IT'S OFFICIAL: ZYTEK PROTOTYPE TO JOIN ALMS AT MID-OHIO The No. 15 factory Zytek 04S will compete in LMP1 at the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio on May 20-22, adding more excitement to Round 3 of the ALMS. Braselton, Ga. - The American Le Mans...
IT'S OFFICIAL: ZYTEK PROTOTYPE TO JOIN ALMS AT MID-OHIO
The No. 15 factory Zytek 04S will compete in LMP1 at the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio on May 20-22, adding more excitement to Round 3 of the ALMS.
Braselton, Ga. - The American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio received a boost Friday with an LMP1 factory entry from Zytek, winner of the recent 1,000 kilometer LMES race at Spa in Belgium in April. The European factory team is sending its No. 15 04S across the Atlantic for Round 3 of the American Le Mans Series on May 20-22. The Zytek should provide a stiff challenge to ALMS regulars Champion Racing, which is fielding two Audi R8s, and Dyson Racing's two AER-powered Lola EX257s.
"We are delighted with the Zytek factory LMP1 entry for the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio," said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the ALMS. "Zytek has been with us before and was extremely competitive and popular in our last two events of 2004. We expect the same at Mid-Ohio. This adds even more excitement and intrigue for the fans who will be in attendance, those who will listen on American Le Mans Series Radio and those who will watch the broadcast on CBS Sports. I expect this will make for an even more interesting broadcast live on MotorsTV back in Zytek's homeland - the U.K."
A privateer Zytek prototype has competed in a handful of previous ALMS events, most recently in 2004 at Petit Le Mans and the Audi Sports Car Championships. At Road Atlanta, it qualified second overall behind James Weaver's Dyson Lola but finished 27th overall after engine problems. A few weeks later at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Nicola Minassian shocked the field by winning the pole for the season-ending race. But mechanical problems were the car's undoing as it finished 23rd.
A pair of 20-year-old rising stars of sports car racing, Hayanari Shimoda and Tom Chilton, will pilot the factory Zytek 04S at Mid-Ohio. Japan's Shimoda was part of the team that won at Spa on April 17, teaming with John Nielsen and Casper Elgaard. Shimoda's lone race in the ALMS came in 2003 at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. He teamed with Nielsen in a Zytek to finish third in P2 after qualifying fifth in class and 15th overall.
Chilton's background is mostly in touring cars. For the past two years, he has competed for Honda in the British Touring Car Championship. He won his first career BTCC pole at the last event at Thruxton in late April and tested the Zytek prototype in early May at Magny Cours in France for the first time.
" I loved it basically," he said. "It was the first time I've driven a car with real downforce and carbon brakes. That was quite hard to get used to at first, but on the second day I felt a lot more comfortable and could push quite hard."
The American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio is set for noon EDT May 22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. CBS Sports will broadcast the event from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT, and live coverage will be available on American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com.