Filipe Albuquerque: “12 hours at Sebring feels like 24!”
Following their win at the recent Lone Star Le Mans, United Autosports currently lead the overall LMP2 standings with three rounds of the 2019 – 2020 FIA World Endurance Championship still remaining.
Despite a tricky start to Season 8, team driver Filipe Albuquerque is confident that the team will be able to maintain their recent run of good form when the squad travel to Sebring in just over one week’s time for the 1000 Miles of Sebring.
“The evolution with the ORECA was straightforward and we were competitive from the beginning. We found some electrical issues that was nobody’s fault, just a bit unlucky,” explained Portugal’s Albuquerque. “Then we had a chain of events that set us back and not scoring the results we had wanted. The win we had in Bahrain [and CoTA] was a matter of time. We knew we had the potential - the team was doing everything right and I think there are still more wins to come. We are always evolving.”
The race at Sebring is new to United Autosports as a team but Albuqerque has competed at the track multiple times and is confident that the Anglo-American squad will perform to the best of its abilities.
“Sebring, Spa and Le Mans are obviously the three hardest races in the calendar but I think we are the favourites,” confirmed the 34-year-old. “For sure, with Sebring we have to learn about it – some of the teams drove there last year but I will use my experience [from Action Express]. Of course, I know Sebring very well which will help and the track should suit the ORECA well.”
Sebring is known for testing both man and machine to the limit and Albuquerque admitted that the fact he is on double duty for SuperSebring will add an extra challenge in terms of the levels of fitness required.
“The bumps mess with your fitness and concentration - you are literally shaking inside the cockpit. Twelve hours at Sebring is like 24 hours at another track! With all the bumps and vibrations, pieces inside the car get loose and the cars need to be really well prepared.
“I will be jumping inbetween the cars – adapting between the ORECA, then to the Dallara from one session to the next. I will see how it goes but I have managed this well in my career so far – from DTM, to GT and other formulas. I am a fast learner and comfortable with different machinery.”
Albuquerque concluded: “It’s important to win at home in America - for the teams and for the sponsors. It’s also important to win the big races and Sebring is one of the top three endurance races in the world that you want to have on your CV [Daytona, Le Mans and Sebring]. Winning at Sebring speaks for itself. It’s a highlight of the year and more points are available here so to get that advantage is huge.”