INDIANAPOLIS (May 30, 2001) -- Twenty-one racing teams from the American Le Mans Series are preparing for an assault on the world's most famous endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe in France June 16-17. The...
INDIANAPOLIS (May 30, 2001) -- Twenty-one racing teams from the American Le Mans Series are preparing for an assault on the world's most famous endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe in France June 16-17.
The American Le Mans Series, founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Don Panoz, brings many of the drivers and cars from Le Mans to North America for a series of races at premier road racing venues. The races are run under the same specifications and regulations as are used at Le Mans. The 2001 schedule, which includes nine events, contains a break to give racing teams the opportunity to compete in France if they choose to.
Because of the close relationship that exists between the ALMS and the ACO, organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, racing teams that regularly compete in ALMS races get special consideration in the process the ACO uses to select the 48 starters for the 24 Hours. The consideration resulted in 21 ALMS teams being chosen for the event.
Teams from the American Le Mans Series will be in four of the five classes that make up the field for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with 11 in the LMP 900 (Prototype) class. Three will be in the LMP 675 class, four in the GTS class and three in the GT class.
In the LMP 900 class, defending ALMS champion and Le Mans winner Audi Sport North America leads the way along with Audi Sport Team Joest. Also racing the Audi R8 will be Champion Racing and Johansson Motorsport. Champion is competing on the ALMS in 2001, while Johansson was a regular in 2000 and is racing this year on the ELMS.
Also in the LMP 900 class will be Team ORECA, which will run three of the new Chrysler LMP machines. Team ORECA was the GTS class champion of the ALMS in 1999 and 2000, but has moved to Prototype competition for 2001.
Panoz Motor Sports from the United States will run two Panoz LMP 07 machines in the Prototype class, while the DAMS team from France will field a pair of revised Cadillac Northstar LMP cars.
The LMP 675 class will include three ALMS teams, with two from Dick Barbour Racing and one from Roock-KnightHawk Racing. Corvette Racing will have two Chevrolet Corvette C5-R cars in the GTS class, while Saleen-Allen Speedlab and Konrad Motorsport will each field a Saleen S7R in GTS. All four GTS teams are ALMS regulars.
The GT class will include Germany-based Seikel Motorsport, which will run two Porsche 911 GT3 RS cars. Seikel regularly competes in ALMS events as does Aspen Knolls Racing, which will field a Callaway C-12 in the Le Mans event's GT class.
All teams competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans participated in a practice day at Circuit de la Sarthe on May 6. Most of the teams that are based in the United States left their cars and equipment in Europe, and many participated in the European Le Mans Series race that was held at Jarama, Spain, on May 20.
Race fans in the United States will be able to watch live coverage of the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans on the Speedvision network. While Speedvision has televised large portions of the race in previous years, the 2001 race will mark the first time that the network has covered the event live from flag to flag.