Series teams 2009 Le Mans news 2009-02-26

SERIES WELL REPRESENTED AT LE MANS The entry list for this year's running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is officially released with teams from the American Le Mans Series in prime positions to once again bring class championships back to the...

SERIES WELL REPRESENTED AT LE MANS

The entry list for this year's running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is officially released with teams from the American Le Mans Series in prime positions to once again bring class championships back to the United States.

The GT classes see the heaviest concentration of American Le Mans Series content. As expected, Corvette Racing is the early favorite to capture its sixth GT1 championship with two Corvette C6.Rs. Le Mans will be the final race for GM's factory road-racing team in the class with a move to GT2 coming in August at Mid-Ohio.

The team announced its driver pairings earlier this year - Antonio Garcia will join defending Series GT1 champions Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen in one car with Marcel Fässler alongside Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin in the other Corvette.

In GT2, defending Le Mans class winner Risi Competizione will enter two Ferrari F430 GTs, two of nine in the class for the Italian marque. Jaime Melo, Mika Salo and Gianmaria Bruni posted an eight-lap victory in 2008, a year after the trio of Nic Jonsson, Colin Braun and Tracy Krohn placed second in GT2.

Flying Lizard Motorsports, last year's GT2 champion in the American Le Mans Series, will race at Le Mans for the fifth consecutive year with a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

In addition, the Dale White-managed Drayson Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT2, which will compete at Sebring, Petit Le Mans and the Monterey Sports Car Championships, received its first Le Mans entry. UK Minister of Science and Innovation Paul Drayson will contest with Jonny Cocker and a yet-to-be-named third driver.

The LMP1 ranks, of course, will see the battle between long-time American Le Mans Series force Audi against Peugeot and Aston Martin's new prototype. Last year's Series LMP1 champions Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner will play a leading role in the Audi factory effort alongside former Series champions and defending Le Mans winners Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish.

The world will see a preview of the diesel battle when Audi debuts its new R15 TDI against Peugeot and P1 newcomer Acura with its ARX-02a at the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on March 21.

Speaking of Acura, Patron Highcroft Racing's David Brabham is part of Peugeot's Le Mans lineup in one of the factory's three 908 HDi prototype coupes.

North Carolina-based Creation Autosportif received a berth in LMP1. The Creation-Judd will carry the American flag as a US entrant.

Dyson Racing's Guy Smith also has a secured a Le Mans ride with Quifel-ASM in LMP2 for the second straight season but first with a new Ginetta-Zytek 09S.

The American Le Mans Series is based on the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans and operates on a long-running agreement with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) - the creator and organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 10 seasons since its inception (1999-2008), the competitive impact of the American Le Mans Series on the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been significant. In addition to eight overall victories, the Series has claimed a total of 24 class championships in the world's most famous auto race.

The American Le Mans Series will open its 11th season with the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 21. SPEED will televise the race live from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-11 p.m. ET. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com. Sebring also will mark the debut of the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge for 2009.

Tickets are available at sebringraceway.com or by calling (800) 626-RACE. A limited number of hotel rooms and rental condos are still available. Information is available by contacting the Sebring Chamber of Commerce at (863) 385-8448.

-credit: alms

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