Portland test notes

American Le Mans Series Teams Hit Portland For Pirelli Testing Portland, OR - Terry Borcheller won the GTS class championship of the American Le Mans Series in 2001, the last year that the series raced at Portland International...

American Le Mans Series Teams Hit Portland For Pirelli Testing

Portland, OR - Terry Borcheller won the GTS class championship of the American Le Mans Series in 2001, the last year that the series raced at Portland International Raceway.

After spending Tuesday testing at the 1.944-mile road course in preparation for the return of the ALMS to Portland in July, Borcheller was asked if the track had changed since the 2001 race.

"There's a train station there now," the Florida native said with a smile. "But the track is still the same."

Borcheller and co-driver Johnny Mowlem tested tires for Pirelli in the ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen S7R, a GTS class entry in the ALMS, while GT-class team Risi Competizione tested a Ferrari 360 Modena with drivers Anthony Lazzaro and Ralf Kelleners. The two teams were the first from the sports car racing series to test at Portland since it was announced last October that the historic track in America's Pacific Northwest would return to the ALMS schedule in 2004.

The Grand Prix of Portland will be run July 23-25, with a two hour, 45-minute timed race for the ALMS held on Sunday, July 25.

"I'm so glad we had the opportunity to test here now, instead of waiting closer to the race," he said. "It's important for us to gather good information on a tire for Pirelli and also to help the race team. It was a very good test and let us know a lot of things we need to work up to for the race.

"Portland is one of the best places to test because you always struggle for grip here," he said. "You can gather data here that helps in a lot of areas."

The ACEMCO team raced in the GT class of the ALMS last year with a Ferrari, but team owner Jeff Giangrande joined with American muscle car manufacturer Saleen to move to the GTS class for 2004. Despite various teething problems during the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the team finished third in class, though Borcheller cautioned that the mighty factory Chevrolet Corvettes will still be tough to beat when the ALMS resumes its schedule in late June at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

"We'll definitely need some more time, but we're improving," he said. "We've changed some major areas in the car and we're working all the time to get better."

The ALMS competed at Portland in its inaugural season of 1999, as well as in 2000 and 2001, but did not visit in either 2002 or 2003. The Portland event is Round Five of a nine-race schedule for the series in 2004 and follows an event the previous weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

The racing weekend at Portland International Raceway will also include many fan activities, such as a driver autograph session and Fan Forum on Saturday. In addition, many activities are planned for the Portland area during the week leading up to the event, providing Portland-area residents the opportunity to see cars up-close and meet drivers.

Event ticket information is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling (503) 232-3000.

-alms-

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