American Le Mans Series Added to 2004 Schedule
Sports Car Series Will Make its Debut at Lime Rock on July 4th Weekend
LAKEVILLE, Conn. - The American Le Mans Series, featuring some of the world's fastest and most exotic sports cars, will make its first-ever appearance in the Northeast at Lime Rock Park with an Independence Day weekend event in 2004.
The American Le Mans Series will hold a timed race of two hours and 45 minutes on Monday, July 5, on Lime Rock's 1.54-mile circuit. The event will be televised live on the SPEED Channel. Practice, qualifying and support series races will be held on Friday and Saturday, July 2-3, with a car show and family holiday activities to be held on Sunday, July 4.
The ALMS event will be held three weeks after the 2004 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, making it likely that the overall winner of Le Mans and other class winners will compete at Lime Rock. In four of the past five years, the overall winning drivers and team at Le Mans also competed regularly in American Le Mans Series events.
"The American Le Mans Series is the premier sports car series in the world, boasting the top manufacturers, teams, drivers and racing events," said Skip Barber, President of Lime Rock Park. "Lime Rock's addition of an ALMS race returns the track to its sports car roots, which of course run deep with the longest continuous stretch of GTP events and, more importantly, this event underscores the reason why our 1.54-mile road course is so special."
The American Le Mans Series, which will enter its sixth season in 2004, features many of the same drivers and cars that compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the famed French endurance race held each June for more than 70 years. Four classes of cars compete at the same time for the overall race win as well as class wins, including fast and exotic Prototypes and production-based cars.
The LMP 900 Prototypes can reach speeds of well over 200 mph and are among the most sophisticated and technologically advanced machines in the world along with Formula One. The LMP 675 is a smaller, less-powerful Prototype, but still has a top speed of 180-200 mph and will be competitive for the overall win on Lime Rock's tight and challenging road course.
The Grand Touring Sport or GTS class features top performance cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Ferrari 550 Maranello, and Saleen S7R while the Grand Touring (GT) category includes production-based machines such as the Porsche 911 and Ferrari 360 Modena.
Top ALMS drivers come from countries throughout the world, including England, France, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Canada and the United States, and more than 20 American Le Mans Series drivers have Formula One experience.
Well-known automotive brand names such as Audi, BMW, Corvette, Dodge, Ferrari, Lamborghini, MG, Nissan, Panoz, Porsche and Saleen are represented in the series.
Sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), the American Le Mans Series motto is "For the Fans" and all events feature driver autograph sessions and open paddocks.
The event at Lime Rock is part of a nine-race schedule that features premier permanent road racing facilities as well as temporary circuits in key major markets throughout North America.
"When you think of classic road racing venues in North America, Lime Rock Park certainly belongs on that list," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "Many of our fans have asked us when we would race at Lime Rock, and we're now very happy to be working with (Lime Rock Park General Manager) Michael Johnson and his staff to bring the American Le Mans Series there next year.
"Racing in the Northeast is also very important to the manufacturers and sponsors involved in the American Le Mans Series. The Northeast corridor represents some of the highest sales areas for Audi, Porsche, Corvette, BMW and some of the other types of cars that race in our series. We certainly look forward to enjoying a holiday weekend at Lime Rock."