ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 11, 2013) – Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf rolled to their fifth consecutive American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón victory on Sunday at Road America, holding on after a strong challenge by the revolutionary DeltaWing LM12 in its best showing to date.
The race featured a pair of ALMS milestones. The DeltaWing led for the first time – leading twice for 16 laps – while the SRT Viper took its first factory-backed victory since New Year’s Eve in 2000 when Dominick Farnbacher and Marc Goossens won a tight GT battle in the No. 91 Viper GTS-R. It was the 17th factory-backed victory for Viper.
Katherine Legge put the No. 0 DeltaWing LM12 into the overall lead on lap 20, and then paced eight laps before giving way to Luhr’s No. 6 Muscle Milk HPD ARX-03c. Co-driver Andy Meyrick regained the lead during pit stops, and also led eight laps before being passed by Graf in the Canada Corner with 51 minutes remaining. Legge and Meyrick took third in class and placed fifth overall – running at the finish for the first time this season.
“Every time we go out, the car is more reliable,” said Legge, recorded her best finish in four races with the team. “Today we’re starting to show how revolutionary this car can be, and we really showed the excellence of what the DeltaWing is all about.”
“Man, it was a great race,” Goossens said. “We gambled a little bit on the fuel. We had to save fuel, but we had to push as well. There is no secret the last [caution period] helped, we were very low to save the least.”
Luhr extended his ALMS-leading total to 46 victories, while Graf won for the 19th time.
Luhr led from the drop of the green flag until his first pit stop 19 laps later, but admitted to struggling on the slick circuit. The race began in drying conditions following late-morning rain, resulting in teams beginning the race on intermediate rain tires and gradually switching to slick tires as the track dried.
“I don’t remember the last time we drove in the rain, and it was tricky in the beginning because no one drove here this weekend in the wet,” Luhr said. “As the track got better and better, it was in our favor. At the end of the day, it was a good day for us.”
Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry finished second overall in Dyson Racing’s No. 16 Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Lola B12/60 as the race ended under caution when Jan Heylen tagged the wall in Turn 1 in the No. 11 Hertz Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the closing minutes.
Corvette Racing took the remaining two positions on the GT podium. Garcia and Jan Magnussen were second in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6 ZR1, followed by the team’s No. 4 of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. The top-10 finishers in the class all completed 65 laps.
Scott Tucker scored his fourth consecutive P2 victory for Level 5 Motorsports, joining guest driver Simon Pagenaud in the No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b. Pagenaud was filling in for fellow IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe, who continues to recover from injuries.
“I was able to stay out for the full hour on the rain tires which gave us a bit of an advantage,” Tucker said. “Then Simon got in and could capitalize on it. We could keep some severe pace up all day.”
Guy Cosmo finished second in the No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD-ARX-03b for Extreme Speed Motorsports started by Scott Sharp, beating Marino Franchitti on the final round of pit stops. Franchitti rounded out the podium in the No. 552 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b started by Ricardo Gonzalez.
Bruno Junqueira and Duncan Ende captured their second Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire victory of the season, finishing third overall in the No. 9 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09. It was the third career ALMS victory for Junqueira, all for RSR Racing, and the sixth career triumph for Ende.
“This is the track where I got my first win in 2001, so every time I come to Road America is very special for me,” Junqueira said. “This is my favorite track, and to win here again is great.”
Kyle Marcelli and Chris Cumming were second in the No. 8 BAR1 Motorsports Evident Capital/MBRP Performance Exhaust/Merchant Services LTD ORECA FLM09, followed by Mike Guasch and David Cheng in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Molecule ORECA FLM09.
In GTC, Spencer Pumpelly recorded his sixth career victory, joining second-time winner Nelson Canache Jr. in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Venezuela/eSilicon Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. They also took the points lead in the class in the process.
Pumpelly also drove in Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge races. He led his class in both events, only to lose in the closing minutes.
“I would be lying if I said that didn’t cross my mind today,” Pumpelly said. “The conditions at the start were really trying, and Nelson did a great job out there. When we cycled through the final pit stops, we got right back up there. I was really lucky in traffic and stayed out of trouble. I had a busy weekend, and it’s nice to go home with a win.”
Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil took second in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing/Weather Team Porsche GT3 Cup, followed by Sean Edwards and Henrique Cisneros in the No. 30 NGT Motorsport/MOMO Porsche GT3 Cup.
The Road America weekend featured the ALMS paired with the Rolex Series for the first time in preparation for the debut of United SportsCar Racing in 2014.
Next up for the ALMS will be the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Saturday, Aug. 31.