Sebring 2005 - Friday Pictures

Michael Wales

Sebring 2005 - Speed World Challenge Races, ALMS practice, Autographs

First picture is of the Trenton Forging Pontiac GTO taking a practice hardship lap around the track. Stu Hayner had yet to get any real practice laps in the car (he took 1 hardship lap in the rain on the previous day).

The ALMS practice session was up next, and it was great. Really wish it was a qualifying session. I listened on my scanner (454.000 MHz) to the PA announcer to get the lap times. Guy Smith was consistently piloting his Dyson prototype around Sebring in practice faster than the Audis. Nobody has ever come close to the Audi's speed at Sebring in years, so this was quite the welcome surprise. Hopefully, this would lead to a great prototype battel on Saturday in the 12 hours.

GT1 was also a hoot. The Corvettes topped the speed charts, but the surprising part was that the C5-R from Pacific Coast Motorsports wedged himself inbetween the 3 and 4 factory C6-Rs on the speed chart. Ron Fellows was interviewed on the PA, and he was kinda surprised, but then also confirming that the C5-R is one fast vette. The Aston Martins looked fast as well, just behind the vette trio. The ACEMCO Saleen was quick too. The Nash Saleen, Carsport Viper, and Maserati were all pretty slow though.

Next up was the autograph session. I got autographs from the C5-R Pacific Coast Motorsports drivers. I went down and took pics of the factory vette drivers, but the line was huge, and I already got a bunch of autographs from them last year. Also went through and got autographs from a good portion of the Speed World Challenge drivers including notables Max Papis and Andy Pilgrim.

Finally came the Speed World Challenge GT race. Pilgrim had an awesome late race move by throwing his Cadillac on the inside of turn one, three-wide, to pass Lidell and Henzler and move from 4th to 2nd. Archer won the close and exciting race.

The Speed World Challenge touring car race was also a blast. I didn't get any pics of it. Altenburg crashed right in front of us on lap 1. He hit the wall pretty good, but then amazingly, just kept on going. Not only did he keep on going, he charged from the back of the pack all the way up to 3rd place grabbing himself a spot on the podium. Best drive of the entire weekend.

--- Article last updated: March 17, 2005 ---