ALMS wakes up to new day, 2004 is here
The month of January turns the State of Florida into the primary focal point of the
Sportscar Universe. Test Days and the Rolex 24 at Daytona International
Speedway are the high water mark but up in the Central Highlands the first
stirrings of the 2004 ALMS season can be observed. Preparations for the premier
sportscar race in North America, the 12 Hours of Sebring, are no less exacting
than of those for its distant cousin in Volusia County.
The driving force behind the testing processes is often the tyre companies whose
relentless quest for improvement never ceases. Pirelli are the first in 2004 to take
to the track at the old airfield. Robin Thompson - art-racing.com - engaged in his
own tyre test on the way to the circuit causing the long time voice of Pirelli in the
USA, Jack Gerken, to suggest Robin in the future shoes his Audi with PNeros
instead the low grade retreads from Uzbekistan that the rewards from this site
The test was a shakedown for the new equipped ACEMO team, proudly showing
off their new Saleen S7Rs, the first built in the USA for racing. Johnny Mowlem and
Terry Borcheller were on hand to pedal the Californian supercars. The team were
delighted with the test being comfortably under the GTS pole time for 2003 and
this while running an engine with only the first stages of 2004's development bits
Risi Competizione await their 2004 chassis but took the chance to see how the
engineers from Pirelli had improved the product in the few months since PLM. The
new car will arrive in time for the next test but regulars Ralf Kelleners and Anthony
Lazzaro put their familiar ride through the process of assessing compounds to get
a head start for mid March. The team were cagey when asked about 2005 but the
debut in Europe of the Maserati MCC will not have escaped their notice.
The third team present was the Hyper Sport with the Panoz Esperante who are
hoping for a better 2004 after what could only be described as a character building
time in 2003. A new car is on the way soon and the team anticipate solid results in
the races to come.
There will be another Pirelli test at Sebring towards the end of February when the
fresh war paint of these three teams will be revealed. We will be there.