FAR EAST BECKONS FOR TRIO OF AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES TEAMS The 2009 season isn't quite over for a trio of teams from the American Le Mans Series. Drayson Racing, Robertson Racing and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team are eight days away from the...
FAR EAST BECKONS FOR TRIO OF AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES TEAMS
The 2009 season isn't quite over for a trio of teams from the American Le Mans Series. Drayson Racing, Robertson Racing and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team are eight days away from the first practice session of the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series Race on October 31-November 1 at the Okayama circuit in Japan.
A total of 23 entries representing the US, Europe and Japan are on the entry list for the event, which will feature a pair of three-hour races around the 13-turn, 2.3-mile layout that plays host to the Japanese round of the World Touring Car Championship on the same weekend.
The stakes are high with winners in all four classes receiving automatic invites to the 2010 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Robertson Racing and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing team are expected to be favorites in the GT2 class, especially considering the stiff competition both squads faced in the American Le Mans Series this year. Tommy Milner and Dirk Muller will drive BMW/RLR BMW M3, a car that won in class at Road America this year. The pairing finished on the GT2 podium five times together with runner-up finishes in St. Petersburg, Road America and Petit Le Mans.
Muller scored a class pole position at Mosport and had the fastest GT2 race laps at Road America and Road Atlanta.
Robertson Racing owners David and Andrea Robertson will pilot their Ford GT MK7 alongside David Murry. The American trio recorded a season-best sixth place finish at St. Petersburg, and Murry has been particularly stellar as the performance of the Doran-Ford entry, prepared by Dick Barbour Racing, has improved greatly since its rookie season in 2008.
Murry has dazzled crowds all season and claimed the GT2 pole position at Road Atlanta, besting factory and works-supported entries from the likes of Corvette, Porsche, Ferrari, Panoz and BMW, among others.
Among the prototype ranks, Drayson Racing will contest its third event with its new Judd-powered Lola B09/60 coupe in LMP1. Jonny Cocker and Paul Drayson, the UK's Minister for Science and Innovation, fielded the prototype at Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 and the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patron at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The latter was especially cruel with a massive crash coming out of the Corkscrew turn with an impact that measured 18.5 Gs. The prototype suffered substantial damage to the right-side of the car and lesser harm to the left and rear of the highly sophisticated machine. In total, the major parts list required to repair, replace or have needed spares covers two, single- spaced, ledger pages. However in practice and qualifying, the car was consistently quick in only its second race.