LE MANS INVITATIONS INCLUDE SELECTION OF AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES' BEST Braselton, Ga. - The American Le Mans Series once again will be well represented at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 17-18. Twelve world-class entries from the Series have...
LE MANS INVITATIONS INCLUDE SELECTION OF AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES' BEST
Braselton, Ga. - The American Le Mans Series once again will be well represented at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 17-18. Twelve world-class entries from the Series have been invited to the 74th running of the French endurance classic, the most prestigious auto race in the world.
Last year's race saw another dominating performance from American Le Mans Series teams, including Champion Racing becoming the first American team to win overall since 1967. For the fourth year in a row, Series teams captured three of the four classes of competition at the Circuit de la Sarthe, and the possibility exists again this year that Series regulars could take victory in all four classes.
Heading the list are two diesel-powered Audi R10 TDIs from Audi Sport Team Joest, one of which posted a historic overall win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Audi is attempting to become the first manufacturer to win at Le Mans with diesel power, a worthy goal for a marque that has won five of the last six runnings of the 24 Hours. The two cars will return to the American Le Mans Series in July and contest the second half of the 2006 schedule. The driver pairings at Le Mans will be the same as at Sebring: Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner in one car; Rinaldo Capello, Allan McNish and seven-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen in the other.
In LMP2, two of the Series' most successful teams over the past three years have secured return trips to the Sarthe region of France. Defending class champion and Sebring class winner Intersport Racing is sending its Lola B05/40-AER back after being the quickest car in class last year. Clint Field, last season's class drivers champion, will join Liz Halliday and another driver to be named. In addition, Miracle Motorsports will make its second straight trip to Le Mans with its AER-powered Courage C65.
Three of the most prestigious marques in GT1 will represent the American Le Mans Series in what is expected to be one of the most competitive fields in the history of the 24 Hours. Corvette Racing is sending its two Corvette C6.Rs back to Le Mans in search of the team's fourth class triumph in the last five years and the third straight for the No. 4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen, who won earlier this month at Sebring.
Standing in the way will be two Aston Martin DBR9s from Aston Martin Racing and ACEMCO Motorsports' Saleen S7R, which has been extensively tested in preparations for the most extreme environment in motorsports. The three teams were on the track together three times in the Series last season, including spectacular battles at Petit Le Mans and the Monterey Sports Car Championships.
GT2 will see three world-class entries from the American Le Mans Series, including the second- and third-place teams in class from 2005. Heading the list is Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz, which will field one of its Panoz Esperante GTLMs that won in class at Sebring.
Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, last year's class champion in the American Le Mans Series and winner at Le Mans in 2003 and 2004, will campaign its Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Flying Lizard Motorsports, which was third in its Le Mans debut last year, also will field at least one Porsche for this year's 24 Hours. A second team car is on the reserve list.
The 74th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for June 17-18, with testing set for June 4.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Lone Star Grand Prix at Houston's Reliant Park, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. CDT May 12. The race will be broadcast on CBS Sports at 1 p.m. on May 13, the first of five consecutive Series races to be broadcast on the network. American Le Mans Radio, and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.