-- ---. Photo: American Le Mans Series

INDIANAPOLIS (December 23, 2000) -- All across the United States, fans of motorsports are enduring the annual drought of live racing competition that is brought on by the onset of the winter offseason.

Most diehard race fans make it through the offseason by watching tapes of their favorite events and looking forward to the resumption of their favorite sport in the new year.

The American Le Mans Series is offering a better solution: a real racing event that American race fans can watch without already having seen it before.

After 11 races, including nine in North America and two in Europe, the ALMS will bring down the curtain on its second year with its season finale in Adelaide, Australia, on Sunday, Dec. 31.

The Race of a Thousand Years will be held on the famed Adelaide street circuit, the former home of the Australian Formula One event. The six-hour sports car endurance race will end two hours prior to a spectacular New Year's celebration in the South Australian port city.

In the United States, race-starved fans will be able to watch the action on NBC Sports at 2 p.m. (Eastern time) on Dec. 31 in same-day coverage. Adelaide is 15.5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time.

Scotland's Allan McNish is poised to become the 2000 American Le Mans Series champion. The driver of the powerful Audi R8 Prototype basically only has to compete in the Adelaide race to become the driving champion of the series. He will co-drive with Rinaldo Capello in the event.

The same honor awaits GTS class leader Olivier Beretta of Monaco, who has driven the smooth-handling Dodge Viper to class victory in eight of the 11 races held this season for the ALMS. Beretta and co-driver Karl Wendlinger will once again be the team to beat at Adelaide.

In the GT class, the championship picture is not quite as clear. Porsche pilots Bob Wollek, Sascha Maassen, Lucas Luhr and Dirk Muller are all in title contention, with others nipping at their heels.

The champions will be crowned at an awards banquet in Adelaide on Jan. 1.

ALMS cars will take to the 2.3973-mile circuit for the first time for practice on Friday, Dec. 29, and that day's activities will also include night practice. Qualifying and more practice will be held on Saturday, Dec. 30, with the race starting at 4 p.m. (Adelaide time) on Sunday.

The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.