The stars of the Le Mans Series head north this weekend for round six of the championship at the former home of the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport near Toronto. Audi return fresh from their crushing 1-2 victory at Sears Point, but...
The stars of the Le Mans Series head north this weekend for round six of the championship at the former home of the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport near Toronto.
Audi return fresh from their crushing 1-2 victory at Sears Point, but David Brabham and the Panoz squad are hoping to repeat their result from 1999 at this circuit where they ran away with a similar 1-2 result.
Australian star Brabham finished 2nd last year with Eric Bernard, but will be joined by his regular 2000 partner and reigning Mosport victor, Jan Magnussen this weekend.
"We had a good result last year, but it¹ll be really hard work this time around especially with the speed the Audis showed at Sears," Magnussen said.
"We are going to have the chance to test a new power steering system before we head to Canada, and hopefully that will help us find some time.
"I like the track, despite the bumps, and there are plenty of interesting turns. It seems to suit us well, so let¹s hope we do as well as last year.²
Brabham was unlucky not to win in Canada last year, after receiving a penalty for a pit-lane infringement.
"I got forced off the track by a slower car and one of my crew started to pull some dirt and grass out of the front of the car before the refeuling was finished," Brabham said.
"The penalty put us back to second. Jan got pole last year and I set the fastest lap so we should make a pretty good combination there this year.
"Jan's win last year was actually the first for the open-topped Panoz so the track has some happy memories for the team."
Magnussen's 1999 co-driver Johnny O'Connell will be hoping for better luck in the #2 Panoz this weekend. O'Connell's partner Hiroki Katoh suffered a suspension failure at Sears Point, forcing them out of the race.
Audi hero Alan McNish stormed to victory at Sears Point with Rinaldo Capello, their first visit to the top step of the podium in 2000.
The victory made amends for McNish's German effort at the Nurburgring in the previous event where he crashed heavily in the rain.
"Even though the remaining ALMS race tracks are unfamiliar territory to us, I´m confident that we can secure the title, especially after our success in California," McNish says.
In it's first year in the Le Mans Series with the Joest run team, Audi face a tough task to become accustomed to the U.S. circuits.
"The circuit is extremely uneven and therefore very demanding," says team director Reinhold Joest.
"We've never competed there before, except for a planned test day to set-up the car. At Sears Point we proved that we can quickly familiarise ourselves with new tracks. If all goes well with the set-up, like in California, then we can expect to be up front again."
BMW also will be looking to bounce back after struggling to maintain the pace of Audi and Panoz at Sears Point.
Jorg Muller still maintains a slim lead over BMW team-mate JJ Lehto in the championship, courtesy of their victories at Charlotte and Silverstone.
WIth bonus points on offer for the driver setting pole position, the fastest lap of the race and the most laps led, Muller has earned a two point break over Lehto in the championship despite the fact they share the same car.
Former Grand Prix drivers Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta will be keen to bounce back into the winner's circle this weekend after suffering their first defeat of 2000 at Sears Point.
The Dodge Viper GTS division duo were toppled by team-mates American Tommy Archer and David Donohue in the last round.
Local Canadian hero Ron Fellows will take the fight to the Vipers in the GTS class aboard his Corvette he will share with Andy Pilgrim.
Controversy reigns in the GT division with the BMW M3 of Boris Said and veteran Hans Stuck disqualified from their Sears Point victory for running an over-sized fuel tank in their new machine.
That decision mirrors the similar fate which befell the Dick Barbour Racing Porsche GT3-R or Dirk Muller, Lucas Luhr and Bob Wollek who were disqualified from the Le Mans 24 Hour despite taking the GT class victory.
Australia's own Le Mans Series team Skea Racing, will also be out to atone after its both cars failed to finish at Sears Point.
Johnny Mowlem and David Murry have a string of runner-up positions in the championship to date, but will be keen to bounce back in Canada to challenge for victory.
Race fans can tune into a live race commentary of the event via Radio Le Mans at http://www.americanlemans.com/pages/00live/index.html
Le Mans style racing features three different classes competing in the one race, Prototypes (Panoz, Audi, BMW, Cadillac), GTS (Dodge Viper, Corvette, Porsche) and the production based GT class (BMW and Porsche).
The Adelaide event - the final round of the 2000 championship - will be an outstanding New Year's Eve party with planning underway on fashion parades, food and wine exhibitions, street parties, fireworks displays, on-track entertainment and a spectacular after-race concert celebration.
PROTOTYPE POINTS AFTER ROUND FIVE: Jorg Muller 124, JJ Lehto 122, Jan Magnussen 110, David Brabham 109, Frank Biela 108, Emanuele Pirro 106, Alan McNish 99, Rinaldo Capello 96, Bill Auberlen 81, Jean-Marc Gounon 73,