INDIANAPOLIS (August 15, 2001) -- In its three-year existence, the American Le Mans Series has brought sports car endurance racing to fans in the eastern, western and southwestern United States. But the series has never appeared in the heartland...
INDIANAPOLIS (August 15, 2001) -- In its three-year existence, the American Le Mans Series has brought sports car endurance racing to fans in the eastern, western and southwestern United States. But the series has never appeared in the heartland of America.
That glaring omission will soon change when the series makes its first-ever appearance in the American Midwest with an event at historic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on Saturday, August 25. Not only will the event be a first for the series, it will also mark the return of international sports car racing to Mid-Ohio after an absence of several years.
Paired with the popular Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, the American Le Mans Series will lead an impressive Saturday road racing doubleheader at Mid-Ohio. The ALMS machines will run a two-hour, 45-minute timed event beginning at 1 p.m., with a 100-mile race for the Trans-Am Series to follow at 4:15 p.m.
The American Le Mans Series is based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous endurance race. Many of the same cars and drivers that competed at Le Mans in June will be at Mid-Ohio, including the overall winners and several class winners. The ALMS, just like Le Mans, features driver changes and multiple classes of cars all competing on the track at the same time.
The two-car Audi Sport North America team will lead the way at Mid-Ohio. Drivers Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen, the overall winners at Le Mans, will compete in the event along with current ALMS points leader Rinaldo Capello. Also on hand will be Corvette Racing, the GTS-class winner at Le Mans, with drivers Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell, Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins.
Panoz Motor Sports will bring its popular Panoz LMP-1 Roadster Prototypes to Mid-Ohio for the event with drivers David Brabham, Jan Magnussen, Franck Lagorce and Klaus Graf. The Panoz, with its American V-8 engine, has been a fan favorite in the ALMS since the beginning of the series in 1999 and the Brabham-Magnussen duo recently snapped Audi's year-long winning streak in the series.
Also competing in the Prototype 900 class, which features the world's fastest and most exotic race cars, will be the two-car Cadillac team as well as the Champion Audi team with former Formula One winner Johnny Herbert. The field will also include American-based Dyson Racing, with drivers Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver, and Ohio's own Intersport Racing with the father-son combo of Jon and Clint Field.
In the GTS class, the Corvettes will face stiff competition from the exotic Saleen S7R driven by Franz Konrad and Terry Borcheller, as well as the fleet of Dodge Vipers fielded by American Viperacing.
The GT class will see Porsche vs. BMW, with the Porsche brigade led by Germans Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, along with American Randy Pobst. The four-car BMW assault includes world-renowned endurance racer Hans Stuck, along with former CART and Formula One driver JJ Lehto and Americans Bill Auberlen and Boris Said. Defending ALMS GT champion Dirk Muller also pilots one of the BMW M3 GTR machines.
The newest class of the ALMS, the LMP 675 for smaller Prototypes, is still growing in numbers and is expected to have its largest turnout yet at Mid-Ohio. Female drivers Milka Duno and Claudia Huertgen are among the LMP 675 field, along with sports car racing standout Didier de Radigues and American Steven Knight.
Practice and qualifying at Mid-Ohio will be held on Friday, August 24. The ALMS race will be televised live in the United States on NBC Sports, and live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information is available online at www.midohio.com, or by calling 1-800-MIDOHIO. The ALMS and Trans-Am Series will share the weekend with a NeOhio Region - SCCA National event.