Sebring: Primetime Race Group race report
STRONG DEBUT FOR PRIMETIME IN THE SUNSHINE STATE Hollywood, Florida March 23nd 2010 - Primetime Race Group delivers a podium finish in the American Le Mans Series debut of the Oreca FLM09 Le Mans Challenge car at the 58th annual 12 Hours of ...
STRONG DEBUT FOR PRIMETIME IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
Hollywood, Florida March 23nd 2010 - Primetime Race Group delivers a podium finish in the American Le Mans Series debut of the Oreca FLM09 Le Mans Challenge car at the 58th annual 12 Hours of Sebring in the newly sponsored and liveried Braille Battery racing machine.
After a long anticipated move to the LMP category of the American Le Mans, Primetime is already writing new chapters in the record books. The team arrived to Sebring Florida 6 days prior to race day in preparation for the start of the 2010 season. Testing began on Tuesday for team drivers Joel Feinberg, Kyle Marcelli, and gentleman driver Tom Weickardt who would join the team as the third driver for the 12 hours. As expected at the start of every new season, glitches needed addressing across the paddock, teams needed to shake off the dust from the winter, and it would be some time before the days would start to flow with consistency.
As usual, Primetime would do what they do best and fight through adversity; in this case it would be the task of running a brand new car that had never turned a race lap on US soil. The Oreca built FLM09 had been adopted by the American Le Mans Series after a successful season of sprint racing in conjunction with the European Le Mans Series and would now be put to the test of endurance racing in American Le Mans.
Five teams would step up and attempt to saddle the new stallion, a highly unforgiving task of determining whether the car could actually handle a 12 hour race would lie ahead. Sebring is historically known for being the most abusive road circuit in the world and would either make or break the addition of the new FLM09. Throughout the pre race practice sessions Primetime along with every team on the grid would battle with limited track time due to repeated closed course conditions for on track incidents that would cut practices by nearly half making it more than difficult to hone in on a race setup.
Leading up to qualifying, Primetime would suffer a substantial setback after an incident where the car needed to be towed off track and in the process severe damage was caused to the chassis resulting in a 14 hour repair to the carbon fiber monocoque which would keep the team from making it out for the qualifying session. None the less, with a twelve hour race ahead of them the team would keep their eyes looking ahead on the big picture and get the car back in order just prior to the race.
Team owner and multiple 2009 drivers champion Joel Feinberg would take the honours of the green flag start and pilot the #11 car until the first scheduled pit stop. At 53 minutes into the race, just one lap prior to a fuel stop, an electrical glitch had forced the cars computer to apply 70% throttle sending Feinberg as a passenger into a tire wall barrier in turn three causing severe damage that would require nearly 3 hours of repair at the teams trailer. The dedicated Primetime crew would once again rally to get the car back on track.
Once repaired and back on track, co-driver Kyle Marcelli would take the reins and begin what would be a double stint behind the wheel in hopes of turning fast laps and keeping the car out of the pits. Marcelli had set a consistent pace for himself during his 1 hour and 57 minute stint while running times as quick as or quicker than the class leaders before handing it over to Tom Weickardt who would then also pilot the car for a double stint of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
The Primetime crew continued running flawlessly for the remainder of the race with Feinberg in for another stint of 2 hours and 24 minutes and Marcelli running the final 1 hour and 57 minutes to the finish and taking the checkered in P3 of the Challenge class for the teams first of many 2010 ALMS podium finishes.
Joel Feinberg, Team Owner - I am tremendously pleased with the way our team worked this week, as always, Primetime is never done. We work to the end and never give up, in endurance racing anything can happen and you always need to be thinking ahead. Having Kyle in the car with us has been a great addition to the team and I foresee lots of great results for us throughout the season. The addition of Braille Battery as our title team partner has been a great experience. Braille owner Blake Fuller, his staff, and his product are truly success in the making. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship together.
Kyle Marcelli, Co-Driver - This was a very emotional weekend for me. So much hard work has been put in to get to this point. Joel and the entire Primetime Race Group has made me feel right at home taking me under their wing and I cant thank them enough. We all have the same goals, passion and work ethic which I know is going to lead us to many more podium finishes and race wins. Overall Sebring was a successful weekend and I'm confident that we are only going to continue to grow and achieve more success as the season progresses.
Brent O'Neill, Team Manager - Having run this race under the Primetime banner for the past three years, I can honestly say that this has been the most exciting one yet. Being a racer myself, I have seen everything from all sides and have experienced the highs and lows of endurance racing. We had a winning car this time and just got caught out with something that would have never been a thought. I have to take my hat off to my crew for their commitment to getting the job done, not one person under our awning wasn't giving it 110% when we needed them. Great job guys!
Blake Fuller, Braille Battery - History of the Sebring 12hr race shows that great drivers need a great team to not only finish, but to be a true contender. The inaugural 12 hr race for the LMPC class shows that the Braille Battery/ Primetime racing team are going to be a real threat in this season championship. The determination of the team to win is evidence in how they recovered from a catastrophic first hour (a flat and contact with the wall) and climbed back to a podium position all within 12 hours!
The team is now back in South Florida preparing for the west coast swing and round two of the American Le Mans Series in the streets of Long Beach for the Tequila Patron Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17th with tape delayed coverage on SPEED TV at 8pm EST.
The Primetime duo of Feinberg and Marcelli will pilot the #11 LMPC car for what will be the shortest race of the season consisting of 1 hour and 40 minutes in the downtown streets of Long Beach, one of the most exciting and fan filled venues on the circuit.
-source: primetime race group