I hope you enjoyed our first race of the 2012 season, and I have to say thanks to everyone who posted on Twitter and Facebook in support of our run at the Twelve Hours of Sebring. We had a great start to our program with a podium finish. This race is truly a test of endurance on an extremely bumpy circuit. To come out of the box and not only finish but finish in the top three is truly a testament to the commitment and dedication of everyone on the Aston Martin Racing team. The #97 Loweâ€™s Vantage GTE ran flawlessly, and it was an honor to be on the podium for the 60th running of this great race.
As I mentioned before, I was very optimistic heading into the event after a great test at Road Atlanta the week before the race. Stefan MÃ¼cke handled qualifying duties and we started fourth among the FIA World Endurance Challenge competitors and ninth overall out of 23 GTE entries.
I did not have a lot of miles in a GTE car going into the race, but I was pleased with the progress I was making on my learning curve and have to give a lot of credit to my teammates Stefan and Darren Turner for their help. Obviously the race was really intense with over 60 entries in total, and I felt I drove a good race for my first GTE event.
We did have one issue during the race when we lost the left-rear wheel while Stefan was driving. By the time the car was brought back to the pits and repairs were made, we lost around 25 minutes. Even with that delay, we ended up third in the WEC and ninth overall which is not a bad way to start the year.
I have not heard any attendance figures but the crowd on hand for this yearâ€™s race was fantastic â€“ the best I have seen in all my years of competing at Sebring. The fans are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and this event just seems to get better and better.
After the race, we stayed in Sebring for two days of testing including more 12-hour simulation runs. It was quite a workout for all of us, but it was a great two days and I really benefitted from the tremendous amount of seat time.
Next up is one of my favorite events on the schedule, the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14, where we run with the IZOD IndyCar Series. It is another race with a tremendous atmosphere and huge crowds. The last time we raced at Long Beach in 2010, we were on the pole and finished second, so I have my fingers crossed for more good results next month.
Thank you for your support,