Alex Job Racing (AJR) will take the start of today’s American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Presented by Tequila Patron Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race from the first, second and third positions on the GTC grid.
Having been absent from ALMS competition since 2006, Alex Job Racing has returned the series in a big way taking the top three starting positions in their Porsches.
Leh Keen drove the No. 81 Mission Foods/Alex Job Racing/Porsche GT3 911 Cup to the pole with a time of 2:05.959 and an average speed of 106 mph. Keen was followed by Patrick Kelly in the No. 80 Car Amigo/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with a time of 2:07.018. Third in qualifying went to AJR’s Romeo Kapudija in the No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron/Alex Job Racing/Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with a time of 2:07.205.
Keen and teammates Butch Leitzinger and Juan Gonzalez were able to get up to speed very quickly since arriving on Monday. The team had the No. 81 Mission Foods entry toward the top or at the top of the GTC class time sheet nearly every session. The pole time was a natural for Keen, who is the Porsche Club track record holder in a GT3 car at Sebring.
“It was a great lap,” Keen said. “We wanted to go out fast and get our two fast laps in and we did. I nailed all of the brake zones and drove my line and it came together for me. Greg (Fordahl) our engineer put a great set-up on the car. It was really a one lap wonder. I got everything out of the car early and was able to get the pole. I have never done the 12-hour before, I did Petit Le Mans a couple of years ago. The car is going to have more of a race set-up on it. We look at this race more like a 24 hour, just cut in half. I am driving with Butch Leitzinger who has a lot of races here under his belt. I have been able to help Butch with the nuances of driving the Porsche. He is a pro and he got right on pace quickly. Juan is very solid behind the wheel and we are looking to have a very good race tomorrow.”
Kelly in the No. 80 Car Amigo entry showed consistent speed all week. Running with Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez, the Minnesota resident will start the race next to his teammate on the front row of the GTC grid.
“I had to make a couple passes during qualifying, that may have held me up a few tenths,” Kelly said. “You never how many laps in qualifying you will get and never know how the tires will hold up. The car felt great, the track conditions were really good. The slight loses I had were three or four tenths at best. Every time I have gotten in the car this week the AJR guys have made it better. I am ready to go with Luis and Ricardo tomorrow.”
Kaupudija in the No. 23 Battery Tender/Tequila Patron car showed huge improvement in the qualifying session. The Chicago resident bettered his fastest practice time by nearly two seconds and will start the 12-hour third in GTC. Kapudija is partnered with Bill Sweedler and Jan-Dirk Lueders.
“I improved a lot in qualifying, which I am really excited about,” Kapudija said. “I picked up a couple of seconds. I knew I had it in me and that the car would perform. Pat Kelly and I went out together and he drafted by me into Turn One. That was OK because that gave me someone to chase and I think really helped my qualifying effort. We are really happy with a third place start and the team is one-two-three.”
Team owner Alex Job has his three cars leading the GTC class to the green.
“It was a great qualifying session for us,” Job said. “It is nice to come back to the series and make a little statement with all three of our entries at the front of the GTC grid. It is a testament to our crew and the drivers as well as the work we have put in over the past month. The only problem we’ve had all week is when the No. 23 had an incident in Turn 17 on Wednesday. The guys were able to get the car back together and didn’t miss a beat. Other than that the drivers have all gotten up to speed very quickly and have provided great feedback so we could make the cars faster. We have a nice mix of endurance experience and speed, which is what you want here at Sebring.”
The race will be televised in two segments live on the SPEED Channel starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 20 and running until 12:00 p.m. SPEED will rejoin the action live at 2:00 p.m. and broadcast through post race interviews signing off at 11:00 p.m. Live coverage also will be available on American Le Mans Radio, as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 245. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much more is available at www.americanlemans.com.
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in ALMS history with 37 wins. This record is supported by 45 pole positions and 75 podium finishes. The team has won three championships (GT in 2002, 2003 and 2004) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts six Sebring 12 hour wins.
The ALMS GTC category is specific to one of the most popular factory produced racing cars in the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Developed for Porsche’s one-make series around the world, the new version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is based on the road-going 911 GT3 RS. The power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup is largely identical to the production engine of the 911 GT3 RS with the same output of 450 bhp and the same maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm.
Mission Foods (81)
Based in Irving, Texas, Mission Foods was established in 1949. Mission Foods is one of the world’s largest tortilla, flatbread and corn flour producers and is engaged primarily in the production, marketing, distribution and sale of tortillas, chips, wraps, flat breads corn and wheat flour. For more information reference www.missionfoods.com.
Battery Tender (23)
In 1999, Deltran introduced the Battery Tender Plus into the marketplace. The main reason was that many more AGM style lead acid batteries were being used in a variety of power sports engine start applications. Each and every Deltran Battery Tender Battery Charger® regardless of its size is programmed with a microprocessor that will correctly charge a battery then automatically switch to a maintenance/float mode. Refer to www.batterytender.com for more information.
Simply Perfect in every way, Patrón tequila is an ultra-premium luxury white spirit that’s delicious on the rocks, and mixes flawlessly into most any cocktail. From the highest-quality Weber Blue agave plants grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, to the centuries-old distillation process, to the signed, handcrafted glass bottles, Patrón is produced with unparalleled attention to detail. Imported and marketed by The Patrón Spirits Company, brands in the portfolio consist of Gran Patrón Burdeos, Gran Patrón Platinum, Patrón Silver, Patrón Reposado, Patrón Añejo, Patrón XO Cafe (tequila and coffee liqueur), and Patrón Citrónge (extra-fine orange liqueur), as well as Pyrat Caribbean rums, and Ultimat ultra-premium vodka. For more information, please visit www.patronspirits.com.
Car Amigo (80)
Car Amigo is a motorsport restoration and preparation business specializing in restoring racing, muscle and historic cars. This Dallas, Texas based company offers complete rebuilds and custom fabrication as well as consignment and sales of history’s finest automobiles, www.caramigo.com.
IDN Business Consulting (80)
IDN Business Consulting was born with the mission of designing and implementing fiscal strategies that allow companies a better development and resource management. IDN is made up of a professional, highly capable crew, where innovation, pro-activity and service quality is the base of our competitive ideology. At IDN Business Consulting the legal, fiscal safety and tranquility of our clients is guaranteed. This is based upon the objective of searching the development of innovative solutions that bring measurable and real business results. This has made IDN a market leader in Mexico. IDN has an extensive portfolio of solutions that bring solid savings and benefits to your company. IDN is the only fiscal law firm in Mexico that brings to you, wherever you are, whatever you do, these exclusive benefits.
Cooper Gay (80)
Cooper Gay is one of the world’s largest privately owned Insurance and Reinsurance Broking Groups, headquartered in the City of London. Cooper Gay operates for clients in four broad segments: corporate organizations, retail brokers, professional reinsurance buyers and captive insurance companies. The Cooper Gay network extends from the Americas to Asia, Europe and Australasia. Offering a wealth of broking talent and customer support in our chosen business sectors, this translates into specialist insurance and reinsurance solutions in every risk area.
Rainmaker Group (80)
The Rainmaker Group of independent companies has an international reach focused on providing integral measurement, preventive, and risk management solutions. “Integrity is Power”. Through this philosophy we lead our clients in the understanding and management of their risk needs. Areas of expertise include – risk transfer mechanisms, actuary analysis, design of prevention plans, and management of international risk transfer programs
Courtesy ALMS © RIF