Porsche Le Mans GT rivals re-join American Le Mans Series teams as U.S. races resume with Road Atlanta stop. ATLANTA - June 25 - Only two weeks after celebrating victory and top finishes in the GT class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the U.S.-based...
Porsche Le Mans GT rivals re-join American Le Mans Series teams as U.S. races resume with Road Atlanta stop.
ATLANTA - June 25 - Only two weeks after celebrating victory and top finishes in the GT class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the U.S.-based Porsche 911 GT3 RS teams - plus a new European participant - return to the American Le Mans Series as the Chevy Grand P rix of Atlanta comes to Road Atlanta on Sunday, June 29.
The recently-added event, which will be broadcast live on CBS television at 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight time, will feature no less than 13 Porsches competing on the 2.54-mile road course northeast of Atlanta, including one piloted by the winning Le Mans GT driver duo of Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen. This pair of drivers are the m ost successful teammates currently driving in the American Le Mans Series, with Luhr having won the 12 Hours of Sebring a record four years in a row, and Maassen now the having more wins than any other driver in ALMS history - a record 16 career victories.
But their moment together at Road Atlanta last October - when they became ALMS GT driver co-champions after winning Petit Le Mans - eclipsed even their most recent success at Le Mans ten days ago.
"Being co-champions and sharing that victory with all the members of Alex Job McKenna Racing team here last year was my best moment in racing so far," said Massen, who is also the only ALMS driver to score a win in every year of ALMS' existence, starting i n 1999. "Lucas has become the ideal teammate," added Maassen, "combining fast with smart to focus on one goal - win the race."
Although they drove for The Racer's Group Porsche team at Le Mans, Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister will be back in their Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche for Road Atlanta - driving against their Le Mans teammates. Timo and Jorg had a disappointing Le Ma ns, finishing fifth after a long pit stop for a clutch change, but they hope to improve on their rookie seasons in ALMS, when mechanical problems kept them from more frequent podium finishes. Bergmeister/Bernhard had one victory a year ago (Road America) and finished fourth and fifth respectively in the final ALMS point standings.
The winning Alex Job entry at Le Mans was in conjunction with Petersen Motorsports of Las Vegas, which actually owned the car. Petersen will return to the ALMS series next month at Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway in Northern California.
Second at Le Mans, and expected to give the Alex Job Porsche a good run at Road Atlanta, is the Orbit Racing YES Network Porsche of Leo Hindery, of New York City, and Peter Baron, of Deerfield Beach, FL. Teamed with Porsche factory pilot Marc Lieb at Le M ans, Hindery and Baron gave the Alex Job car pressure for the entire event, leading the race for more than an hour during the night, but their potential victory was thwarted by two broken radiators which required extended pit stops . The team, which score d its highest finish last year at Mosport (second), is looking for its first ALMS win. The second Orbit Porsche will be driven by the father-son team of Joe and Jay Policastro, from Latrobe, PA, who were busy testing while the rest of the team went to Le Mans. They also entered their Porsche in the Grand-Am race at Birmingham Motorsports Park, and landed their first professional podium finish - a third place in the GT class.
The Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS, headed by owner/driver Kevin Buckler, from Sonoma, CA, will have three cars entered, led by Buckler and 1999 ALMS champion Cort Wagner, from Pacific Palisades, CA. Buckler has won the 24 Hours of Daytona twice - wit h an overall win this year, and the GT class at Le Mans a year ago. A clutch problem this year at Le Mans prevented a four-race winning streak in major 24-hour event. With nine of the ten ALMS races still left in the season, and a top-notch co-driver in Wa gner, Buckler will push hard for the ALMS drivers championship. The other The Racer's Group Porsches will be driven by Michael Schrom/Pierre Ehret and Chris Gleason/Marc Bunting.
Although no strangers to the U.S. or Road Atlanta - as they have run here for both Sebring and Petit Le Mans - the British-based PK Sport team will enter two Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars for the remainder of the ALMS season. The lead car, to be driven by PK Sport regular Robin Liddell, will also feature the ALMS debut of Australian hot-shoe Alex Davison. Davison, who moved from Melbourne to Germany several years ago to further his racing career, had the distinction of winning one of the Porsche Supercup r aces last year at Indianapolis, besting Timo Bernhard by more than four seconds. The second PK Sport car will be driven by San Rafael, CA's Vic Rice, with the second driver still to be named.
Two local teams will also be competing in Porsches, including one team which has its U.S. headquarters on the grounds at Road Atlanta. Seikel Motorsport, with both U.S. and German operations, has its American shop at the entrance to the track in Braselton , GA, and will be fielding a single car with Toronto's Tony Burgess and Phil Collin, from Park Ridge, IL. The other local team, based in Atlanta, in the J-3 Racing Porsche of Justin Jackson, of Buford, GA, and former SCCA World Challenge champion David Mu rry, from Cumming, GA.
Competing in just their second ALMS event after two full seasons in the rival Grand American series is the Chicago-based Zip Racing, which has entered Porsches for Spencer Pumpelly, of Mason Neck, VA, and Andy Lally, of Northport, NY, as well as Brent Sher man, of Barrington, IL, and Romeo Kapudija.
The Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta will be broadcast live on the CBS television network starting at 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight time on Sunday, June 29. The entire event, along with Saturday qualifying, will be broadcast live online on the American Le Mans Radi o Web, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. Live timing and scoring for qualifying and the race are also available at www.americanlemans.com on Saturday and Sunday.
The official Porsche media web site - www.press.porsche.com - will have racing results and photos for the Road Atlanta event for the Porsches entered. Use the word "carrera" for both user name and password, then choose "motorsports news" to find the result s. The same information is posted for consumers on Porsche's main site www.porsche.com/motorsport (click on Porsche Motorsports North America and "race reports").
The official race notes and results for all the classes at the Road Atlanta event can be found on the official site for the American Le Mans Series www.americanlemans.com. .
Other Web sites that will follow the American Le Mans Series include Daily Sports Car (www.dailysportscar.com), The Race Site (www.theracesite.com), the Speed Channel site (www.speedTV.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) , AutoSport magazine's site (www.autosport.com), AutoRacingDaily.com (www.autoracingdaily.com), Motorsport-news.com (www.motorsport-news.com), Crash.net (www.crash.net), racinglines.com (www.racinglines.com), EnduranceSportsCar.com (www.endurancesportscar.com), pitstop.com (www.pit stop.com); and Speed Arena (www.speedarena.com).