Long Beach: Kumho qualifying report

Kumho relishing ALMS competition LONG BEACH, CA, April 13, 2007...The 33rd annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is like a dream come true for fans of road racing. The weekend features four different professional races, including Toyota ...

Kumho relishing ALMS competition

LONG BEACH, CA, April 13, 2007...The 33rd annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is like a dream come true for fans of road racing. The weekend features four different professional races, including Toyota Atlantics, Speed World Challenge, Champ Car and the American Le Mans Series.

But among these four professional races, only one series features more than one brand of tires on the cars, which is why Kumho Tires is running in the American Le Mans Series.

Now in its third season in the ALMS, Kumho relishes the competition it faces from tire manufacturers like Michelin, Yokohama and Dunlop.

"We joined the ALMS because we wanted to prove ourselves against other tire manufacturers at the highest levels of professional sportscar racing," said Rudy Consolacion, motorsports manager for Kumho. "The ALMS features a wide variety of engine and chassis configurations, so it's appropriate that the series has open tire competition."

While Kumho has enjoyed some success so far, Consolacion said the company is looking forward to bigger and better things.

"We're several generations down the road with our LMP2 tire," he noted. "We've got a great partnership with Mazda and B-K Motorsports here in the U.S., and our LMP2 tire program has expanded to include teams in the Le Mans Series in Europe."

Intersport Racing debuted Kumho's first LMP1 tire two weeks ago in St. Pete, and Kumho will have a new version of the tire for Intersport at next week's Lone Star Grand Prix in Houston. Consolacion expects the company's LMP1 tire program to progress quickly after the Houston race.

"The season starts with four races in five weeks, and we haven't yet had a chance to do a proper test with Intersport and its new Judd-powered Creation," pointed out Consolacion. "We'll do a private test after the Houston race before we head to the natural terrain road courses. The Creation chassis has had good success on road courses in Europe and at Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca in the U.S. With some proper testing and more tire development, Intersport will be able to unleash the Creation's potential at the upcoming tracks."

For tomorrow's ALMS race at Long Beach, Intersport will start fourth in class in LMP1. The team broke a half shaft during this morning's practice session, limiting driver Clint Field to just 11 laps in his first time at the circuit. In qualifying, Jon Field posted a 1:18.337 for the team.

B-K Motorsports had a promising practice session this morning, with driver Ben Devlin and the Mazda-powered Lola fifth fastest in LMP2 and seventh fastest overall. However, during qualifying the car lost power during its initial lap and would not restart. The team was unable to post an official lap time and will start from the back of the grid.

-credit: kumho

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Series ALMS
Drivers Ben Devlin , Jon Field , Clint Field