Bathgate’s Marino Franchitti heads into this weekend’s Sebring 12-Hour race, the opening round of the American Le Mans Series, as fastest LMP2 driver and fourth-fastest overall in his new Highcroft Honda ARX-01c.
The 30-year-old Scot, partnered by Aussie David Brabham and Frenchman Simon Pagenaud for the 12-hour endurance race, lapped the bumpy 3.7-mile Florida circuit in 1min 48.711secs, just 0.531s off the third-placed LMP1 Aston Martin.
“We’ve tested very well and everything is in place to mount a sustained challenge this weekend,” Franchitti, who scored two LMP2 victories for Dyson Racing in the ALMS last season and second in the 12-hour race two years ago, said today.
“Everybody feels great. The team is as well prepared as any team I have ever seen at the start of the season. The car itself is in great shape and we’re really happy with the balance of the car.
“We have a car which suits all conditions which is very important here at Sebring. It’s great to come back with a proven package were we are concentrating on performance. I’m confident, given the car’s pace and reliability, we’ll be pushing for the win.”
Franchitti’s optimism though — his Honda was more than two seconds quicker then the closest rival LMP2 car — was in stark contrast to the position of fellow Scot Ryan Dalziel.
The Wishaw 27-year-old’s GT2 Jaguar was forced to sit-out the final test session after in suffered an engine failure. The two Peugeots of Marc Gene and Pedro Lamy topped the timesheets, Gene being quickest with a best of 1m45.494s.