LE MANS, France (June 17, 2001) -- Teams from the American Le Mans Series came home first in three of the five competitive classes in the 69th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and American drivers were part of the winning team in two classes. The race was held Saturday and Sunday at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France.
Audi Sport Team Joest, the defending champion and current leader of the ALMS, took the overall race win for the second consecutive year with the driving trio of Frank Biela, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro. Two other teams that regularly compete in the ALMS, Corvette Racing and Seikel Motorsport, claimed the top spot in the GTS and GT classes, respectively.
Of the 17 American drivers who competed in the world's most famous endurance race, three were on class-winning teams. Butch Leitzinger of State College, Pa., drove for Team Bentley, which finished third overall but first in the LMGTP class. Johnny O'Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., and Scott Pruett of Hickory, N.C., drove for Corvette Racing in the GTS class win. Eighteen-year-old Gunnar Jeannette of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., was part of the second-place team in the GT class, while Andy Pilgrim of Aventura, Fla., and Kelly Collins of Corona del Mar, Calif., were on the GTS second-place team.
Of the five American auto manufacturers competing in the race, only General Motors was able to achieve a win with the Corvette. However, Chrysler's new Prototype finished fourth overall, while one of the two Cadillac Prototypes in the race finished 15th after some late-race problems. Saleen finished third in the GTS class behind two Corvettes. Neither the Callaway C-12, which was on the pole in the GT class, nor the two Panoz LMP 07 Prototypes finished the race.
The American Le Mans Series, which has been idle in the 2001 season since the Sebring, Fla., event in March, returns to North American action with The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma at California's Sears Point Raceway on July 22.
Finishing results in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for American Le Mans Series teams and American drivers:
<pre> 1. Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R8 (LMP 900 class), drivers Biela, Kristensen, Pirro, 321 laps. 2. Audi Sport North America, Audi R8 (LMP 900 class, 2nd), drivers Capello, Aiello, Pescatori, 320 laps. 4. Team Playstation, Chrysler LMP (LMP 900 class, 3rd), drivers Beretta, Wendlinger, Lamy, 298 laps. 6. Seikel Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT class, 1st), drivers Rosa, Babini, Drudi, 283 laps. 8. Corvette Racing (USA), Chevrolet Corvette C5-R (GTS class, 1sr), drivers Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Scott Pruett, Hickoey, N.C., Fellows, 278 laps. 12. Seikel Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT class, 5th), drivers Burgess, Cohen-Oliver, Bagnall, 272 laps. 14. Corvette Racing (USA), Chevrolet Corvette C5-R (GTS class, 2nd), drivers Andy Pilgrim (Aventura, Fla.), Kelly Collins (Corona del Mar, Calif.), Freon, 271 laps. 15. DAMS, Cadillac Northstar LMP (LMP 900 class, 5th), drivers Wayne Taylor (Altamonte Springs, Fla.), Angelelli, Tinseau, 270 laps. 18. Saleen-Allen Speedlab (USA), Saleen S7R (GTS class, 3rd), drivers Terry Borcheller (Phoenix), Konrad, Gavin, 246 laps.
NOT CLASSIFIED (did not finish): 22. Chrysler Team ORECA, Chrysler LMP (LMP 900 class), drivers Ara, Amorim, Kondo. 26. Chrysler Team ORECA, Chrysler LMP (LMP 900 class), drivers Dalmas, Montagny, Sarrazin. 27. Aspen Knolls Racing (USA), Callaway C-12 (GT class), drivers Bob Mazzuoccola (Staten Island, NY), Cort Wagner (Santa Monica, Calif.), Vic Rice (San Rafael, Calif.). 28. Dick Barbour Racing (USA), Reynard 01Q-Judd (LMP 675 class), drivers De Radigues, Matsuda, Maassen. 29. Roock-KnightHawk Racing (USA), Lola B2K-Nissan (LMP 675 class), drivers Chris Gleason (Johnstown, Pa.), Rick Fairbanks (Greenville, SC), Hurtgen. 31. Panoz Motor Sports (USA), Panoz LMP 07 (LMP 900 class), drivers Graf, Daevis, Formato. 32. Panoz Motor Sports (USA), Panoz LMP 07 (LMP 900 class), drivers Brabham, Magnussen, Lagorce. 33. Champion Racing (USA), Audi R8 (LMP 900 class), drivers Herbert, Kelleners, Theys. 38. DAMS, Cadillac Northstar LMP (LMP 900 class), drivers Collard, Goossens, Bernard. 43. Johansson Motorsport, Audi R8 (LMP 900 class), drivers Johansson, Coronel, Lemarie. 45. Dick Barbour Racing (USA), Reynard 01Q-Judd (LMP 675 class), drivers Graham, Duno, David Murry (Atlanta). 46. Konrad Motorsport, Saleen S7R (GTS class), drivers Seiler, Brun, Charlie Slater (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
OTHER AMERICAN DRIVERS: 3. Butch Leitzinger, State College, Pa., Bentley GTP (LMGTP class, 1st), 306 laps. 7. Gunnar Jeannette, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT class, 2nd), 282 laps. 41. Terry Lingner, Indianapolis; Chris MacAllister, Indianapolis, Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT class, not classified).