Utah: Porsche preview

PORSCHE RS SPYDER LMP2 RACERS TO BUILD ON MID-OHIO, LIME ROCK SUCCESSES IN SALT LAKE CITY - ALTITUDE CREATES HORSEPOWER DEFICIT FOR NORMALLY-ASPIRATED ENGINES SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - July 11, 2006 - With podium finishes at each of the four...

PORSCHE RS SPYDER LMP2 RACERS TO BUILD ON MID-OHIO, LIME ROCK SUCCESSES IN SALT LAKE CITY - ALTITUDE CREATES HORSEPOWER DEFICIT FOR NORMALLY-ASPIRATED ENGINES

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - July 11, 2006 - With podium finishes at each of the four American Le Mans Series races so far this year, including an overall win and two class victories, the Penske Porsche RS Spyders head to the new Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah this weekend with the hope of taking over first place in the LMP2 drivers championship.

The Sascha Maassen/Lucas Luhr-driven Porsche RS Spyder has scored top-three points at each of the four races despite its DNFs at Sebring and Houston, and its drivers are now just five points out of first place in the drivers championship. The Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas-driven RS Spyder, which has won its class the past two events, has helped propel Porsche past Lola in the LMP2 Manufacturers Championship as well as the LMP2 Team Championship - as the Penske Porsche leads by three points in both categories.

Biggest Challenges - New racetrack and higher altitude

In addition to overcoming its early points deficit, the Porsche RS Spyders face two significant challenges this weekend at the new 4.5-mile, 24-turn track west of Salt Lake City.

The first, of course, is the new track - a challenge faced by everyone. Porsche factory driver Timo Bernhard drove the track during team testing in June, and said the track layout, which includes a 3,500-foot straightaway and plenty of room to pass, will be fun to drive.

"There are tight turns, wide turns, straightaways, and lots of elevation changes - all friendly to the characteristics of our cars," said Bernhard, who, with co-driver Dumas, outdistanced the entire ALMS field at Mid-Ohio in May to become only the second LMP2 team to win an event overall.

As they are the only normally-aspirated powered race cars in either LMP1 or LMP2, the Penske Porsches will face a unique challenge at the Utah track. Due to the course's high altitude, they stand to lose 15 percent of their maximum power.

"With the track at 4,900 feet above sea level, the ambient air pressure is down to 850 milibars, compared to a sea level track like Sebring, where the pressure is over 1,000 milibars. As the relationship between power loss and the lowering of ambient pressure is nearly 1:1, this will result in a 15 percent loss of power which will be noticed particularly on the long straightaway," said Dieter-Georg Steinhauser, chief engineer at Porsche AG's motorsports facility in Weissach, Germany.

Steinhauser pointed out that Intersport Lola, Porsche's competition in LMP2, as well as the LMP1 Audis and Lolas, are all using turbocharged engines, which will boost the turbo power to make up for most of the altitude power loss. The rules, which have been written for the 24 Hours of Le Mans - which takes place near sea level, do not have any provisions for compensating teams using normally-aspirated race engines at higher altitudes.

ALMS Successes - Porsche is still the One

The Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS/RSR family of race cars, with the most success of any race car in the history of the American Le Mans Series, goes for its 54th class win at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday in the hotly-contested GT2 class.

In the first four ALMS events, this class has produced four different winners, including the most recent victory two weeks ago at Lime Rock Park by the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. Bergmeister's crash at Le Mans in June had rendered their car inoperable, so they bought a similar model from a Porsche Owners Club member in California, and built a new ALMS entry in just a few days, culminating their efforts with their first class win of the season. Bergmeister/Long are the defending ALMS GT2 champions.

Other class winners so far have been the Maxwell/Brabham Panoz Esperante, the Rockenfeller/Graf Alex Job Racing Porsche, and the Henzler/van Overbeek Flying Lizard Porsche. With podium finishes in all four races so far, van Overbeek leads the ALMS GT2 Drivers Championship.

Details

The Grand Prix of Utah, round five of the ten-race American Le Mans Series, will be held at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Saturday, July 15, from 8:00 PM EDT to 11:45 PM. The race will be telecast by CBS Sports on Sunday, July 16 at 2:00 PM EDT, and in Europe on Motors TV, also on Sunday. A live web radio broadcast can be heard on the American Le Mans Series web site - www.americanlemans.com. The ALMS site will also carry live scoring for qualifying as well as for the complete race. Porsche fans can see results and photos on www.porschemotorsport.com - a newly re-organized site for Porsche Motorsport activity.

The Penske Porsche RS Spyder is supported by Porsche's racing partners led by DHL Global Mail, Mobil 1, Hyatt Hotels, Michelin, adidas, and ZF Sachs AG.

Commissioned by Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) and Porsche Motorsport North America, Inc. (PMNA) for racing customers who compete in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) class of the ALMS, the Porsche RS Spyder features a completely new Porsche engine, transmission, and chassis, all incorporating the latest in Porsche automotive technology and created to conform to new 2006 rules and regulations of international sanctioning body Automobil Club de l'Ouest.

Penske Motorsports, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Racing, Inc., is fielding the two Porsche prototypes for the entire 2006 ALMS season.

Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga., and its subsidiary, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd., are the exclusive importers of Porsche sports cars and Cayenne® sport utility vehicles for the United States and Canada. A wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG, PCNA employs approximately 300 people who provide Porsche vehicles, parts, service, marketing and training for its 209 U.S. and Canadian dealers. They, in turn, provide Porsche owners with best-in-class service.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Romain Dumas , Alex Job
Teams Team Penske , Alex Job Racing