** INTENSE POINT BATTLES MOVE TO CALIFORNIA -- Intense battles are raging for the various championships in the American Le Mans Series, and the final two races of the 2001 season will play huge roles in determining who takes home the trophies at...
** INTENSE POINT BATTLES MOVE TO CALIFORNIA -- Intense battles are raging for the various championships in the American Le Mans Series, and the final two races of the 2001 season will play huge roles in determining who takes home the trophies at the Oct. 7 series awards banquet.
Didier de Radigues has clinched the driving title in the LMP 675 class, but titles are still in doubt in the other three classes of the series with six of the eight North American rounds of the ALMS having been run. Current point totals reflect the best six finishes and can include one of two European Le Mans Series races run earlier this season as a replacement for a poor finish in an ALMS race.
In the LMP 900 class, Audi teammates Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen are tied with 149 points entering this Sunday's event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Though they were separated in the 12 Hours at Sebring, which Capello won, Kristensen has set the fast lap in four races, and led the most laps twice, both good for bonus points. Audi driver Emanuele Pirro is third with 144 points, followed by Audi's Frank Biela with 139 and Panoz driver Jan Magnussen with 128.
De Radigues, who has won four rounds of the ALMS in the LMP 675 class, and also has a win from the ELMS race at Jarama to use as a substitute, has 129 points and cannot be overtaken by any other driver in the last two races. He becomes the first driving champion of the LMP 675 class, and the title marks the second year in a row for a Dick Barbour Racing driver to earn an ALMS championship. DBR teammates John Graham and Milka Duno are tied for second place with 71 points.
Based on setting the fast lap in the first race of the year at Texas, Ron Fellows leads the GTS class driver standings by one point (150-149) over Corvette Racing teammate Johnny O'Connell. Saleen driver Terry Borcheller is third with 134.
In the GT class, BMW Motorsport driver Jorg Muller leads with 140, one point ahead of teammate JJ Lehto. Muller's advantage comes from the bonus point he received for setting the fastest race lap at Sebring. Alex Job Racing/McKenna Porsche driver Sascha Maassen is third at 134.
** DICK BARBOUR RACING SHUFFLES DRIVER LINEUP -- Dick Barbour Racing, which fields two Reynard 01Q-Judd machines in the LMP 675 class of the ALMS, has shuffled its driver lineup for this weekend's event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Didier de Radigues, who has already clinched the LMP 675 driver's title for 2001, will be paired with Milka Duno for the Laguna Seca event. In the other car, guest driver Scott Maxwell will join with regular Barbour pilot John Graham, creating an all-Canadian driving team.
Bruno Lambert, who joined the Barbour team at Mosport and has teamed with de Radigues to win the last two races, is not available for the Laguna Seca event due to a previous commitment. In Lambert's absence, Barbour brought in Maxwell and switched the driver pairings. Maxwell drove a Prototype in several ALMS races in 1999. Lambert will be back with the team for the Audi Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October and is a permanent member of the team, according to team owner Barbour.
** ARCHANGEL MOTORSPORT ENTERS ALMS FINALE -- Archangel Motorsport, two-time SRPII champions in the Grand-Am Series, has entered the American Le Mans Series season finale, the Oct. 6 Audi Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
The team has entered a Lola B2K/40 powered by a 3.0-liter Nissan V-6 in the LMP 675 class. Based at the Road Atlanta Industrial Park, Archangel will enter their car in Grand-Am trim rather than converting it to LMP 675 specifications. The Archangel Lola will be approximately 100 pounds heavier than the LMP 675 cars and will produce about 150 less horsepower.
"Even though we will be heavier and produce less horsepower than the 675 cars, I think we have a shot at the podium," said team owner Mike Johnson. "If things go our way, we'll be on the top step. We'll do it the Archangel way - no mistakes, good pit stops, steady performance.
"I've attended the Petit Le Mans every year, and we're finally getting a chance to compete," he said. "The ALMS has done a really good job of putting on events - they're very professional, and the racing is great. We look forward to being part of it."
No drivers have been confirmed for Archangel's entry into the Audi Petit Le Mans, but Ben Devlin is likely to be one of the driving trio. Devlin has won two of the last three Grand-Am SRPII events.
MOTOR SPORTS WEEKLY REACHES MILESTONE -- Motor Sports Weekly, a popular syndicated motorsports television program in the United States, broadcast its 100th show this past weekend, a milestone in its four-year existence.
The magazine-format show includes features on many forms of racing, including the American Le Mans Series. It airs in 150 markets and has an audience of more than 1.5 million weekly viewers.
"When we first started out, we had no idea how strongly we'd be embraced by the motorsports community," said Jeff Fortune, executive producer and creator of the show. "Now, four years later, our acceptance into the racing community has been outstanding. We've obviously found a niche with the fans and the sponsors."
** MINI LE MANS COMING TO SAN JOSE -- As has become a tradition when the American Le Mans Series races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the downtown area of nearby San Jose, Calif., will be the site for the "Mini Le Mans" event on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Cars from the ALMS and other series racing that weekend will do parade laps around Cesar Chavez Park beginning at noon, and will then be on display as drivers meet fans and sign autographs. The event has been very popular the past two years, with many race fans making plans to come out and see the cars and drivers. In addition, many downtown workers visit the event during their lunch breaks.
The Monterey Sports Car Championships, Presented by Mazda, will be held at the raceway on Sunday, Sept. 9.
** DRIVERS TO RACE AGAINST FANS, MEDIA IN SAN JOSE -- Drivers from the American Le Mans Series and the Trans-Am Series will be at the Speedring indoor karting facility in San Jose on Wednesday, Sept. 5, to both race and meet fans.
The Speedring has a wide, quarter-mile go-kart course, and the professional drivers will compete against members of the San Jose-area media from 5-6 p.m. After that, race fans in attendance will have their chance to race against the drivers from 6-8 p.m.
Similar events at karting facilities were held in conjunction with recent ALMS races at Portland and Mosport and they have been popular with drivers, fans and media.
TV, RADIO WEB INFORMATION -- Sunday's Monterey Sports Car Championships from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will start at 12 noon (PDT). NBC Sports will have live television coverage of the event from 4-6 p.m. (EDT), while live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.
Highlights of the race will be shown on Eurosport on Sunday, September 16, at 22:00 (CET).