LMP2 TEAMS SAY THEY WON'T BACK DOWN FROM PENSKE PORSCHES Braselton, Ga. - If Clint Field is worried about Porsche's entry into the American Le Mans Series' LMP2 class, he isn't showing it. Although the manufacturer announced its plans at the ...
LMP2 TEAMS SAY THEY WON'T BACK DOWN FROM PENSKE PORSCHES
Braselton, Ga. - If Clint Field is worried about Porsche's entry into the American Le Mans Series' LMP2 class, he isn't showing it. Although the manufacturer announced its plans at the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta to field two LMP2s with Penske Motorsports, there are more questions than answers.
Regardless, Field said there isn't any reason to change the outlook for his Telesis Intersport Racing team. It has two LMP2 Lolas of its own, and one placed first in class at the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta. So instead of backing down, Field said his team will meet the new challengers head-on.
"We're definitely going to want to beat them more because they are such a prestigious team," the 21-year-old said. "In other series, that's the team to beat. It'll be the same in the ALMS. We always try our hardest, but it will be more fun now because we have a benchmark to go up against."
To say the least. Roger Penske's teams have a habit of doing things first class, and this should be no different. But there isn't an aura of fear among LMP2 competitors about having to go up against such an organization once it makes its debut at Petit Le Mans. Rather, it's more excitement and anticipation.
"It's a great sign of things to come," said Jeff Bucknum, driver of the No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage. "Having a manufacturer like Porsche and a team like Penske can only do good things for the ALMS. It indicates that the LMP2 class is the popular one to be in at the moment."
Roger Penske is partnering with Porsche for its entry into the American Le Mans Series' LMP2 class, the manufacturer's return to prototype racing.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, has said that LMP2 was a desirable option because the class would allow Porsche to offer its program to privateer entrants.
"It puts a lot of pressure on us," Penske said. "They have a mission here to bring a car to their customers. You're going to see a lot of people involved in this over the long term."
Guy Cosmo, driver for the Mazda-powered No. 8 B-K Motorsports Courage, believes Porsche's initial step back into prototype race via the LMP2 class is a wise move.
"I'm sure both Mazda and Porsche have the ability to provide or sell engine programs to privateer teams," Cosmo said. "The P2 class is essentially a more affordable way to go prototype racing. It's a good platform for both manufacturers to be involved in. As if there wasn't enough competition between cars, now there is more between engines."
Both he and Field said the addition of the Penske Porsches won't change their teams' goals and plans for the rest of 2005 and beyond.
"Our goal is to race as competitively as possible, no matter who we're racing against," Cosmo said. "We're all racers at heart. It adds a bit of excitement that we'll be able to compete against names like Penske and Porsche. It's another element that will make it more exciting for the fans."
Added Field, "The class will be a good class with Penske and Porsche. If they're a top LMP2 team, they'll be competing for overall. And we wouldn't have bought a new car if we hadn't wanted to do what we want, and that's win."
The next ALMS race is the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, set for noon EDT May 22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. CBS Sports will broadcast the event from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT, and live coverage will be available on American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com.