Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
American Le Mans Series Roars Into America’s Heartland
Round Five Takes Fierce LMP and GT Battles to Central Ohio
Less than two weeks after a riveting race at Mosport International Raceway, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón heads to the rolling curves of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The venue is popular amongst fans for providing great views and amongst many drivers and teams which are Ohio natives. Considering the circuit’s history for providing some of the closest finishes in Series history, Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge could prove to be a pivotal point in the 2011 American Le Mans Series season.
Current LMP points leader Dyson Racing is also the defending race winner at Mid-Ohio. A year ago drivers Guy Smith and Chris Dyson collected their very first overall win, plus the first overall win for their MAZDA-powered Lola Coupe and isobutanol fuel. It was a nail-biter with a victory margin of just 0.506 seconds. The Dyson team is aiming for a repeat performance this weekend to stay ahead of Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing in the championship. Muscle Milk’s Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf are the most recent LMP1 winners, collecting their second victory of the season in Round 4 at Mosport.
Last year’s GT race at Mid-Ohio was one for the ages as well, when Risi Competizione crossed the finish line a mere 0.582 seconds ahead of Corvette Racing. The roles were reversed two weeks ago at Mosport where Corvette’s Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen narrowly beat Risi’s Toni Vilander and Jaime Melo. Corvette’s Mosport win finally brought BMW Team RLL’s win streak to an end, but the crowd will most certainly be behind Bobby Rahal’s points-leading squad, which is based out of nearby Hillard, Ohio.
The Mid-Ohio race will be a special day for one Corvette driver regardless of where he finishes; Olivier Beretta is making his 100th Series start on Saturday. Beretta will become only the third driver to reach this milestone, joining Johnny O’Connell and David Brabham.
The fight for the LMPC crown continues between CORE autosport and Genoa Racing. After a 1-2 finish at Mosport, CORE leads Genoa in the team standings by a slim six points. It’s third place Intersport Racing and fourth place Performance Tech Motorsports with the Ohio ties, however. Intersport is based in Dublin, Ohio, as is the team’s father-son duo of Jon and Clint Field. And although Performance Tech’s primary shop is located in Florida, the team has found a summer home near Toledo to help shorten the travel time between races.
The GTC category has practically stolen the show at the past two ALMS rounds. At both Lime Rock Park and Mosport, the class’ winner has come down to the final lap and in both instances it was a battle between TRG teammates. At Lime Rock, Dion von Moltke took advantage of a slow GT car in the final corner to pass Spencer Pumpelly for the win, but Pumpelly had the last laugh at Mosport where he won following a last-lap pass on von Moltke. Pumpelly may have the fastest GTC lap on record at Mid-Ohio, but Black Swan Racing and drivers Timothy Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen are the defending race winners, not to mention defending GTC champions.
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 6 with ESPN2 airing the race starting at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 7. Live video coverage on race day will be available at 3:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com in the US, and americanlemans.com for international viewers. Canadian fans may also watch live coverage on Rogers Sportsnet. Worldwide radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio at americanlemans.com or more information on the broadcasts, go to americanlemans.com/tv
By: america le mans series