SEBRING, Fla. (March 22, 2015) – Daytona Beach based Visit Florida Racing finished third in a Chevrolet Corvette DP sweep of the podium in America’s oldest sports car race, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
After beginning the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with a third place finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Visit Florida Racing made the journey south to historic Sebring Raceway with another strong run in mind. The trio of Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiante and Mike Rockenfeller showed right away their Chevrolet Corvette DP would be one of the cars to beat in the once-around-the-clock endurance battle.
The team showed impressive speed throughout the weekend, much of which was attributed to their successful test session the week prior. The team qualified sixth for the race and wasted no time charging to the front in the early going.
The team battled throughout the afternoon surviving the physical toll from the bright Florida sunshine and nearly 90 degree ambient temperatures; in-car temperatures likely exceeded 120 degrees for most of the event. The team made critical adjustments at the right times to keep the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com Chevrolet Corvette DP in contention until the very end of the race.
When asked about his team’s quick start to the 2015 championship, driver Richard Westbrook was extremely pleased.
“It was really good to get a second podium finish this year,” said Westbrook. “I believe that will put us in second place in the TUDOR Championship and it’s a solid start to the year. I think on that last pit stop we had an issue with the air jack and that dropped us to fourth position and I had to have a lovely fight with Scott (Dixon) for the third position. He’s a tremendous competitor and in the end it was a fair fight and we were able to prevail.”
Westbrook’s full time co-driver Michael Valiante gave credit to the team and Richard on his final drive.
“Richard did an amazing job brining us back from that jack failure we had,” said Valiante. “The team was able to get better all weekend and we survived the heat and the mechanical stress this track puts on a car and brought home a great podium finish. Our ECR engines ran great all weekend and we had tremendous power, so we’ll take a few lessons from this race and collectively get stronger as a group going to long beach.”
The team was part of an all Chevrolet DP podium sweep, something that Troy Flis feels is indicative of the strong support from the Detroit based manufacturer.
“All the Chevrolet powered teams came to Sebring with the intention and desire to be the first to win in over 50 years,” said Flis. “We fell just a little bit short today but what an honor to be apart of a Corvette DP podium sweep. It takes a team effort, and that’s everyone from Chevrolet, Pratt & Miller, Earnhardt Childress Racing engines and Jim Campbell for supporting our teams on and off the track.
“We learned some things today that will help us for the rest of the season and we’re really happy to have another solid points day. Positioning ourselves for the title run early was important and we’ve done that with back to back third place finishes to start the year.”
With the finish, Visit Florida Racing unofficially moves into second position in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship standings as the series competes next at the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 18.
# # #