ALEX JOB RACING, BAM! HOPE PARTNERSHIP WILL LEAD TO LE MANS CLASS VICTORY Alex Job Racing, which runs the Nos. 23 and 24 cars in the ALMS, is teaming with BAM! for an LM GT2 effort at Le Mans. Braselton, Ga. - Can BAM! plus AJR equal WIN? At...
ALEX JOB RACING, BAM! HOPE PARTNERSHIP WILL LEAD TO LE MANS CLASS VICTORY
Alex Job Racing, which runs the Nos. 23 and 24 cars in the ALMS, is teaming with BAM! for an LM GT2 effort at Le Mans.
Braselton, Ga. - Can BAM! plus AJR equal WIN? At this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, we may find out. For the second year in a row, Mike Rockenfeller, Marc Lieb and Leo Hindery are teaming for the famed French endurance classic as BAM! and Alex Job Racing join forces in LM GT2 for the June 18-19 race at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The trio finished 223 laps before retiring from last year's running at Le Mans. It was a disappointment of sorts for Lieb and Hindery, who finished the 2003 race second in LM GT2. The car was running second last year when it went out with a broken gearbox.
"A podium comes with only with a combination of preparedness, quality equipment, a committed crew, high driver skill and good fortune," Hindery said. "It is the latter item that is always in question, and while it is our burden to deliver the first four items, we are confident we will."
The AJR-BAM No. 71 Porsche will vie with 14 other LM GT2 teams at Le Mans, including two-time defending class champion Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, which partnered with Alex Job Racing in 2003. Panoz Motor Sports and Flying Lizard Motorsports, are among the other class entrants. For this race, Alex Job will serve as team manager while BAM!'s Tim Munday will serve as crew chief and engineer.
Rockenfeller, 21, is the only one of the three to compete in the ALMS this season. He finished eighth in class at Sebring (with Martin Jensen and Tony Burgess) and fifth in class at Mid-Ohio (with Burgess again). The biggest aspect of being in those races, Rockenfeller said, was seeing how the car would react on Yokohama tires.
"In Sebring, we were fine," he said. "The tires were working really well. In Mid-Ohio we had some problems. But it is a development program for Yokohama and they will do their best to bring a good tire to Le Mans."
Rockenfeller and Lieb, himself just 24, can rely on Hindery for experience. Not only has the 57-year-old been to Le Mans each year since 2002, but he also has competed in 30 ALMS events since the series began in 1999.
"The biggest change over the years is that by being ever more familiar with the circuit, the town and the race schedule," Hindery said, "our preparedness is noticeably better. It would be very difficult for a first-time team to do particularly well in this race, as there is much more nuance to Le Mans than to any other race in the world. The one thing, however, that never changes and certainly never diminishes is the aura, and in fact the more times you go the greater is your sense of privilege and honor at just being there."
He counts the runner-up class finish in 2002 as the highlight of his racing career. And he's eager to duplicate that this time around.
"An acceptable result will be to have done the very best we can. The targeted result, however, is to again be on the podium, as frankly I still have one shoulder blade that does not yet have a Le Mans tattoo," he said. "But things do break and drivers do make mistakes and crews do make errors. However we are doing everything we can to be there at the end with a high finish."
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be broadcast on SPEED Channel starting at 10 a.m. EDT June 18. The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the New England Grand Prix, set for 3 p.m. July 4 at Lime Rock Park. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED (3 to 6 p.m. EDT) and on MotorsTV in Europe, reaching 40 million viewers in 21 countries as well as at www.americanlemans.com.