NA-F2000: Road Atlanta Lally in Speedvision Cup

Lally to Compete in Speedvision Cup Sunday at Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 9 - Andy Lally of Northport, N.Y., will drive Team Spartanburg's BMW Z3 in the Speedvision Cup race at Road Atlanta on Sunday afternoon. The...

Lally to Compete in Speedvision Cup Sunday at Road Atlanta

BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 9 - Andy Lally of Northport, N.Y., will drive Team Spartanburg's BMW Z3 in the Speedvision Cup race at Road Atlanta on Sunday afternoon. The race is a companion event to the inaugural Petit Le Mans sports car endurance race.

Team owner Mark Hughes hand-picked Lally and Mike Johnson of Gainesville, Ga., to drive his BMW for this event. Both young chargers are stars of the U.S. Formula 2000 series. They are both professional driving instructors too. Lally is a driving instructor at both the Track 1 Driving School at Bridgehampton, N.Y., near his home, and at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Johnson is an instructor at the Panoz Motorsports Driving School at Road Atlanta.

Johnson qualified 17th overall and third in the Sports division out of 42 competitors Friday afternoon. Johnson will start the 2-hour and 45-minute race on Sunday at 2 p.m. before turning the wheel of the No. 57 over to Lally to finish the event.

Most recently Lally has been the developmental driver of the hot new chassis in Formula 2000 competition, the Bowman BC5. The BMW Z3 he is driving here this weekend has a story too, as its four-cylinder engine has been taken out and replaced with a six-cylinder powerplant. That extra power will help them get around Road Atlanta's picturesque 12-turn, 2.6-mile road course, a circuit that Lally had never driven before Thursday.

"It's a challenging course and I'm really looking forward to the race; it should be a lot of fun," Lally said. "I would like to thank Mark [Hughes] for the opportunity to drive in this event and to drive a BMW. Many clients of the Track 1 Driving School have brought their BMWs to Bridgehampton for driving instruction, and they're great-handling cars. BMW has already clinched the manufacturers' championship in the Sports division of the Speedvision Cup for the second straight year, too."

The car, which sports the head of an alien painted on its hood, is sponsored by BMW Manufacturing Plant No. 10 and Global Imports. Team Spartanburg, based in South Carolina, is also appreciative of being able to work out of Johnson's Avant Gard Racing shop based at Road Atlanta this weekend.

The team has been getting consistently faster since the series' first practice session on Thursday, in which its top speed was at an average speed of 88.120 mph, good for 21st overall and fourth in class. In the next practice session on Thursday its best lap was 88.209 mph, which was 23rd overall and fourth in class. Friday morning it was up to 13th overall and second in class with a lap at 89.179 mph before it qualified at 89.277 mph.

In addition to the Sports class in which the team will compete, the Speedvision Cup event has Grand Sports, Touring and Compact divisions.

The Speedvision Cup race is scheduled to be broadcast on the Speedvision network from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8. It will be re-broadcast on Monday, Nov. 9 from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. and again from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. that day.

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Series OPENWHEEL , PSR