Porsche, Penske to jump into prototype racing

Penske Motorsports, Inc. will return to sportscar racing with Porsche: the historic announcement was made at Road Atlanta on the opening day of the second round of American Le Mans Series competition this season. The two powerhouses in racing...

Penske Motorsports, Inc. will return to sportscar racing with Porsche: the historic announcement was made at Road Atlanta on the opening day of the second round of American Le Mans Series competition this season.

The two powerhouses in racing have formed the partnership to compete in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class. Penske Motorsports plans to run their first race at the Petit Le Mans in October at the Road Atlanta road course -- a 1,000-mile or 10-hour endurance run, whichever comes first.

"Our American racing customers have made it clear to us that they would like to move up several levels in the ALMS competition, as would we. We believe this new Porsche prototype program will provide the means to do so," commented Porsche Cars North America President and CEO Peter Schwarzenbauer.

ALMS President and CEO, Scott Atherton expressed the series' excitement in Friday's announcement: "Porsche's return to prototype racing is the culmination of a process in which we have been involved with every step of the way. It is not possible to put into words what this means for the American Le Mans Series."

Porsche has won five manufacturer GT (GT2 in 2006) titles over the past six years. The German manufacturer holds the all-time record for race wins.

And how many of us do not recall the former Porsche 962? The competition in International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) between Porsche and Ferrari has long been stamped in the memory of many endurance fans worldwide.

Roger Penske, of course, is not new to endurance or sportscar racing, either. The top racing organization currently fields a winning team in the Indy Racing League. Penske Racing, Inc. has a rich history of success, much of that with Porsche.

The two joined forces back in 1972 and 1973 to notch race victories in the former Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Can-Am Series.

"The fact that Porsche is returning with a racing program in the LMP2 class in 2006 was going to be a big announcement all by itself," said Atherton, "but to add Penske Motorsports' involvement beginning this year in Atlanta at Petit Le Mans makes this one of the most significant developments in the history of the American Le Mans Series.

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