The new BMW Team RLL Z4 GTEs qualified eighth and ninth on the GT class grid for Saturday’s 12 Hours of Sebring. Maxime Martin qualified #55, decked out in frozen black for the race, in the eighth position, and Joey Hand qualified the white #56 car ninth.
It was the first qualifying session for the new cars; while both have been run in test sessions, neither has yet seen competition. Still, #55, qualifying at 1:59.736, was just nine tenths of a second off the pace of the pole-sitting Ferrari, which Gianmaria Bruni qualified in 1:58.815.
Team principal Bobby Rahal said, “We have worked really hard this week on preparing the car for the race, not so much for qualifying. The other cars in the field are far more developed, and the teams know them in and out. This is something which has a big impact on a track like Sebring. However, the gap to the front-runners isn’t too bad. We should be well-prepared for the race and have a reliable car. The whole team will go on pushing hard, and I’m quite optimistic for Saturday.”
Audi qualified its hybrid R18 e-tron quattro prototypes first and second overall. It is the last season for Audi and the P1 class; P1 cars will not run in the merged United SportsCar Racing series that will replace ALMS and Grand-Am in 2014.
The 2013 race begins at 10:45 AM on Saturday.—Brian S. MorganBack to News