BRASELTON, Ga. (March 21, 2002) -- The first day of Spring brought great news from France for 17 American Le Mans Series racing teams that have been selected to compete in the 70th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Selection Committee of...
BRASELTON, Ga. (March 21, 2002) -- The first day of Spring brought great news from France for 17 American Le Mans Series racing teams that have been selected to compete in the 70th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Selection Committee of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizer of the French endurance racing classic, announced the 48 cars that will race in the June 15-16 event this morning. The committee chose from 96 entry requests.
In addition to 17 teams that regularly compete in American Le Mans Series events, the list of 48 also includes many teams that compete in selected ALMS races, including last week's season-opening 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Dodge. ALMS teams are represented in four of the five classes of race cars that will compete at Le Mans.
As an element of the strong relationship between the American Le Mans Series and the ACO, teams that regularly compete in ALMS races receive special consideration in the selection process.
Heading the selected list is Audi, which has won the race the past two years and started 2002 with a victory at Sebring. Audi Sport Team Joest will run two cars and Audi Sport North America will run one. Audi has won the driver, team and manufacturer titles in the ALMS the past two seasons in the LMP 900 class.
Also selected for the LMP 900 class was Team Cadillac, which will run two cars. Cadillacs have been competing on the ALMS since the 2000 season. Panoz Motor Sports, a two-time winner on the ALMS in 2001, will also run two cars in the LMP 900 class at Le Mans. MBD Sportscar, which is a new team that will run the full ALMS schedule this season, will run one Panoz LMP07-Mugen in the LMP 900 class.
In the LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes, ALMS regular KnightHawk Racing was chosen by the Selection Committee as one of six entries in the class. The team will run an MG Lola.
Corvette Racing, which won the GTS class last year in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will again field two entries in the event. Joining the Corvette team in the GTS class will be ALMS regulars Konrad Team Saleen, which will run a pair of Saleen S7R machines, and Team Olive Garden Rafanelli, which will run a Ferrari 550 Maranello.
In the GT class, defending race winner Seikel Motorsport will be back to defend its title. Peter Seikel's racing team from Germany is also a regular competitor on the ALMS with its Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Also selected for the GT class were ALMS regulars The Racer's Group and Orbit, which will run one Porsche 911 GT3 RS each. MBD Sportscar, Seikel Motorsport and Orbit also have one car each on the list of six reserve cars for the race.
Eight competitors were already officially pre-selected for the event based on wins at Le Mans last year or wins in two Le Mans Series races that were designated as Le Mans Qualifying Events. Those two events were Audi presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on the American Le Mans Series and the Estoril, Portugal, round of the former European Le Mans Series.
Pre-selected based on wins in last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans were Audi Sport Team Joest, Corvette Racing and Seikel Motorsport. Pre-selected from wins at Road Atlanta were Audi Sport North America and Corvette Racing. Pescarolo Sport (LMP 900), Ray Mallock Limited (GTS) and Freisinger Motorsport (GT) were pre-selected based on wins in the Estoril event.
Many other teams on the list of 48 have competed in recent ALMS events, including the UK & Overseas Team Ascari (LMP 900), AutoExe Motorsports (LMP 675), ROC (LMP 675), Larbre Competition - Chereau (GTS), Team Carsport Holland (GTS), Prodrive (GTS), JMB Competition (GT), PK Sport (GT), Spyker Automobielen BV (GT) and the Freisinger team.
The 48 selected teams and the reserve cars will be at the Circuit de la Sarthe for a practice session on Sunday, May 5, after scrutineering on the previous day.
The next race for the American Le Mans Series will be the Grand Prix of Sonoma at California's Sears Point Raceway on Sunday, May 19.