|Expect this kind of close action in the GT class throughout the 12 Hours of Sebring|
GT – Grand Touring
GT – which used to be called GT2 – features production-based sportscars such as the Porsche GT3 RSR, Corvette C6.R, BMW M3, Ferrari F458 Italia, and Lotus Evora. The best racing in the ALMS in recent seasons has come from the GT class, and it is on par with the best GT-class racing around the world.
In 2011, it was the RLL BMW M3 of American Joey Hand and German Dirk Mueller that took the class championship on the strength of three victories to open the season. While the BMW's will continue to be strong, do not discount the factory Chevrolet effort, with their pair of Corvette C6.Rs.
|The no. 55 RLL BMW M3, during the ALMS Winter Test|
Of course, any GT class will feature Porsches. Porsche has reworked their RSR for 2012, featuring revised aerodynamics and a much wider front track. The Flying Lizards no. 44 Porsche of Patrick Long and Joerg Bergmeister can never be counted out, while the rapidly improving Falken Tires Porsche of Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler is now a legitimate contender after winning two races in 2011.
|Falken Motorsports' new no. 17 2012 Porsche GT3 RSR, during testing. It has since been painted the traditional Falken blue and teal colors|
With the Risi Competizione squad looking like they will forego competing this season, the Extreme Speed Motorsports team will be the head Ferrari squad in the ALMS. Their pair of distinctive Tequila Patron-sponsored Ferraris will be driven by an All American lineup of Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek, Guy Cosmo, and Ed Brown.
Although it will not be in Sebring, Alex Job Racing will debut a Lotus Evora in the GT class for Indy 500 veteran Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler. The car is scheduled to race for the first time at the series' second round at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
|Green Hornet Racing's no. 33 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup|
GTC – Grand Touring Challenge
GTC is a spec class for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. It is, essentially, a stepping stone for teams to enter the ALMS and endurance racing. Last year's championship winners and Sebring winners Black Swan Racing have moved up to P2.
The strongest of the teams are the no. 30 NGT Motorsport Porsche (Henrique Cisneros, Sean Edwards, Carlos Kauffmann) and the no. 34 Green Hornet Racing Porsche (Peter LeSaffre, Damien Faulkner, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen), but the pair of Alex Job Racing Porsches (no. 022 and no. 023), the no. 66 TRG Porsche (Spencer Pumpelly, Emilio Di Guida, Marc Bunting), and the no. 11 JDX Racing Porsche (Chris Cumming, Mark Bullitt, Michael Valiente) can be a threat for the class victory as well.
While all the teams are already in Sebring practicing, things get serious on Friday, March 16th, with qualifying. Qualifying can be seen live online at ESPN3.com, starting at 3:15 ET.
American Le Mans Series – www.americanlemans.com