PENSKE PORSCHE RS SPYDER LMP2 PROTOTYPE BREAKS LAGUNA QUALIFYING RECORD IN DEBUT; ALEX JOB RACING PORSCHE ALSO BREAKS QUALIFYING RECORD IN GT2 --Sascha Maassen piloted the new Penske Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 DHL-sponsored prototype to the pole ...
PENSKE PORSCHE RS SPYDER LMP2 PROTOTYPE BREAKS LAGUNA QUALIFYING RECORD IN DEBUT; ALEX JOB RACING PORSCHE ALSO BREAKS QUALIFYING RECORD IN GT2
--Sascha Maassen piloted the new Penske Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 DHL-sponsored prototype to the pole position in class and a new qualifying record, while Romain Dumas did the same in GT2 with the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR -
MONTEREY, Calif. - October 14 - For the first time since 1999, Porsche race cars took the pole position in two different American Le Mans Series classes - LMP2 and GT2 - as the new Penske Porsche RS Spyder qualified by Sascha Maassen will start first in LMP2 and Romain Dumas put the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on the GT2 pole for Saturday's Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway.
Maassen's 106.56 mph lap broke the record set in 2003 by veteran Dyson prototype driver James Weaver in an AER-powered MG by more than two mph.
Maassen, who will share the driving chores with Lucas Luhr for tomorrow's four-hour race, was pleased to be on the pole and set a new class record, but he was more pleased that the car completed the last two days of practice and qualifying with no major problems.
"Although we have been testing for the last four months, these two days at Laguna have been our first real-world experiences for the Penske Porsche RS Spyder. The fact that we had no major problems is a credit to both the Penske and Porsche team members, and gives us a reason to be optimistic for tomorrow's event," said Maassen, whose scored his 11th pole in ALMS - the last one being at Petit Le Mans in 2003 in the Alex Job Porsche.
Co-driver Lucas Luhr and Maassen were two-time ALMS GT2 champions (2002 and 2003), and hold many ALMS records, including most ALMS GT2 class wins (Maassen - 22), most season wins as a team (Maassen/Luhr - 7 wins - 2002), and most wins at the same venue (Maassen and Luhr - four wins each at Sebring. In addition, Maassen is the only driver in the history of the American Le Mans Series to win his class every year the series has run (1999 - 2005). He hopes to keep that streak alive with an LMP2 victory this weekend.
The heart of the new Porsche LMP2 is its newly-designed 3.4-liter, 90-degree, V8 engine. Limited to 480 horsepower at 10,100 rpm by ACO air restrictor regulations, the power plant is lightweight with a very low center of gravity. It features four valves per cylinder, a dry sump lubrication system, and an air intake manifold with single cylinder throttle valves. The engine is mated to a Porsche-engineered sequential six-speed constant mesh transmission. A structural part of the car, the gearbox is operated by a paddle shift system on the steering wheel and incorporates a triple-disc carbon fiber racing clutch.
GT2 - Alex Job Racing Porsche on Top
In GT2, Romain Dumas earned his third pole of the year, and seventh pole in the last two seasons, giving him and Timo Bernhard the top spot in the class for tomorrow's event. Although Dumas and Bernhard are a long shot for the drivers championship, this pole position and the race tomorrow are important for both the drivers and the team.
"By setting the track qualifying record, we showed everyone that we are still the fastest GT2 car," said Dumas, who turned his fast lap near the end of the 20-minute qualifying session.
Dumas and Bernhard have only a mathematical chance to win the drivers championship, but Alex Job Racing is only six points behind the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche team in the team championship - a title the pair would like to win for their car owner.
The Petersen/White Lightning Porsche of Patrick Long/Jorg Berngmeister, which just has to finish the race to claim the drivers title, is second on the grid, with the BAM! Porsche of Mike Rockenfeller/Wolf Henzler third.
The Monterey Sports Car Championships will commence on Saturday, October 15 at 7:00 PM EDT, with tape-delayed SPEED Channel television coverage starting at 1:00 PM EDT on Sunday, October 16. The race will last four hours will be broadcast live on American Le Mans Web Radio, at www.americanlemans.com.
The official Porsche media web site - www.press.porsche.com - has qualifying information for the Laguna event for the Porsches entered, and will post stories and photos during and after the race. Porsche media web site users enter the word "carrera" for both user name and password, then choose "motorsports news" and "ALMS" to find the Petit Le Mans updates. The same information is posted for consumers on Porsche's main site www.porsche.com/motorsport (click on Porsche Motorsports North America and "race reports").
The series race notes and results for all the classes at the American Le Mans event at Laguna can be found on the official site for the American Le Mans Series (www.americanlemans.com), where fans can follow the qualifying sessions and the race with live timing and scoring on-line.