A night of celebration for the teams, manufacturers and the drivers who leave Petit Le Mans with the final championships in the American Le Mans Series.
The final season of the American Le Mans Series is over. For many of the series drivers and teams, it will be an emotional good-bye tomorrow night at the 2013 Awards Banquet. The emotions started to flow when the final checkered flag was waved at the end of the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta.
Seems like it just yesterday that Dr. Don Panoz formed the "For the Fans" series. The fans flocked to the road course in Braselton, Georgia for the grand finale of the series many will hold dear to their hearts. The unification of the GRAND-AM and ALMS will start-up next year with the first race at Daytona under the new banner: Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC).
The final championship in both series will be sealed as they take on the new adventure, setting new records.
Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf are the P1 champions, as is team owner Greg Pickett. The Muscle Milk team handed Honda Performance Developmemt the Engine and Chassis title.
The P2 class was a battle between the HPD teams this year, and in the end Scott Tucker will receive the grand prize wit the drivers' crown. His Level 5 Motorsports team earned the honors over the Extreme Speed Motorsports team who made the switch to P2 this season with HPD.
GT is a class that has more than just a few teams challenging for the championship with Porsches, Ferraris, BMWs, SRT Vipers and Corvettes. This year, they again thrilled the fans with their on-track fight for victories. Corvette Racing takes home the honors for the manufacturer, team and drivers' championships.
While Corvette and drivers have won in past years, today marked the first title for Antonio Garcia. His teammate Jan Magnussen received good news before the start of the Le Mans when the news broke that his son Kevin won the World Series by Renault championship!
"We went from zero wins last year to three wins this year. It was a very competitive year, and congratulations to all our competitors who raced against us. They were all very good teams. So I am very happy for my first ALMS title," said Garcia.
Magnussen commented, “It is a fantastic day. My son Kevin won the World Series by Renault this morning, so that was a good way to start the day. It was nice that he got it over with so I could concentrate on my own championship!"
The Protoype Challenge was another close battle this season as only one point separated the top two in points. Mike Gausch won the crown over Chris Cumming. The team title in the class went to CORE autosport over Bar1 Motorsports. There is no manufacturer award as the racing machines are all ORECAs.
Like the PC class, there is one manufacturer - in this case Porsche. It was close but Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil took the drivers' championship but the rival team, Flying Lizard Motorsports won the team title.
"The guys did a great job. We had a lot of issues this season that weren’t in our hands. This is also my second, I won again in 2010 and tied Cooper now for 2. It is a great day, so happy to win this today," said Bleekemolen. His teammate McNeil said, “The first championship last year was sweet, but this was sweeter because of how tough the competition was this year."
Note: The points are provisional.