PENSKE, PORSCHE ANNOUNCE CHAMPIONSHIP-CALIBER LINEUP FOR LMP2 EFFORT IN 2006 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES
Braselton, Ga. - For its first full season of competition in the American Le Mans Series, the driver lineup for Penske Motorsports' two Porsche RS Spyder prototypes has a true championship look. Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr will return to the series in one of the team's LMP2 entries, with the other in the hands of Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas.
In addition, Emmanuel Collard and Patrick Long, Porsche's only American factory driver, will join Penske Motorsports for the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
The six drivers have combined for 70 class victories in the American Le Mans Series, six class championships and four class wins at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Maassen and Luhr drove the No. 6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder to a P2 win in the season-ending Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October. In its test race, the Porsche RS Spyder captured the class pole position and posted the fastest lap of the race in P2.
Maassen, originally from Germany and now living in Belgium, is the most successful GT2 driver in American Le Mans Series history with 22 class victories. He has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and is a four-time winner at Sebring. Luhr, born in Germany and now living in Monaco, has won at Sebring five times and also is a past Le Mans champion. In 2002 and '03, they teamed to win the American Le Mans Series' GT championship.
Bernhard, another German, and Frenchman Dumas teamed in 2005 in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Together, they won four times in a row (Mid-Ohio, Lime Rock, Infineon and Portland) on their way to a second-place finish in the drivers championship. Bernhard won the 2004 GT drivers championship.
Collard, originally from France and now living in England, won in GT at the 2004 Petit Le Mans with Maassen and Luhr.
Long, who lives in Las Vegas, teamed with Jorg Bergmeister to win five times for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. That was good enough to win the GT2 drivers championship for each and the team championship, too. They also were named to the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's All-America first team. Long also is a past class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Petersen/White Lightning.
The Penske Porsche RS Spyder is supported by Porsche's racing partners led by DHL Global Mail, Mobil 1, Hyatt Hotels, Michelin, and ZF Sachs AG.
The American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Series is the premium brand of motorsport in North America, featuring high-tech sports cars from the most prestigious manufacturers in the world. Its four unique classes of competition showcase exotic, open-top prototypes and sophisticated production-based GT cars, all competing on the track at the same time. The American Le Mans Series competes at the premier road racing tracks across North America and at selected temporary street circuits in major urban markets. With a television package that includes five network broadcasts on CBS and five broadcasts on SPEED Channel, plus live broadcasts across Europe, the series delivers a global marketing platform that is unmatched in motorsports. The series, founded in 1999 by Georgia entrepreneur Don Panoz, represents a mirror image to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world's most famous and authentic automobile races. The American Le Mans Series features elite marques such as Audi, Porsche, Corvette, Aston Martin and Panoz, and premium brands such as Michelin, Pirelli, Jean-Richard Swiss Watches and many others.
Porsche Cars North America
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga., and its subsidiary, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd., are the exclusive importers of Porsche sports cars and Cayenne® sport utility vehicles for the United States and Canada. A wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG, PCNA employs approximately 300 people who provide Porsche vehicles, parts, service, marketing and training for its 209 U.S. and Canadian dealers. They, in turn, provide Porsche owners with best-in-class service.