There are few events that drivers in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón look forward to more than the annual stop at Road America. The historic 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is one of the best in the world. It’s sure to test the 36 cars entered for the Road America Road Race Showcase with long straights, high speeds, challenging corners and thrilling finishes!
Case in point: last year’s four-hour race ended with the closest finish in ALMS history. Muscle Milk’s Klaus Graf nipped Dyson Racing’s Guy Smith at the finish by a mere 0.112 seconds. Both teams are on this year’s entry list – Muscle Milk with its Honda Performance Development ARX-03a prototype and Dyson Racing with two Mazda-powered Lola coupes.
Graf and Lucas Luhr head to Road America riding a five-race win streak and with the P1 championship lead over Smith and Chris Dyson in Dyson’s No. 16 entry. Eric Lux, Michael Marsal and Tony Burgess drive the No. 20 Dyson entry.
The GT championship swung back in the favor of Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner at Mid-Ohio. The duo took their third victory of season in the No. 4 Corvette C6 ZR1 and regained the driver’s championship lead over Corvette teammates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen.
BMW Team RLL won at Road America in 2009 and 2010 before it finished second last year. Joey Hand and Dirk Müller stand second in this year’s GT championship on the strength of a season-opening victory at Sebring, a runner-up finish at Long Beach and a third-place showing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
With Ferrari having won the GT race in 2011 at Road America, Extreme Speed Motorsports hopes to make it to two straight for the F458 Italia. Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek were winners two rounds ago at CTMP.
Porsche and Lotus also will be on the Road America grid along with the newest GT competitor – SRT Motorsports. The two Viper GTS-R racers debuted at Mid-Ohio with one finishing 10th in class.
The P2 class has a back-and-forth fight of its own between Level 5 Motorsports and Conquest Endurance. At Mid-Ohio, Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut returned Level 5 to its winning ways after Conquest’s Martin Plowman and David Heinemeier-Hansson won two weeks earlier in Canada.
Two of Level 5’s HPD ARX03b prototypes will go up against Conquest’s Morgan-Nissan. They aren’t alone, however. Dempsey Racing will field its Lola-Judd coupe for team co-owner and Hollywood star Patrick Dempsey and co-principal Joe Foster.
CORE autosport can move closer to repeating as Prototype Challenge champion at Road America. Driver Alex Popow leads the class driver’s championship with podium finishes in all six rounds this season, including two victories in the No. 06 ORECA FLM09. Teammates Colin Braun and team owner Jon Bennett in the No. 05 entry stand second in the championship with two wins of their own.
CORE’s closest competitor in the team title chase is PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports. The pairing of Marino Franchitti and Rudy Junco won at Mid-Ohio, and Junco is a defending PC race-winner at Road America (he drove with Butch Leitzinger).
In GT Challenge, Alex Job Racing can inch closer to its first ALMS title since 2004 with a strong showing at Road America. Championship leader Cooper MacNeil is set to team in the No. 22 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Jeroen Bleekemolen – a winner at Mid-Ohio for JDX Racing.
TRG is only 11 points back in the team championship and will enter the No. 66 Porsche for Spencer Pumpelly and Emilio di Guida. There is a newcomer in the class for Road America – TruSpeed Motorsports’ No. 80 Porsche for Tom Haacker and Alex Figge. They took part in an ALMS test day at Viriginia International Raceway in June as preparation for a race debut.
The Road America Road Race Showcase is the seventh round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. The four-hour race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Aug. 18. ESPN2’s telecast begins at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 19. Full, live coverage starts at 3:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
Source: American Le Mans