NA-F2000: Mid-Ohio pre-event notes

AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES TEAMS HEAD TO MID-OHIO FOR ONE OF THE LARGEST SPORTS CAR RACE WEEKENDS IN NORTH AMERICA Dublin, Ohio (May 19, 2006) -- With an estimated 279 cars competing this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in Lexington,...

AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES TEAMS HEAD TO MID-OHIO FOR ONE OF THE LARGEST SPORTS CAR RACE WEEKENDS IN NORTH AMERICA

Dublin, Ohio (May 19, 2006) -- With an estimated 279 cars competing this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in Lexington, Ohio, the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio will be one of the largest sports car race weekends in North America.

Not only will there be a large number of competitors, cars and teams, but all major automotive manufacturers in the world will have a factory team competing in one of 10 races at the newly repaved 2.25-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course circuit.

The American Le Mans Series teams are coming off a Friday night stint in Houston, where the Audi R8 survived the attrition that claimed its closest competitors to send Allan McNish and Dindo Capello to their second straight victory at the Lone Star Grand Prix. After winning in the debut of the diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI at Sebring, McNish and Capello piloted the No. 2 Audi Sport North America Team Champion Audi R8 to an overall win at Houston and they'll attempt to make it three-for-three when they hit the most competitive road course in the country at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend.

The Audi R8 is going for its third victory at Mid-Ohio in Series competition as the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio will mark the second race of the Audi R8's three-race 'farewell tour.' With 48 American Le Mans Series victories since 2000, plus five overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the R8 will give way to the new diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI starting in July.

Chris Dyson, Guy Smith, James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger will look for redemption this weekend after a disappointing run in Houston as Dyson Racing returns to the scene of its historic 1-2 overall finish in the 2005 American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio event.

"I think we should have a very competitive package at Mid-Ohio. Our Lolas have always done well here and last year's results couldn't have been better. We're looking to repeat the 2005 result and put ourselves in the strongest position to fight for the American Le Mans Series LMP1 title," said driver Chris Dyson. "Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite tracks to drive in a Le Mans Prototype: fast, demanding, and very technical. As a team we always seem to have a strong car here, so we are all optimistic about a strong showing."

Good news continues with local team Intersport Racing, as Clint Field and Liz Halliday claimed their second straight LMP2 win in Houston. As the Penske Porsches suffered drivetrain problems within the last 30 minutes, Field steered his AER-powered Lola B05/40 to win for the 14th time in his career. B-K Motorsports placed second in class as Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo finished two laps behind Intersport in their No. 8 Mazda-powered Courage C65. B-K Motorsports will return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend as returning LMP2 class champs.

Penske Racing will race for the first time in the Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where it has 12 professional wins since 1967. The team has two Mid-Ohio SCCA USRRC wins, two Mid-Ohio SCCA Trans-Am victories, two Mid-Ohio SCCA Can-Am triumphs, and six Mid-Ohio Champ Car wins. For 2006, Penske Racing will field two Porsche RS Spyders in LMP2.

The 2006 American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio marks the fifth Series appearance at the classic road course. Twelve previous event winners are entered: Jamie Bach/Guy Cosmo (2005 P2), Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas (2005 GT2), David Brabham (2001 P900 and overall), Ron Fellows/Johnny O'Connell (2001, 2002, 2004 GTS and 2005 GT1), Clint Field (2004 P2), Butch Leitzinger/James Weaver (2005 P1), Chris McMurry (2002 P675), and Johannes van Overbeek (2004 GT)

Also featured throughout the weekend will be several support races including the Cooper Tires Formula Ford 2000 Championship Series, Formula BMW USA, SCCA SPEED World Challenge presented by Trenton Forging, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin, Star Mazda presented by Goodyear and the newly formed IMSA Lites.

-Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

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Series ALMS , Formula BMW , IMSA , Other open wheel , PWC
Drivers David Brabham , Allan McNish , Guy Smith , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Ron Fellows , Guy Cosmo , Timo Bernhard , Johannes van Overbeek , Clint Field , Chris McMurry , Romain Dumas , Liz Halliday , Chris Dyson , Dindo Capello
Teams Team Penske