J3 RACING'S SUGDEN WINS PORSCHE CUP; EIGHT AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES DRIVERS FINISH IN TOP 10
Eight Porsche drivers who regularly competed in the American Le Mans Series in 2005 were among the top 10 finishers in the 2005 Porsche Cup, announced Saturday at the manufacturer's annual banquet in Weissach, Germany. Tim Sugden, who drove for J3 Racing in the series' GT2 class, won the annual award that goes to the top private Porsche driver.
The 41-year-old Sugden, a resident of Great Britain, finished sixth in the American Le Mans Series' GT2 drivers championship standings. He finished second -- with Nic Jonnson -- at the 53rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the No. 79 J3 Racing Porsche. Sugden and Justin Jackson were third in class at Mid-Ohio, the third round of the American Le Mans Series.
Sugden also finished second in the FIA GT Championship's GT2 drivers standings. He and Emmanuel Collard won five times in Europe.
Patrick Long, who won the American Le Mans Series' GT2 drivers championship with Jorg Bergmeister for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing, was second in the Porsche Cup standings. He was only a few points ahead of Bergmeister, who was third.
The two won the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans, along with three other GT2 races during the 2005 season. They finished off of the class podium just once in 10 races. Long, who will be a third driver in one of Penske Racing's Porsche RS Spyders in LMP2 next year, and Bergmeister also finished second in GT2 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Wolf Henzler was the next highest-finishing driver from the American Le Mans Series. The German was sixth in the Porsche Cup after competing in the last half of the series with BAM! in its No. 43 Porsche. Henzler, who teamed with Mike Rockenfeller, finished fourth in the American Le Mans Series' GT2 drivers championship. He and Rockenfeller finished second in class at Portland and third at Infineon, Mosport and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Other American Le Mans Series drivers who finished in the Porsche Cup's top 10 standings include Johannes van Overbeek (seventh), Rockenfeller (eighth), Jon Fogarty (ninth) and Darren Law (10th).
The American Le Mans Series opens the 2006 season with the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, scheduled for March 18 on SPEED Channel. Series teams will have the opportunity to test at the second annual Wheels Down Winter Test from Jan. 23-25 at Sebring International Raceway.