HEAVY SERIES FLAVOR IN FIRST LISTOF 2010 LE MANS INVITES Risi Competizione and Flying Lizard Motorsports are each on the list of the first 27 invites to the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours. Five teams and six entries from the American Le Mans Series are...
HEAVY SERIES FLAVOR IN FIRST LISTOF 2010 LE MANS INVITES
Risi Competizione and Flying Lizard Motorsports are each on the list of the first 27 invites to the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Five teams and six entries from the American Le Mans Series are among the first 29 teams offered official invitations to next year's running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As has been the case for the last 11 seasons, all championship-winning entrants in each American Le Mans Series class receive invites to compete the following year in the world's greatest auto race along with class winners at the annual Petit Le Mans.Risi Competizione's two entries and the first invite for reigning LMP1 champion Patron Highcroft Racing lead the Series' contingent. Not only did the trio of Jaime Melo, Pierre Kaffer and Mika Salo give Risi its second straight GT2 crown at Le Mans this year, but the trio also drove the Risi Ferrari F430 GT to a second consecutive class win at Petit Le Mans in September. Flying Lizard Motorsports appears on its way to a sixth straight appearance at Le Mans with its Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The team won its second consecutive Series GT2 championship this year with six victories for Porsche works drivers Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister.
Both Patron Highcroft and Lowe's Fernandez Racing -- LMP2 -- also received entries for their championship performances. Patron Highcroft owner Duncan Dayton has made no secret of his ambitions to take his team to Le Mans in the past. Corvette Racing also received an invite for winning the GT1 class in 2009. With the team's move to GT2, however, it is likely that it will decline the automatic entry.Since 1999, American Le Mans Series teams have been driving forces at Le Mans with eight overall championship and 25 class championships.
SAFETY FIRST: Corvette Racing's Johnny O'Connell says the crew at Pratt & Miller have been hard at work restoring and rebuilding the Corvette C6.R that was heavily damaged in the epic last-lap duel between teammate Jan Magnussen and Flying Lizard Motorsports' Jorg Bergmeister in the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patron. The Corvette and Porsche banged side-to-side coming out of the final turn in a frantic GT2 battle. As they beat on each other toward the finish, Magnussen went around hard into the outside wall just before the start-finish line." Perhaps one the greatest strengths of Corvette Racing is the close association we have with the production side, and the relationship between the two," O'Connell wrote on his personal blog. "Included in that is the importance both place on safety. Jan's wreck was huge. He's still not back to 100 percent but is getting close. That said, many aspects of the crash have been analyzed and changes made to the car to better protect us in the future. Just like was done when Dale Jr. had his crash and fire (at Infineon in 2004), things have been changed and improved. So as we move to the future all of us drivers will be confident in the safety or our car and know that everything has been looked at many times by the best in the industry."
BUILDING INTERSPORT'S LADDER: The addition of an Le Mans Prototype Challenge entry for the 2010 American Le Mans Series season has kept things busy at Intersport Racing. Mitch Pagerey will drive the team's ORECA FLM09 prototype next season alongside the team's Lola B06/10-AER for LMP1, driven by the father-son duo of Clint Field.Rounding out the 2009 season with a third-place championship finish in LMP1 and celebrating its 100th Series start in the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca seemed to not only be an accomplishment but also an inspiration for the offseason to make the future of the team bigger and brighter. "We were pretty surprised when we found out we were entering our 100th race in Monterey," said Intersport's Team Manager Brian Alder. "It was exciting to talk about it throughout the week since it was definitely a nice way to end the season." Read more on Mitch Pagerey's move to Intersport's LMPC program. Intersport is charging full speed into 2010. Along with its LMP1 and LMPC efforts, the team will continue in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lights Championship with an Elan DP02 as part of IMSA's prototype development series. Intersport, the 2005 LMP2 champion, will become the first team to field entries in all three rungs of the prototype development ladder within IMSA. "We are excited about the tiers of the ladder system within our team," Alder said.
The American Le Mans Series will open its 12th season with America's greatest sports car race, the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida from March 17-20. The green flag will fall at 10:35 a.m. et on Saturday, March 20 with live coverage on SPEED.The annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test is scheduled for February 22-23, also at Sebring International Raceway.