With four days to build a new Lamborghini Huracàn GT3, the team will lead all Lamborghinis to the green flag in Saturday’s endurance classic
Sebring, Fla. (18 March 2017) – Earned experience paid an early dividend for Change Racing on Friday as Monster Energy athlete Corey Lewis put the lessons learned in his 2016 Sebring debut to good use as he qualified third on the grid for Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with a lap time of 2:00.967-seconds in the No. 16 Change Racing XBox Forza / Monster Energy / Orion Lamborghini Huracàn GT3.
That the team earned the top spot for a Lamborghini in the GT Daytona class was all that more impressive given the huge team effort that went into being ready to go this weekend.
After race-ending contact in January’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the team initiated efforts to repair the damage back at its Concord, N.C. shop only to discover that the damage was too severe to restore the car to race-prepared status.
A new chassis arrived at the race shop only last Friday. The team then executed their first complete build of a Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 and pulled into Sebring International Raceway with only 30 minutes to spare ahead of the the gates opening.
For Change Racing team principal Robby Benton, it was especially gratifying to see the crew members’ hard work pay off in qualifying, ahead of one of the most important races of the year.
“Everything came together at the right time, literally,” said Benton. “After a late delivery of the replacement chassis last Friday, we had quite a lot of work to do to get prepared for this race. We arrived just before the gates opened on Wednesday straight from our shop in North Carolina. The guys worked consecutive 18 hour days to get the car rebuilt. Throughout the week, the drivers worked hard to communicate the balance they were looking for and the engineers worked effectively to get the it for them. At the end of the day, the team showed they did a great job building the car up and preparing it. During qualifying, we had a clear run the whole time and Corey (Lewis) really stepped up and put the laps down, going fastest on his last lap. The team did a great job to get us qualified well, now we focus on the race. We were very good here last year, so I’m hopeful we can replicate that.”
Lewis, who will share driving duties with Dutchman Jeroen Mul and American Brett Sandberg in the team’s second-ever appearance in the Sebring event, was quick to focus attention on the team’s impressive work to put the Lamborghini back on track.
“It’s always nice being the top of the Lamborghini family,” said Lewis. “I cannot say enough what a great job the Change Racing team has done; they’ve worked so hard to get this car where it is now. Robby (Benton) has built quite the army and I’m proud to be a part of it. This qualifying result is a huge uplift that will hopefully carry us into what this race could be and should be. The car is the best it’s been all weekend and I think there’s more in there so I’m eager for the race. We managed the gaps during qualifying so I didn’t have any traffic and the laps just got faster and faster. It was a solid run and we’re happy to be in the top three, but it’s a long day tomorrow and anything can happen. Starting up front always helps and I have a lot of faith in the car, so it’s about getting through the first 10 hours so we can fight for the win in the final two. Our main focus is to bring the car back in one piece and to get the results for all of our sponsors and fans.”
For Mul, racing here for the first time has been an eye-opening experience. Working on a state-of-the-art simulator at Technical University of Delft in Holland cannot fully prepare a driver for the reality of Sebring.
“You can never replicate actually being on the track,” said Mul. “The simulator doesn’t move so these bumps are not something that you can prepare for – how it feels and how it shakes you about while you’re trying to keep your line through the corners. I needed to learn where I could trust the car or which corners I had to take more care on. The guys did a mega job to build the car and have it good right off the truck. We had some small bugs that you have to run the car to discover, but you expect those after a rebuild. It’s a long race with long stints, so I’ll be able to find my rhythm. The car is confidence-inspiring which makes our job much easier.”
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will take the green flag at 10:40 AM ET on Saturday with LIVE coverage on the FOX Sports Go app. Television coverage begins on FS1 at 12:30 PM ET.
2017 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring tune-in information
March 18, 2017 10:30 AM-11:00 PM ET FOX SPORTS GO APP
March 18, 2017 12:30 PM ET-11:00 PM ET FS1
SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2017
IMSA WeatherTech Championship Warm Up 8:00 AM to 8:20 AM EDT
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring 10:40 AM to 10:40 PM EDT
About: Change Racing is a team competing in the IMSA GT Daytona class, as well as the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series. We also provide trackside support, engineering and program management for other teams in various series throughout North America.
Founded by successful real estate developer and Lamborghini Carolinas CEO Eddie Littlefield, along with NASCAR team owner Robby Benton, the duo first joined forces to compete for the 2013 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series North American Championship in its inaugural year in North America.