Going into Sebring, it was my second time in the LMP3 car. I had high expectations for my performance. The other drivers ranged from gentleman, pro and young and reasonably fast drivers. Most importantly, the car felt great during the test.
My pace during the first practice session was strong. The car was great and I able to find more and more speed as the session progressed. I finished the session 4 tenths behind Pato O’ Ward, who was in P1. I was very pleased with the result and felt confident about my next time in the car. My teammate would be driving during the second practice session and qualified the car - I wouldn’t get in the car until my stint in the race.
After my teammate qualified the car in P4, we were confident that we'd end on the podium. However, we still needed 4 to 5 tenths a lap to keep up with the Norma’s (the other chassis) pace. We decided to go for the win rather than play it safe and made some pretty big changes at the car, looking to gain that half a second.
My teammate did a great job during the first half of the race and handed the car off to me in P3, with a significant gap behind him. Because one of the Norma’s had a problem, our sister car was sitting P2. The data from practice meant that I was about a second a lap faster, so I was pushing hard. During my stint, from the moment I left the pits the car was unbelievably unpredictable and just wanted to spin me. I couldn’t brake deep, couldn’t get back to power and at turn in the car would snap, oversteer or just understeer like crazy. It was so crazy I was 2 and a half seconds off my practice lap. Along with spinning and going off on the exit of turn 1.
Every corner was killing my confidence. It was the first time I was scared and I just wanted to get out of the car.
Long story short after looking like a wanker falling to P8 and spinning. We brought the car back to the tent and when we jacked it up the RR corner on the car just fell to the ground. After looking at the suspension the bolt that holds an A arm to the rocker was completely missing and was just sliding around in the socket. (Sebring bumps strike again) I went from being a wanker to a hero for somehow not crashing the car.
Overall was a great learning experience and so many new variables I had to deal with. It wasn’t the results I wanted either but the team and everyone there were impressed by my pace. Really looking forward to Barber and a track that is not insanely bumpy.