Thirteen American Le Mans Series Entrants Accepted For 24 Hours of Le Mans
BRASELTON, GA. - Thirteen sports car racing teams from the American Le Mans Series have been invited to compete in the 72nd running of the world's most famous endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, that will be held June 12-13 at the Circuit de La Sarthe in France.
Among the invited teams are ADT Champion Racing, which scored a class win at Le Mans last year with its Audi R8 Prototype and finished third overall in the event, and Corvette Racing, which won the GTS class at Le Mans in 2001 and 2002 with its Chevrolet Corvette C5-R. Also invited was the New Century Mortgage/Racer's Group team, GT class winner at Le Mans in 2002, which will run a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
The American Le Mans Series annually builds its schedule around the 24 Hours of Le Mans, allowing race teams that want to travel to France for participation in the event the opportunity to do so. Because of the relationship that exists between the ALMS and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, race teams that regularly compete in ALMS events receive special consideration in the selection process for the 50 cars that compete at Le Mans.
In addition, the ACO grants up to eight automatic Le Mans entries from the American Le Mans Series, including entries for the four class-winning entrants in the annual Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and for the four team championship entrants in the ALMS championship standings.
The ACO announced its list of 50 invited teams and six reserve teams today, waiting until after last week's running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring before the ACO Selection Committee made its final choices. Twenty-two of the 50 teams raced in the Sebring event, the opening race of the American Le Mans Series season, with many teams auditioning for Le Mans selection.
"We are very pleased to see that once again the road to the 24 Hours of Le Mans passes through the American Le Mans Series," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the ALMS. "Teams that have raced regularly in the American Le Mans Series have been the overall winner at Le Mans in four of the past five years, and have also scored numerous class wins, and those that have done well at Sebring have also done well at Le Mans. We look forward to having another strong representation at Le Mans this year."
The 13 selected teams from the American Le Mans Series were all regular competitors in the series in 2003 and most are expected to race in 2004 events as well. The selected teams include three in the LMP1 class, one in the LMP2 class, three in the GTS class and six in the GT class.
In addition to the Champion entry, selected teams in the LMP1 class include Intersport Racing with a Lola B160-Judd and Panoz Motor Sports with a Panoz GTR1-Elan. Selected for the LMP2 class was Intersport, which will run a Lola B2K/40-Judd. Champion and Intersport earned automatic entries with their wins in last year's Petit Le Mans.
The two cars of Corvette Racing and a Ferrari 550 Maranello from Care Racing represent the American Le Mans Series-affiliated entries for the GTS class. One of the Corvette entries was automatically earned with the team's GTS class title in last year's ALMS championship, while the Care Racing entry was earned by the team's class win in the 2003 Petit Le Mans.
In addition to the Racer's Group, selected teams for the GT class include Risi Competizione with a Ferrari 360 Modena and Porsche 911 GT3 entries for PK Sport, Seikel Motorsport, Orbit Racing (which will run a combined effort with BAM!) and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. The Petersen team combined efforts with Alex Job Racing to win the GT class in last year's event at Le Mans.
All teams that are racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans must participate in the annual Le Mans Pre-Practice, which will be held April 25.
The next race for the American Le Mans Series will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, June 25-27.