THE ALMS AT LE MANS: THURSDAY REPORT
BMW on GTE Pro pole, American GT stars, DeltaWing to Le Mans and Bouchut at home
BMW fought back against Corvette and Ferrari on Thursday to claim pole position at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the GTE Pro class. Augusto Farfus set a lap of 3:57.592 in the BMW Motorsport factory BMW M3 GT that he will drive with Dirk Werner and Jorg Müller. The two BMWs qualified first and third in an incredibly tight class – the top three were within 0.834 seconds.
BMW has taken the first two rounds of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón – the Sebring 12 Hours for BMW Motorsport and Long Beach for BMW Team RLL. Farfus, Werner and Bill Auberlen were second at Sebring behind the winning trio of Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Andy Priaulx – their car’s best lap was a 3:58.426.
Priaulx had an unfortunate off near the end of Thursday’s first session when the M3 hit loose gravel in one of the final turns. Priaulx couldn’t turn or stop, and the BMW went front-first into the outside tire wall.
The first of Corvette Racing’s two Corvette C6.Rs qualified fourth in class at 3:59.519. The trio of Jan Magnussen, Oliver Gavin and Richard Westbrook posted the same time as Hankook Team Farnbacher’s Ferrari F458 Italia. Because the Corvette posted the time first, it gets the position.
MADE IN THE USA: Independence Day is a month away and the next Olympic Games are a year off, but the U.S. will have cause to celebrate its own this weekend. For in Le Mans, France, there will be three strong reasons to wave the Stars and Stripes: Patrick Long, Joey Hand and Tommy Milner.
The world's best drivers and manufacturers will gather June 11 - 12 for motor racing's most legendary event: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The best Audi, BMW, Corvette, Porsche and Peugeot have to offer will be piloted by drivers from all disciplines of motorsport in a race idolized by the likes of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. There, with the eyes of the world watching, a formidable crop of young GT talent from the American Le Mans Series will represent the USA.
DELTAWING TO LE MANS: Some of the biggest names in American motorsport have joined forces for the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans to showcase a unique concept demonstrating extreme performance with half the weight and horsepower of a traditional racing car.
The Project 56 group brings together the design talents of DeltaWing Racing Cars LLC; the manufacturing capabilities of All American Racers - the company owned by 1967 Le Mans winner and American racing legend Dan Gurney; and back-to-back American Le Mans Series championship winning racing team, Highcroft Racing. American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón founder Dr. Don Panoz has also joined the project as a key advisor.
BOUCHUT AT LE MANS: Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Christophe Bouchut brings an enormous amount of experience to the Level 5 Motorsport team that will campaign their Lola LMP2 Coupe at Le Mans this weekend.
As he explains, the 1993 Le Mans winner Frenchman is relishing another opportunity to fight for another Le Mans victory, 18 years after he entered the history books by winning his very first Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot.