Herbert gets first taste of Sears

Johnny Herbert says he is impressed by the Sears Point circuit where he will make his American Le Mans Series debut this weekend, likening it to Oulton Park - one of Britain's most challenging venues

Herbert gets first taste of Sears

The former F1 star experienced his first laps of the Californian venue behind the wheel of Champion Audi's S4 Speedvision GT car on Wednesday. Herbert partners Andy Wallace in Champion's Audi R8 sportscar for Sunday's X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma.

"The track is good," he said. "You have to be [high] up on your seat, the one I had was very low and that makes it difficult to see over the brows. This circuit has a nice technical flow, which reminds me of Oulton Park back home. I also like the nice combination of high and medium speed corners like the Esses. It can be tricky here with the brows, trying to guess where the turn in for the corner will fall."

The Essex star, who is no stranger to sportscars, says he already has something over one of his main rivals: "I am one up on factory driver Tom Kristensen. I have driven laps in a saloon car and he has only driven around here with [sportscar legend] Hans Stuck."

Herbert, who has never driven a production-based racer like the Audi S4 Competition before, said of his experience: "I thought it was tough to drive at first and then I was able to get some heat in the tyres and it was really fun. This is the very first time I have ever driven a proper saloon car. I was following Michael Galati [the car's regular driver] around, which was fun."

His team mate Wallace says he is looking forward to sharing with Herbert for the first time this weekend.

"We both won the British Formula 3 Championship, won at Le Mans and raced against each other in Formula 3 and Formula 3000," said Wallace. "Johnny went on to greater things in Formula 1, whereas I missed out on a career at the highest level in single-seaters.

"I've a lot of respect of for what Johnny achieved in F1 and am very pleased to be driving alongside him as opposed to against him on this occasion. We'll have a fight on our hands on Sunday as we'll be driving a year-old Audi against two of the very latest R8s entered by the Audi factory."

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