TOGETHER AGAIN: MAASSEN, LUHR TO DRIVE PORSCHE RS SPYDER IN LAST TWO ALMS RACES OF 2005
Braselton, Ga. - When it comes to motorsports, Porsche does its business the right way and the winning way based on its performance in the American Le Mans Series. So the drivers that the German manufacturer has named to pilot its new LMP2 race car when it debuts in the final two ALMS races of 2005 should come as no surprise.
Veteran Porsche factory drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr have been named to drive the Penske Motorsports Porsche RS Spyder at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Maassen has 22 career ALMS victories, the most entering this season, and Luhr has 19, including a class victory this year at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Twice, they have teamed to win the ALMS GT2 championship, and they joined with Emannuel Collard to win in GT2 at Le Mans in 2003 and at Sebring in 2001. Collard will make Petit Le Mans a reunion for the trio when he joins Maassen and Luhr in the new prototype at Road Atlanta.
"No other drivers in the history of the American Le Mans Series personify Porsche like Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "They have been one of the most successful pairings in the ALMS with 14 GT2 victories together, plus a class win at Le Mans. Having Penske Motorsports team with Porsche in this historic venture was a huge positive in itself for the American Le Mans Series. Bringing Lucas and Sascha into the fold, along with Emmanuel Collard at Petit Le Mans, only will increase the excitement for our fans and sponsors."
Luhr and Maassen recently tested the Porsche RS Spyder on the famed 2.603-mile, 13-turn Formula 1 track in Estoril, Portugal. Also on hand for the first tests of the Porsche LMP2 prototype was Peter Schwarzenbauer, president of Porsche Cars North America, who commissioned Porsche to build the car for Porsche customer race teams in the ALMS.
All parties present were pleased with the three-day test session, expressing satisfaction with the performance of the car's completely new 3.4-liter V8 engine, sequential six-speed transmission and carbon fiber chassis.
The first track test session of the Porsche RS Spyder saw a truly international motorsport gathering of participants from Germany, the United States, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, Holland, France and England. They included engine, transmission, suspension, aerodynamic, and race engineers and technicians from Porsche AG, as well as race engineers and technicians from Penske Motorsports.
The Estoril test was the first event in a testing program in 2005 for the new Porsche RS Spyder that includes sessions at other major venues in Europe and America, and concludes with the two races at Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca. This program serves as a prelude to a two-car Penske Motorsports Porsche LMP2 effort that will contest the entire 2006 ALMS season.
"If anyone has been a student of the way Penske goes racing, you know that it is second-to-none," Atherton said. "How they will approach the American Le Mans Series is a point of curiosity for all of us. The expectations are very high, but I don't think anyone will be disappointed."
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Portland Grand Prix set for July 28-30 at Portland International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel from 8 to 11 p.m. EDT July 30, the first prime-time broadcast for an ALMS race. Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.
The American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Series is a series of sports car endurance racing events patterned after the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. ALMS events feature multi-class racing among the world's most elite sports car racing drivers and teams. The starting lineup for every event includes both factory and privateer racing teams competing for overall wins as well as wins in one of four classes of competition.
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
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 207 U.S. and Canadian dealers. They, in turn, provide Porsche owners with best-in-class service.