Sweedler, Keen and Wong ready GTC 2011

Alex Job Racing (AJR) had a very successful pre-season test at Sebring. Drivers Bill Sweedler, Leh Keen and Brian Wong exercised their No. 23 Battery Tender/Alex Job Racing/Porsche GT3 Cup car at the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron sanctioned test this past Wednesday and Thursday.

The test was an opportunity for the team to put their brand new 2011 Porsche GT3 Cup on the track for the first time. In addition it was a time for teammates Sweedler, Keen and Wong to get to know each other and the Sebring International Raceway.

“It was good to shake down the new GTC Porsche and see everyone from the Alex Job Racing team during the Sebring test,” Sweedler said. “The GTC competition will be even more exciting than last year. The top competitors are back and there are some strong new teams joining the series. I’m excited to work with my new teammates Leh and Brian. We had a successful test and felt the Yokohama tires were a great combination for our set-up again for 2011. Alex Job Racing will be strong contenders going into the Sebring 12-hour. Alex is so thorough when it comes to preparing for endurance events and I’m thrilled to be back in my second season with AJR.”

Keen started where he left off almost a year ago. The South Carolina resident was fast and is looking to defend his win with the team from last year.

“It was great to be back in Alex’s car,” Keen said. “I only ran the Yokohama last year during the race so it was good to get back on it and learn it even more. We progressed with the car quite a bit the first day and got to where we wanted to be with a good baseline set-up. Brian and Bill did a great job in the car and I am looking forward to the race weekend. We will just fine-tune the car a little more and go racing. Considering our results last year, we are the team to beat. The field this year is strong with many good teams and drivers. It should be a great race. I worked on the set-up of the car to make it fast, yet comfortable to drive in a 12-hour race. We had good speed and were top three in every session we ran.

Last year was Wong’s first time racing at Sebring. At the test he took his first laps at the famed circuit behind the wheel of an AJR prepared Porsche GT3 Cup car.

“The test at Sebring was really good for me,” Wong said. “I had only been there once before and that was last year for the ALMS race driving a LMPC car. This was my first time at Sebring in a Porsche Cup car, so it was a really good learning experience. The track felt really different in a Porsche. I tried to throw away everything I learned in the LMPC car and start fresh with the Cup car. Learning a new track like Sebring can sometimes be difficult, but there was a lot of track time to get adjusted. My teammates, as well as the entire AJR team, did a great job getting me up to speed. I think our team is in really good shape for the race. AJR are the defending champions of Sebring in GTC, so I know we will be prepared and I know that we will come back to the race with a really good car. The team is very strong and has a lot of experience with not only Porsches and Sebring, but endurance racing as well. I spent a lot of the test just trying to work on getting myself comfortable in the car. Sebring is a very difficult race track, and it takes a lot of laps to dial it in. I know that the race pace will be a lot slower, so it was very important to me to get myself comfortable driving the race track as well as the car. I know that the more comfortable I get, the longer I will be able to drive the car, and at the end of the day improve my lap times. I have always wanted to drive for AJR. Alex and I have been trying to put something together for the last couple of years. From the outside, I always looked at AJR as a very professional team. Now that I was able to spend a couple of days with the team during the test, professional is exactly what they are. Every crew member did a great job.”

Team owner Alex Job is pleased with the way team progressed throughout the three days of testing.

“We had a few goals for the three-day test,” Job said. “First, we wanted to make sure our preparation on our new 2011 Porsche was where it should be. Second, we wanted to get Bill, Leh and Brian together as a team and see where we are at with team chemistry as well as with the likes and dislikes of car set-up. We also wanted to get some of the cob webs out and get some laps at Sebring. We were able to get a good baseline set-up on the car, so when we unload here in a month we are ready to go. The guys all got along really well and we were able to run in the top three in GTC every time out. I am happy with the progress and where the team is at heading into the 12-hour.

The ALMS series will start its season on March 19 with the running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

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