Le Mans winners lead ALMS to Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (July 31, 2001) -- Victorious drivers and cars from the recent running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will lead the American Le Mans Series into this weekend's Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway. The starting...

PORTLAND, Ore. (July 31, 2001) -- Victorious drivers and cars from the recent running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will lead the American Le Mans Series into this weekend's Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.

The starting field at Portland will include the three drivers who in June took the overall win at Le Mans for the second straight year, as well as two drivers who scored a class win for an American manufacturer and team. The two-hour, 45-minute sports car endurance race starts at 1 p.m. (PDT) on Sunday.

The powerful Audi Sport North America team, which swept first and second at Le Mans, heads the Portland entry with two Audi R8 racers. Le Mans winners Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro will drive one of the cars, while current ALMS points leader Rinaldo Capello will be paired with Tom Kristensen in the other. Kristensen co-drove with Biela and Pirro to Le Mans glory in both 2000 and this year.

Also at Portland will be Corvette Racing drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, who drove to the GTS class win at Le Mans. The victory was the culmination of several years of work and development by General Motors and Corvette.

The factory Audis will be challenged at Sears Point for the overall win by the private Champion racing Audi, which recently added former Formula One winner Johnny Herbert to its driver lineup to join fellow Englishman Andy Wallace. A pair of crowd-pleasing factory Panoz LMP-1 Roadsters will also fight for the overall win.

The GTS Corvettes will face competition from the two-car American Viperacing team, with its Dodge Vipers, and the Sebring-winning Saleen S7R of Konrad Team Saleen. The Corvettes and the Saleen had a memorable battle in the most recent ALMS race at California's Sears Point Raceway, and more of the same is expected at Portland.

One of the hottest battles will be between BMW and Porsche in the GT class for production-based cars. The formidable BMW Motorsport team, featuring ex-Formula One and CART star JJ Lehto, gained its first ALMS win of the year in the most recent race at Sears Point after the Alex Job Racing/McKenna Porsche team had won the first two ALMS rounds in March. The 1.944-mile Portland circuit, with its long front straight, is expected to create the most even competition seen this year between the two makes.

The Roock/KnightHawk Racing team Lola will rejoin the series at Portland and will contest for the win in the new LMP 675 class. The Dick Barbour Racing Reynard will present formidable competition in the class for smaller prototypes.

Ticket information for The Grand Prix of Portland is available online at www.fastixx.com, or by calling 1-800-922-TIXX.

Race fans around the world can listen to the live race broadcast by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web online at www.americanlemans.com.

The race will be televised on a tape-delay basis in the United States by the Speedvision Network. Greg Creamer will handle the play-by-play, while former sports car racer Jeremy Dale will provide analysis. Calvin Fish and Andrew Marriott will report from the pits.

The Speedvision telecast can be seen at 8:30 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, August 6, with replays on the Fox Sports Net. Highlights of the race will be shown on Eurosport at 20:15 (CET) on August 12.

-ALMS

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Ron Fellows , Calvin Fish , Dick Barbour , Alex Job , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto
Teams Corvette Racing , Alex Job Racing