Quotes After The Race
Johnny Herbert, Bentley #8: "It was difficult to start from the back of the grid, but it was a good opportunity to see how the car handles in traffic. We had a few problems with some minor damage, costing us time in the pits, otherwise the car ran faultlessly the whole way through. The pace of the car is there, we have some things to work on for Monday. I think we have an excellent base for Le Mans."
Mark Blundell, Bentley #8: "My Sebring was good preparation for Le Mans. I did not get much time in the car. Johnny and David did a great job to handle most of the driving. It was little difficult for me, I had shoulder surgery in December, so I am grateful to the guys for going the distance. I know Le Mans very well, I am looking forward to doing more miles in the car without the pressure of a race and look forward to Le Mans."
David Brabham, Bentley #8: "We came here as a test for Le Mans, the cars ran like clockwork all day long. I am looking forward to improving on the areas that need improving and go on to Le Mans in June. The Michelin tyres were great, they never seemed to go away. At Le Mans we will be a lot closer to the Audis, we have a lot of testing coming up to fine tune the car."
Tom Kristensen, Bentley #7: "Everything has been working really well. The car ran great, we were very unlucky with the early incident, apart from that it has been really good. The crew has done a great job. I have a lot of confidence in the car and the team. It would have been nice to have both cars on the podium, but this is an excellent start for Le Mans."
Rinaldo 'Dindo' Capello, Bentley #7: "I am very happy that we got both cars to the end, unfortunately we were only fourth. I am glad for the team, they did a very good job. We had some bad luck in the second hour when we lost seven minutes in the pits, but I enjoyed driving the Speed 8 tonight, the car is very fast and we set good laps times. But I was told to slow down to make sure we made it to the finish! I am now very optimistic about our chances for Le Mans."
Guy Smith, Bentley #7: "The car really ran well, we put a lot of miles in today, it has been a good test. I was unlucky and got caught up with a Porsche early in the race, he spun in front of me and I could not avoid him. There are lots of things we can improve on and I am a little rusty not having raced for a year. This race really motivates me to go on and keep improving the car for Le Mans."
John Wickham, team director: "We came here with only a couple of days testing in Europe and looked to this race as a continuation of our testing programme not having run the car for more than 30 minutes at any one time before coming to Sebring. Both Bentley Speed 8s have run faultlessly and we've learned a huge amount about the set-up, characteristics and overall reliability. Both car crews and mechanics have performed superbly working long, hard hours in the last nine days. This is just reward for their extensive efforts."
Brian Gush, Bentley motorsport director: "We came here to prove out our performance and reliability, so we've achieved what we came for. This has been a major step forward for Team Bentley, we showed our pace in qualifying and have now combined that with reliability in the race – exactly what we hoped for in preparation for Le Mans. We are particularly pleased with the performance of the Michelin tyres as they have lasted whole stints without going off, another major step forward for the Speed 8.
Sebring Race Results:
1. Biela/Werner/Peter Audi 367 Laps
2. Pirro/Lehto/Johansson Audi 367
3. Herbert/Brabham/Blundell Bentley 363
4. Kristensen/Capello/Smith Bentley 362
5. Beretta/Jeannette/Papis Panoz 352
6. Kane/McCarthy/Salo Audi 351
7. Theys/Leinhard/van de Poole Dallara 336
8. Fellows/O'Connell/Freon Corvette 332
9. Leuenberger/Graham/Maxwell Panoz 324
10. Luhr/Massen Porsche 320Published 18 March 2003