ATLANTA - June 19 - The Florida-based Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR sponsored by BAM!, with Mike Rockenfeller/Marc Lieb/Leo Hindery at the helm, took the GT2 class lead early in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and fought off the charge of the defending champion Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche of Timo Bernhard/Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long to score a two- minute win in the 73rd running of the French classic.
"The kids - Rockenfeller and Lieb - did the majority of the driving in the hottest weather I have ever experienced," said team owner Alex Job, whose entry won the race in conjunction with Petersen in 2003.
"Their performance is a testimony to Porsche's physical and mental training program for these two factory drivers, and the drivers' will to win despite pain and fatigue," said Job.
And for Leo Hindery, the American cable TV executive whose dream it was to win Le Mans in his final appearance there, it was kudos to everyone else.
"I've never been associated with such dedicated young men as Mike Rockenfeller and Marc Lieb. Despite the fact my lap times were much slower than theirs, they supported me and cheered me on, and then worked extra hard to bring the win home to this team," said Hindery, who shaved a full 14 seconds off his previous fast lap times for the 2005 event.
For the second-place Las Vegas-based Petersen Motorsport/White Lighting Porsche team, which was looking for their third straight Le Mans class win (including the one they shared with Alex Job in 2003), it was a disappointing finish, but team owner Mike Petersen was proud of his team's effort.
"Every since our qualifying session crash, we were a step behind, and I was pleased with the effort our crew put in just to get the car to the starting grid. Long, Bergmeister and Bernhard drove the car hard, but we were down on straight-away power and just could not make up the minute or two we needed to catch Alex Job. We were hoping they would make a mistake, but it never happened," said Petersen.
The Sonoma, Calif.-based Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Johannes van Overbeek/Lonnie Pechnik/Seth Neiman finished third, exceeding the expectations of team principal Seth Neiman.
"We thought it was an accomplishment just to get here and get organized, and we hoped that we could finish the race," said Neiman, whose team or drivers had never been to Le Mans.
"To finish on the podium was beyond our expectations; the car ran well for the entire event. I was very proud of van Overbeek and Pechnik, who matched the Porsche factory drivers with competitive lap times throughout the race," said Neiman.
It was the first time American teams had ever swept a class podium at Le Mans. In addition to the GT2 class, American teams - all participants in the American Le Mans Series - also won the LMP1 (overall) and GT1 classes.
The French Porsche team of Raymond Narrac/Sebastien Dumez/Romain Dumas (Dumas is a current ALMS Porsche driver for Alex Job Racing) finished fourth, followed the Luc Alphand Adventures Porsche of Luc Alphand/Jerome Policand/Christopher Campbell (fifth) and the Sebath Automotive Porsche of Lars Erik Nielsen/Thorkild Tyrring/Pierre Ehret (sixth).