ATLANTA -- June 15 -- Alex Job Racing, of Tavaras, Fla., and Petersen Motorsports, of Las Vegas, are fierce GT Porsche rivals in the American Le Mans Series, having finished one-two at the recent 12 Hours of Sebring, but the two teams combined ...
ATLANTA -- June 15 -- Alex Job Racing, of Tavaras, Fla., and Petersen Motorsports, of Las Vegas, are fierce GT Porsche rivals in the American Le Mans Series, having finished one-two at the recent 12 Hours of Sebring, but the two teams combined resources to score a hard-earned win at their first-ever appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The #93 Alex Job Racing/Petersen Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RS, with Lucas Luhr, Sascha Maassen and Emanuel Collard sharing the driving chores, survived a broken shifter, two punctured radiators, loose bodywork and a failed alternator to score a three-lap win over the #87 Orbit Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Crew chief Alex Job, a veteran strategist of 24-hour races, said the entire roster of the combined teams was needed to score this win -- the first for either team at Le Mans.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS has now won the LM GT class every year it has entered, starting in 2000. Also, Porsche has won the class for the past eight years with various Porsche 911 models, and, in the 52 years Porsches have run at Le Mans, Porsche has won its class or overall 47 percent of the time.
"Although we have run Porsches at endurance races before without any glitches, this is the toughest sports car race in the world. The key to victory for us was to catch problems early, fix them and prevent other problems, and set the proper pace in order to finish ahead of the others. Everyone on the Alex Job and Petersen crew, especially Petersen team manager Dale White, pitched in to make this happen, and no one could match up with our three drivers for speed when we needed it," said Job.
Petersen Motorsports bought the car for Le Mans, and the Porsche was painted in Petersen livery, while Alex Job provided the drivers and majority of the crew. Both teams have previous endurance racing success, with Petersen winning the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in 2001 (Lucas Luhr/Randy Pobst/Mike Fitzgerald/Christian Menzel), while Alex Job has won both the Rolex 24 and, most recently, three straight 12 Hours of Sebring events -- all with Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr. Alex Job, Maassen and Luhr are defending American Le Mans Series champions.
Having led the race three different times during the event, the #87 Orbit Racing YES Network Porsche gave the winners all they could handle, with Leo Hindery/Marc Werner/Peter Baron staying close enough to take the lead almost every time the Job/Petersen Porsche came into the pits. No one had a trouble-free ride, and the Orbit problems included a broken radiator, failed cool suit, and a spin on the circuit. With the rest of the ALMS season still to come, Orbit showed that Americans can expect an America Le Mans Series win from the Jupiter, Fla.-based team before the end of the season.
The Japanese-based Team Taisan Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Atsushi Yogo/Kazuyuki Nishizawa/Akira Iida, who also led the race during one of the Alex Job's many problems, finished fourth, while the Thierry Perrier/Perspective Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS with Michel Neugarten/Nigel Smith/Ian Khan driving was third.
Defending Le Mans GT champions #81 The Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS had the least number of problems of the America Porsche teams, and the jog Bergmeister/Timo Bernhard/Kevin Buckler driving team has proven its speed and teamwork before, but a clutch change early in the event put car too many laps behind. The drivers were able to match times with the leaders in the last half of the event, and moved from 11th to its final fifth place finish.
The PK Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RS, which will be coming to the United States for the rest of the American Le Mans Series, was in the top three early in the event, but a broken oil cooler and a blown belt drive caused lengthy pit stops that the drivers, Robin Liddell/Dave Warnock/Piers Masarati, could not make up, finishing sixth overall. The T2M Motorsport Porsche of Vanina Ickx/Patrick Bourdais/Roland Berville was ninth, and the Seikel Motorsport Porsche of David Shep/John Lloyd/Tony Burgess did not finish.
Alex Job Racing, Petersen Motorsports, Orbit Racing, The Racer's Group, Seikel Motorsports, and PK Sport all plan to campaign Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars in the rest of the American Le Mans Series, which has its next event at Road Atlanta June 27-29.