Wacky Weather Intervenes in ALMS Long Beach Qualifying as Grid Positions are Determined by Current Point Standings; Paul Miller, Flying Lizard Porsches Fifth and Six in GT For Race
Long Beach, CA – April 13, 2012 – After a steady downpour for morning practice, the American Le Mans GT field was hoping for a dry track for late afternoon qualifying at the Long Beach Grand Prix street circuit, but the rain gods had other plans, and qualifying was washed out for tomorrow’s two-hour race.
Instead of using qualifying times, or even morning practice times, the grid positions will be determined by the points from the previous event – the 12 Hours of Sebring. Thus, the Joey Hand/Dirk Mueller BMW is on the pole, and the top Porsche will be the #48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Bryce Miller/Sascha Maassen, starting fifth. Next to them on the third road will be the #44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Seth Neiman/Marco Holzer, with the #17 Team Falken Tire Porsche eighth and the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister/Patrick Long tenth.
At Sebring, the Falken car lost an engine just before the start of the race, and then had to stop to replace a broken motor mount, while the Long/Bergmeister car was hit from behind just before the green flag dropped, sustaining heavy rear end damage.
With different versions of the Porsche 911 race car participating in two classes of this second round of the American Le Mans Series, Porsche entrants represent almost one-third of the Long Beach entry. The field will take the green flag this Saturday, April 14, at 4:30 PM local time (7:30 PM Eastern time).
As the top model of Porsche Motorsport’s customer racing vehicles, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR heads into the 2012 racing season with extensive modifications. Particularly noticeable is that the width of the body has grown by 48 millimeters. The aerodynamic concept is complemented by a new ducting of the intake air. The particularly efficient six-cylinder boxer engine, with a mandatory air-restrictor, generates 460 hp (338 kW) and drives the 310 millimeter-wide rear wheels. The diameter of the front wheels has increased to 680 millimeters.
In the ALMS GT Challenge class for matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars, the field is wide open as all six entries have a chance to take the GTC crown. Leading the points after their second place finish at Sebring is the Alex Job Racing WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen, with the Green Hornet Racing Porsche of Peter LaSaffre/Damien Faulkner, who finished their race at Sebring just behind MacNeil/Keen and trail the WestherTech drivers by just three points, contesting the GTC class as well. Those two cars will occupy the first two positions as a result of their Sebring finish.
Other GTC entries include the JDX Racing Porsche of Chris Cumming/Michael Valiante, who finished ahead of the field in their qualifying session, but all the times were thrown out when ALMS cancelled the session; the Competition Motorsports Porsche of Bob Faieta/Michael Avenatti; the GMG Porsche of James Sofronas/Alex Welch; and the TRG Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly/Emilio Di Guida, and the NGT Motorsport Porsche of Angel Andres Benitez, Jr./Angel Rafael Benitez.