PSR Comes to Sebring Classic

16 September 1998


Sebring, FL-September 15, 1998

Rounds 6, 7 and 8 of the Professional Sports Car Racing (PSR) season
will be conducted over the next five weeks. Round 6 is this week-end,
September 17-19, with the NAPA Auto Parts Sebring Classic.  The World
Sports Car (WSC) fight between Ferrari drivers' Wayne Taylor and Eric
van der Poele and Ford driver Butch Leitzinger continues on Saturday
as the WSC cars return to the fabled Sebring racetrack.  Taylor holds
a slim 1 point lead over his teammate ,van der Poele, and a five point
lead over defending WSC champion Leitzinger. With three races
remaining in the season it is anyone's guess as to who will
prevail. Last year, Leitzinger, withstood relentless challenges from
all corners and prevailed at the season-ending race at Laguna Seca. A
similar scenario could be in the makings for 1998.
 
For Leitzinger the question to be answered "Can he stay on the hot
streak?"  The defending champion has won the last three PSR WSC (Lime
Rock, Road Atlanta and Mosport) races and could easily be in line to
win at Sebring.  Unlike the 12-Hour Endurance in March, Saturday's
race will be a three hour sprint race. Wayne Taylor will be trying to
counter-punch any attempts on his current lead. The former WSC
Champion (1994 & 1996) switched teams last year and has shown that
consistent finishes combined with a couple of victories can lead to
another championship.

In GT-1 the Panoz team will once again try to win on their "Florida"
hometrack. The team not only wants to win it's division but an
outright over-all victory is also on the request line. It will be an
interesting development. The Panoz' main competition for the PSR and
USRRC series has been the Porsche GT1 of Champion Porsche. The team
won the 1998 USRRC Championship.

In GT2 and GT3 the continuation of the battle between BMW and Porsche
for supremacy wages on. Defending Driver's GT2 Champion, Larry
Schumacher can wrap up the championship this week-end with a
victory. In the manufacturer's battle BMW arrives with a four race
victory streak. None the less Porsche still maintains a 14 point lead
(114-100) with three races left.

In GT3 the story is the same 3 letters as it was in 1997-BMW. The only
remaining mystery is whom among the four BMW drivers will walk away
with the championship. Bill Auberlein, Mark Simo, Ross Bentley and
Peter Cunningham are separated by only 12 points. Like last year the
championship will probably not be decided until the last race at
Laguna Seca. Bill Auberlein, the defending GT3 Champion leads the pack
of four as they head into the Sebring week-end.

Once again the week-end will be another peek at what is in store for
1999.  The PSR/USRRC split has benefitted no one this year. Perhaps
the air will be cleared after the Petit Le Mans in October. TACH will
let you know immediately should any breaking news develop.

David Treffer -- The Auto Channel

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