RACE OF THE YEAR: THE FANS SPEAK
There is no shortage of anticipation for the start of the 2009 American Le Mans Series. The annual Winter Test at Sebring is three weeks away and the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida a little more than two months after that. What race are fans looking forward to the most? They are speaking loudly and in large volumes, and this represents the first selections of many preseason comments.
"Utah, for it is the track that is the closest to Le Mans. And that in a way, gives the teams a 'Test Race' for the 24 Hours. The track is wide and open, and offers great racing in the corners; I still smile at the many pictures of the opening lap as the cars go into Turn 1 with three or four cars abreast. And if they do go off the track they just lose position without bringing a full course yellow. The second is the Petit Le Mans. There is some history and tradition with this track. The beauty of Georgia in the fall, the view of the cars turning through 'The Esses' and the high-speed stretch on the back make it special."
Salt Lake City
"Lime Rock Park is our favorite race. The camping is free and we are treated as true guests. The whole atmosphere is so laid back and friendly while the on-track action is phenomenal. Watching multiple classes on track overtaking and dodging traffic on this tight narrow 'bullring' of a road course proves that these are the best drivers in the world.
"Sebring is awesome also. We made our first trip there in 2008 and plan to return this year."
"We've been to Petit Le Mans for the past two years and had a terrific time. I plan to attend this coming year as well. We're hoping to see the new Audi R15; I know there is no official plan announced yet, but we're looking forward to having a great time even if Audi doesn't come back to defend its dynasty!"
"Sebring is a first choice because it is such an international race and begins the season. Then, think about it...Lime Rock happens right after the 24 Hours of Le Mans so it is the next logical bench point for the year. Both courses are vastly different and yet exemplify what the American Le Mans Series is all about: long, short, wide, tight...the action is all there from the local to the international. See you at Lime Rock!"
Clifton Park, NY
"I have chosen the 12 Hours of Sebring because I am very interested in the new Audi prototype, and because after the 24 Hours of Le Mans this is the biggest event in my personal motorsports season 2009.
"The second race is Petit Le Mans because of the possibility that Audi and Peugeot will take part in this race! It was an amazing event last year and I hope there will be such an interesting and breathtaking finish." Hendrik Tonjes Blieskastel, Germany
Fans continue to have the opportunity to vote for their most anticipated events of 2009 through the start of the season at americanlemans.com. More comments will be added and published regularly in the lead-up to the Sebring 12 Hours.