082 mph. The other P1 car, No.9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX 02a was third fastest overall, with DAVID BRABHAM behind the wheel.

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01B LMP2  LAT Photo
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01B LMP2 LAT Photo

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ/No.15 Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01B was the fastest P2 car both Monday and Tuesday. Monday his best time was 1:47.559/123.839 mph in the morning session, and Tuesday, it was during the first session that he set the quickest time of 1:46.540/125.023 – second overall.

The fastest GT2 driver on Monday was DARREN LAW/No.46 Flying Lizards Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, turning a 2:03.158/108.154 mph. Tuesday teammate JORG BERGMEISTER in No.45 Porsche was quickest at 2:01.866/109.300 mph. Flying Lizards has three cars entered and all five drivers are interchanging among the cars. Law said Tuesday afternoon that he was still sleepy after the weekend running of the Rolex 24 of Daytona. He drove in the winning car – No.58 Brumos Porsche Riley DP.

The three ALMS categories, totaling 14 cars, LMP1, LMP2, and GT2 were represented. There were no GT1 cars. Also testing this week are fifteen cars in the IMSA Lites Series – 14 in IMSA Lites 1, none in Lites 2, and one in Lites 3. Rounding out the program is the Star Mazda Series with 21 cars. The Pro car made its debut five years ago and this year is the first update.

A fifteenth car was on the ALMS Entry List-Team Falken No.17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, but is not on site. According to a Porsche spokesman, the car won’t be running. ALMS runs under ACO rules, which require an ambient temperature of 30 degrees C/86 F. Porsche spent $3 million trying to make it work without an air conditioner, but was not successful. So the 2009 ALMS Porsches have an air conditioner – which has made the factory drivers very happy. The Falken Team bought a 2008 car from another competitor, but it’s not up to the new rules and probably won’t compete this season.

The ACO made a “rules adjustment” for the LMP2 class, to provide a greater difference in the performance of the P1 and P2 classes. Basically three changes were made: add 50 kg/110 pounds, 10 percent bigger intake restrictor, and and add five mm/0.0196 inch wing width.

The P2 teams weren’t happy about the new rules. The Lowe’s Fernandez Team said its car is now three seconds a lap slower. It has been fastest in class as it’s the only P2 car running so far. A second P2 car, No.16 Dyson Racing Team Lola 08 86 Mazda, is on site and parked in its tent. It will run Wednesday during the final ALMS Winter Test day. Dyson Racing feels there is more to be gained by running all day rather than in segmented sessions. Thursday Acura is holding an all-day private test on the Sebring short course, and Dyson will be ‘piggybacking’ on the session.

Wednesday Winter Test concludes with three ALMS sessions