AUTOCON'S LEWIS ON LE MANS: WE'RE GOING!

Ten teams from the American Le Mans Series already have received invitations to the next running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. None may be as ecstatic at the prospect of running in the world's most prestigious auto race as Mike Lewis' Autocon Motorsports.

"We will be making the trip to Le Mans," Lewis confirmed this week. The California-based independent team finished second in the American Le Mans Series' LMP1 championship and was granted an automatic berth. "It's the pinnacle of sports car racing. What more can you say. For a guy who grew up on racing, idolizing drivers and tracks, Le Mans is the ultimate cathedral of speed. It's practically holy ground! I will cherish every moment of the experience."

Audi Sport North America gained two invitations for winning Le Mans last year and also the Series' P1 championship and Petit Le Mans. Penske Racing earned a pair of invites for winning the LMP2 championship and the class win at Petit. Corvette Racing (first at Petit Le Mans and second at Le Mans in GT1), Risi Competizione (Series GT2 champion and second in class at Le Mans) and Flying Lizard Motorsports (Petit Le Mans GT2 winner) also gained automatic invitations.

Lewis has never been to Le Mans although Autocon teammates Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman drove a Pilbeam with Jeff Bucknum in the 2003 race. The trio retired a little more than six hours into the race with an engine failure. What the team enters at Le Mans - and in the American Le Mans Series - remains up in the air.

"We may end up using a Creation chassis that is already compliant and leave ours as is," Lewis said. "Or we may upgrade ours. It all comes down to timing and economics.

"We do intend to run the majority of the American Le Mans Series schedule as well," he added. "We will be testing this offseason with our first run on December 10-11 on the West Coast, and probably one other run prior to Sebring Winter Test (January 28-30)."

-credit: alms/autocon