MONTEREY, Calif. -- Sept. 6, 2001 -- Although the shoe is on the other foot this year, Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche driver Sascha Maassen is planning for two good finishes to end the 2001 American Le Mans Series season and bring him the ...
MONTEREY, Calif. -- Sept. 6, 2001 -- Although the shoe is on the other foot this year, Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche driver Sascha Maassen is planning for two good finishes to end the 2001 American Le Mans Series season and bring him the championship which got away a year ago.
"With a good points lead going into the last event in 2000, all we had to do is finish in the top five to win the title," said Maassen, who co-drove a Dick Barbour Porsche with the late Bob Wollek.
"We had finished in the top three all year, winning many of the events, but lost the clutch near the end of the Adelaide race, losing the title. Now I am behind by 11 points with two events to go, but I have the same chance to overtake the leaders, and there are some extra advantages on my side," said Maassen.
One of those advantages is the win that he and co-driver Lucas Luhr scored at the European Le Mans event at Donington Park in April. The team can substitute those 25 points for one of its lesser finishes in the U.S. series. Current points leader and BMW driver Jorg Muller can only substitute 21 points (from his second-place finish from Jarama in Spain), so Maassen has a built-in four point advantage in the final point totals.
Also, the ten-hour Petit Le Mans event in October at Road Atlanta -- the ALMS finale -- has traditionally been a strong Porsche event, with Alex Job Racing winning there in 1999. Because of the length of that race, ALMS awards an extra five points to all finishing totals.
Sascha Maassen, the German-born driver now living in Belgium, put his Porsche on the pole at Laguna Seca Raceway at year ago, but a BMW won the event. This year, he hopes to repeat the pole performance, and upset the BMWs in the winner's circle with co-driver Lucas Luhr in their #23 Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Maassen/Luhr have scored three wins this year - the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Grand Prix of Texas, and the European Le Mans event at Donington Park in England.
With Randy Pobst and Christian Menzel sharing the driving, the #22 Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS entry, which scored an impressive third place at the most recent event at Mid-Ohio, should also be in the GT class hunt, especially since Pobst has raced a lot of miles at Laguna Seca.
The #30 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RS will have two winning drivers at the helm as 1999 ALMS Laguna GT winner Johnny Mowlem pairs with 20 year-old German Timo Bernhard, who won a Porsche Carrera Cup race just two weeks ago at the famed Nurburgring. Bernhard, who has won the last three Carrera Cup races there, leads that series in Europe.
Kevin Buckler, from Sonoma, Calif., owns a two-car Porsche 911 GT3 RS team called The Racers Group, and he is fielding both entries with Northern California drivers. The #66 car will be driven by Buckler and Tyler McQuarrie, from Walnut Creek, while the #67 Porsche will be shared by Robert Orcutt from Santa Cruz and Tony Colicchio from Berkeley.
Other Porsche 911 GT3 RS entries include the 2001 Le Mans-winning team -- Canadian-based Seikel Motorsports -- with Tony Burgess from Toronto and Andrew Bagnall from New Zealand sharing the driving chores (the Italian drivers Rosa/Babini/Drudi won Le Mans in the car); a Dick Barbour Racing entry with Randy Wars from Mexico City and Mark Neuhaus, from Sun Valley, ID; and the Kyser Racing entry of Kye Wankum from Toronto and Joe Foster from Atlanta.
Practice starts on Friday afternoon, September 7, with final qualifying for the ALMS Monterey Sports Car Championships taking place Saturday at 4:50 PM PDT for Sunday's event.
The ALMS Monterey Sports Car Championships will be telecast live on the NBC television network starting at 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday, September 9 (check local listings for the exact time and channel in your area). The race, along with qualifying sessions starting September 8, will be broadcast live on the American Le Mans Radio Network, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. That same American Le Mans Series Web site will also have live timing and scoring during qualifying and the race event.
The official Porsche Web site -- www.porsche.com -- will have qualifying information on the ALMS Monterey Sports Car Championships for all the Porsches entered, and will file stories and photos during and after the race. Porsche Web site users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.
Other Web sites that will follow the overall event include the American Le Mans site mentioned above, TotalMotorsport (www.totalmotorsport.com); The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), the Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).