Raging American Le Mans Series Championship Battles Head To Petit Le Mans
Braselton, GA - With two races to go in the 2004 American Le Mans Series season, many season-long championship battles are raging as the professional sports car racing series heads to Road Atlanta for the Sep. 22-25 Chevy presents Petit Le Mans.
The "home" track of the American Le Mans Series will host the penultimate round of the nine-race 2004 season with a race that has become one of the most important endurance racing events in the world. Covering 10 hours, or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first, Chevy presents Petit Le Mans will play a large part in deciding many of the ALMS champions for 2004.
The season will end with a four-hour event, the Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., Oct. 14-16.
In the most recent ALMS event at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., drivers JJ Lehto and Marco Werner mathematically clinched the driving championship for the top Prototype class of the series for 2004. The drivers of the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 will share the LMP1 driver's title as long as they continue driving together in the final two events of the season.
Audi is in a position to clinch its fifth consecutive Auto Manufacturer's Championship for the LMP1 class at Petit Le Mans but Lola is still in position to challenge for the title. Likewise, Champion Racing can clinch what would be its first LMP1 team title, and Michelin can clinch the LMP1 Tire Manufacturer title for the fifth straight year.
Ron Fellows is very close to making history as the first three-time champion in the history of the ALMS as he and co-driver Johnny O'Connell can clinch the GTS driving title by finishing first or second in their Chevrolet Corvette C5-R in the Petit Le Mans. The title would be the second straight for O'Connell, who shared the title with Fellows last season. The two have finished either first or second in GTS in all seven ALMS races held this season.
Chevrolet has clinched its fourth straight Auto Manufacturer Championship in the GTS class as has Corvette Racing with the team title. Michelin is leading toward winning the GTS class tire championship for the first time but Pirelli is still in contention.
The tightest driver championship battle is in the GT class, as seven drivers from four racing teams are still in contention for the title. Timo Bernhard of the Alex Job Racing Porsche team has a three-point lead over Flying Lizard Motorsports drivers Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law heading into the Road Atlanta event.
Also still in contention for the driver's title are Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing pilots Craig Stanton and David Murry as well as Alex Job Racing drivers Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas.
Porsche has clinched the GT class Auto Manufacturer's Championship for the fifth time in six years while Michelin has clinched the Tire Manufacturer title in the GT class for the fifth time. Alex Job Racing can clinch its third straight GT team title if one of its two cars finishes ahead of both of the Flying Lizard entries at Road Atlanta.
In the LMP2 class, Ian James leads the driver standings by four points over his Miracle Motorsports Courage C-65 co-driver, James Gue. James has a 47-point lead over Intersport Racing Lola-Judd drivers Clint Field and Robin Liddell. No other drivers in the LMP2 class have a mathematical chance of winning the title.
Yokohama is in position to clinch the LMP2 class Tire Manufacturer Championship in the Petit Le Mans over Pirelli, while Lola has already clinched the Chassis Manufacturer title for the class. Miracle Motorsports holds a 47-point lead over Intersport in the team standings and can clinch the title at Road Atlanta.