American Le Mans Teams Set for Le Mans Test Day
BRASELTON, GA. - Eleven racing teams from the American Le Mans Series will be in France this weekend to take an important step in their preparation for the 72nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The world's most famous endurance race will be run June 12-13 at the Circuit de La Sarthe.
The 50 teams that have been invited to compete at Le Mans, plus reserve cars, are required to participate in Sunday's traditional Pre-Test day. After undergoing scrutineering on Friday and Saturday, teams will have eight hours of testing time on the 8.625-mile La Sarthe circuit on Sunday, the only chance they will have to test on the full circuit prior to the start of official event practice in June.
Peter Baron, who drove to a second-place finish in the GT class last year and is now Business Director of the new BAM! organization that is running at Le Mans with Orbit Racing, fully understands the importance of the test day. Leo Hindery, Marc Lieb and newcomer Mike Rockenfeller will drive the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
"With only eight hours of track time, we have the unique challenge of balancing setup of the car, reacquainting Leo and Marc with the track and introducing Mike to the circuit," he said. "We are committed to dominating each session, so we're trying to find the right mix. Even though it's an eight-hour test day, the clock doesn't stop while we're adjusting the car, so it's really only about three or four hours of running time. There is no time for reconnaissance or mistakes."
American Le Mans Series teams that are competing at Le Mans this year include ADT Champion Racing, a class winner at Le Mans last year that will chase the overall win this year in the LMP1 class with an Audi R8, and Corvette Racing, which is fielding a pair of Chevrolet Corvette C5-R machines as it seeks its third GTS class win in four years.
Intersport Racing will field a Lola B160-Judd in the LMP1 class and a Lola B2K/40-Judd in the LMP2 class, while The Racer's Group will run a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the GT class. The team took GT class honors at Le Mans in 2002. Panoz Motor Sports is running a Panoz GTR1 in the LMP1 class in conjunction with Larbre Competition.
In addition to BAM!/Orbit, also running in the GT class are PK Sport, Seikel Motorsport and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, all with Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entries. The Petersen team, running in conjunction with Alex Job Racing, won the GT class at Le Mans last year.
The American Le Mans Series annually builds its schedule around the 24 Hours of Le Mans, allowing race teams that want to travel to France for participation in the event the opportunity to do so. Because of the relationship that exists between the ALMS and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, race teams that regularly compete in ALMS events receive special consideration in the selection process for the 50 cars that compete at Le Mans.
In addition, the ACO grants up to eight automatic Le Mans entries from the American Le Mans Series, including entries for the four class-winning entrants in the annual Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and for the four team championship entrants in the ALMS championship standings.
Following the test day, most teams will leave their cars and equipment in France for preparation prior to the week of the race. Following the 24 Hours of Le Mans, teams will return to North America for the resumption of the American Le Mans Series schedule June 25-27 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.