Intersport Racing Pioneers New American Le Mans Prototype Challenge Class
As the American Le Mans Series' longest running privateer team, it is only fitting that Intersport Racing would step up and purchase the first-ever American Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) chassis. This announcement comes on the heels of Intersport being recognized during pre-race ceremonies at the Monterey Sports Car Championships for starting its 100th ALMS race, the most by any privateer team.
"As a privateer team, our commitment to IMSA and the American Le Mans Series is not only unwavering, it is stronger than ever," said team owner and driver Clint Field. "It is their continued effort to grow sports car racing in North America that wins our confidence to continue to invest our racing dollars here."
Earlier this year, in a progressive step designed to keep ahead of the rest of the industry, the ALMS announced the overhaul of its four-class structure beginning with the 2010 season. The four classes will be Le Mans Prototype (LMP), Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC), Grand Touring (GT) and Grand Touring Challenge (GTC).
American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton proclaimed: "Our sport has always been about evolution, and our plans for 2010 and beyond reflect it. I think the American Le Mans Series is ideally positioned to benefit from the current and future focus of all auto manufacturers. Recent announcements by major auto manufacturers and our government leaders confirm that racing series which provides opportunities to showcase and develop relevant new technologies - with an emphasis on the environment - are the future. We have never been more confident in our positioning and look forward to expanding our green racing initiatives to better serve the teams and manufacturers competing with us."
The new class structure is designed to retain the core attributes of what has made the ALMS the most successful professional sports car racing series in the world - world class Le Mans prototypes and GT cars - while also adding new high-value opportunities that expand the accessibility of this platform to new participants
"The new Challenge classes shows us the Series is listening," continued Field. "We see the LMPC car has the perfect addition to our LMP1 program and an extension of our IMSA Lites program. Our program can now provide a true path of growth for drivers who want to succeed in sports car and endurance racing. With the addition of the LMPC car we now provide fully supported programs in three steps-- IMSA Lites, LMP Challenge, and our flagship prototype, LMP1."
LMP Challenge, an exciting new class, was introduced earlier this year in Europe through the collaborative efforts between the ACO and ORECA/DPPI. The ORECA-Courage FLM09 that comprises the class has a minimum weight of 900 kilograms similar to its LMP brethren, but its 450 hp is considerably less than the LMP cars, which range from 500-700 hp. The LMP Challenge car is a true Le Mans prototype, but represents an affordable "value engineered" entry to Le Mans prototype racing. The FLM 09 is a very sophisticated race car with a full carbon fiber chassis, carbon brakes, and an Xtrac sequential gearbox with paddle shifting. All LMPC cars will race on single-supply Michelin tires.
The ALMS class change is supported by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), the organization that operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans and establishes the rules and regulations for Le Mans style racing worldwide.
LMP1 and LMP2 cars will compete as a single LMP class in 2010 with exception of the endurance classics - the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans Powered by MAZDA6 - that will continue to adhere to the ACO technical rules for LMP1 and LMP2. Among the LMP race cars eligible worldwide will be the Acura ARX-02a, Acura ARX-01b, Ginetta-Zytek 09HS (hybrid), Lola B09/86 Mazda, Lola B06/10, Radical SR9, Porsche RS Spyder, Audi R15 TDI, Peugeot 908, Aston Martin Lola and Pescarolo.
One of the founding teams of the American Le Mans Series, Intersport Racing has established itself as a premier independent team in sports car racing. The Dublin, Ohio-based team has taken on mightiest of factory prototype teams in recent seasons and posted noteworthy class victories in that span including an LMP1 triumph at Detroit in 2008 and 2006 at Sebring.
Team owner Clint Field won 2005 P2 class championship, three years after father Jon accomplished the same feat. Clint also reigns as the youngest prototype champion in Series and IMSA history.
In 2008, became first prototype team in Series history to campaign on cellulosic E85, a pioneering effort in the Series' Green Racing initiative and the first privateer team to start in 100 American Le Mans races.
The team campaigned the full-season in 2009 with a Lola B06/10-AER with the father-son combination serving as the primary drivers.