Rule change to benefit privateer prototype teams

INDIANAPOLIS (June 8, 2001) -- Prototype racing teams in the American Le Mans Series that are not fielded by automotive manufacturers will benefit from an increase in horsepower under a new technical regulation that will take effect in the next...

INDIANAPOLIS (June 8, 2001) -- Prototype racing teams in the American Le Mans Series that are not fielded by automotive manufacturers will benefit from an increase in horsepower under a new technical regulation that will take effect in the next series race.

The horsepower increase will come from the use of larger air restrictors by Privateer (non-factory) teams in the LMP (Le Mans Prototype) 900 class. The regulation, which actually reverts to restrictor sizes that were used in 1999, will be implemented in The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma on July 22 at California's Sears Point Raceway.

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and rulesmaker for the American Le Mans Series, worked with officials of the ALMS and Professional Sports Car Racing, Inc., to establish the technical regulation change that will only apply to ALMS events. All manufacturers registered to enter cars in the LMP 900 class agreed to the change.

"We are very pleased with both the ACO and the manufacturers who race with us for their understanding and support of this change," said Scott Atherton, President and COO of the Panoz Motor Sports Group, which includes the ALMS. "We believe the additional horsepower our Privateer LMP 900 competitors will now have will improve the level of competition and strengthen our grids."

Atherton said that the change marks the first time since the formation of the ALMS in 1999 that ALMS officials had requested a technical regulations change from the ACO.

The change will affect race teams using cars with engines from a manufacturer other than that of the chassis, such as those using a Lola chassis with a Judd engine, a Riley & Scott chassis with a Ford engine, a Reynard chassis with an Oldsmobile engine, etc. The change does not apply to hybrid cars entered by the manufacturer of either the chassis or the engine. Privateer status will be determined by Professional Sports Car Racing in consultation with the ACO.

The change in air restrictor size will not be in effect for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 6. Because the race is a qualifying event for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it must be run adhering to ACO regulations in their entirety.

"In international racing at the highest level, it's unusual to change rules after the season has started," said Doug Robinson, Managing Director of Professional Sports Car Racing. "But many of the privateer teams have cars that were built in 1999 before air restrictor sizes were reduced to their current levels. The change is to help private teams race the cars they have and get more performance out of them.

"We feel that this change presents a relatively inexpensive way for the private teams to increase their participation and competitiveness," he said. "Many of them raced the cars in 1999 and still have the information they will need to operate under those restrictor regulations. They probably won't have to spend a lot of money on dynos or testing."

-ALMS

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