In their first event of the 2013 season, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Greaves Motorsport finished in third place, taking a step on the podium of the LM P2 class. Christian Zugel, Eric Lux and Tom Kimber-Smith drove a hard and competitive race in the team’s Nissan powered Zytek prototype to get the Peterborough team’s season off to a fantastic start.
Lining up third on the grid Tom Kimber-Smith had an electric opening stint grabbing the lead within three laps and also setting the fastest lap during this time. Tom remained fighting for the top spot during the first two hours of the race. Eric Lux and Christian Zugel then took their turns at the wheel and maintained the challenge despite an aerodynamic issue that took the the final edge off the car’s performance. The trio ran consistently at speed until the sun went down, then the changing conditions favoured the Zytek and both Tom and Eric put in very fast stints but the opposition was too far ahead to catch before the Chequered Flag was shown after twelve hours of intense competition. The final result was third in LM P2 class and eighth overall completing a total of 342 laps, a distance of 1,280 miles, at an average speed of 108.59 miles per hour.
After the race the drivers reflected on a tough day behind the wheel.
Christian Zugel: “A podium finish at Sebring is fantastic and the team deserves huge credit as do my co-drivers. I have to admit that I was not at my best today and had I been a little quicker we might have had a better result. However it is very hard to compete against the high quality of of the drivers in the opposition, especially Level 5. We struggled somewhat during the middle of the race and for me it was particularly hard to get the maximum pace out of the car and my laps times were a little off my personal target. However the race was a great experience and Sebring and its fans are really special. As always with Greaves Motorsport, the car was immaculately prepared and the crew were fantastic, so I could not be more happy with the effort that everyone put in. Third place and a podium at Sebring is an awesome way to start the season.”
Eric Lux: “What an experience, it was great to be able to team up again with Christian and it was also fantastic to have the opportunity to drive with Tom, not everyday you get to partner with a three time winner at Le Mans, I think we worked really well as a team, Christian and I understand each other from our races in the past. Tom and I have similar driving styles, so we fed off each other and pushed each other to bring the car into a podium position. We perhaps lost our focus during the middle of the week, but by the time the race came round we were back right on the pace. I think everyone struggled during the mid-part of the race with the heat and the cars were not ideal. As soon as the sun set our Zytek came back to us but unfortunately it was a little too late. We were chasing down Level 5 but the gap was just too big to close in the time remaining. However the first result with the team in the first race of the year is a podium and you can’t ask for more than that. I would really like to thank the team who did a great job this weekend preparing a truly competitive car and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Tom Kimber-Smith: “We had a very strong race car at the beginning and I was really able to be competitive in the opening couple of stints. Then Eric took over and he did a fantastic job but when Christian got behind the wheel we struggled with a handling issue and he could not push as hard as he had planned. Then later, after the sun went down, the car came back to us but by then there was too much of a gap to hunt down and catch Level 5. It is always good to finish on the podium but I think we had a car with the potential to win. This of course is down to the hard work and skill of the team and I feel fortunate to be racing for a third season with Greaves Motorsport.”
Team Manger, Jacob Greaves, summed up:“We are pleased to achieve a podium finish, especially at Sebring, acknowledged as one of the toughest races on the calendar. The team worked very hard during the whole time here in Florida and the combination of Nissan power, Zytek chassis and Dunlop tyres gave us a really competitive package to race with. We have the FIA WEC Championship and European Le Mans Series campaigns kicking off next month and this result is a good springboard for the rest of the season.”