USE YOUR OWN NAME - THE SHOWDOWN DOWNTOWN; MOTOR CITY MADNESS; BELLE ISLE BATTLE - DETROIT GRAND PRIX AND PORSCHE PLAY FOR KEEPS THIS WEEKEND ATLANTA - August 27 - Three of the most respected performance automotive manufacturers - Porsche,...
USE YOUR OWN NAME - THE SHOWDOWN DOWNTOWN; MOTOR CITY MADNESS; BELLE ISLE BATTLE - DETROIT GRAND PRIX AND PORSCHE PLAY FOR KEEPS THIS WEEKEND
ATLANTA - August 27 - Three of the most respected performance automotive manufacturers - Porsche, Acura, and Ferrari - bring their season-long sports car battle to the automotive capital of the world to battle for supremacy in two sports car categories this weekend at the 2008 Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch.
With three rounds to go in the racing series with the world's fastest sports cars, Porsche is well on course to winning titles with the 503hp RS Spyder featuring direct fuel injection (DFI) technology in the LMP2 class as well as the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the GT2 class. The American Le Mans Series visits Detroit in conjunction with the popular IndyCar Series for open-wheel racers.
The 2.07-mile circuit is situated on Belle Isle in the Detroit River. At last year's event debut of the American Le Mans Series on the flowing track with its 14 corners, Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) celebrated a commanding overall victory in their Penske Porsche RS Spyder. They not only beat their competitors in the LMP2 class but shortly before the finish overtook the Audi R10 which has a power advantage of over 200hp and a clearly better power-to-weight-ratio.
"This was the most wonderful victory of my career," recalls Romain Dumas.
In the LMP2 driving championship point standings, Bernhard/Dumas lead their nearest rivals, Brabham/Sharp Acura drivers, who won the class last week at Mosport, by ten points, while Porsche leads Acura in the manufacturer points by six points.
For the successful Penske Racing squad, Detroit is practically a home event. After all, it was Roger Penske who brought the American Le Mans Series to the Motor City by the way of the Detroit Downtown Partnership, an organization which he serves as chairman and the same organization which brought Super Bowl XL to Detroit two years ago. His team again fields two Porsche RS Spyders.
While Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas tackle the race with the #7 car, there is a change in the cockpit of the #6 sister car: Ryan Briscoe (Australia) replaces Germany's Sascha Maassen to share the cockpit with Patrick Long (USA). Briscoe, who competes in this year's IndyCar Series for Penske Racing, will use Detroit to prepare for next month's important ten- hour Petit Le Mans race in Road Atlanta, where ten bonus points are up for grabs. Briscoe drove the #6 car for the entire season last year, and was scheduled to be a third driver at Sebring '08, but did not get into the car as it retired before it was his turn to drive. Briscoe has won two IndyCar races so far this year
"Detroit is one of the most beautiful city circuits," raves title defender Timo Bernhard about the track on Belle Isle. "It is a fantastic combination of fast and slow corners. We'll use a much softer set-up than last weekend at Mosport. Moreover, the Detroit GP is Roger Penske's home race. I hope very much that he has good reason to be proud of us on Saturday evening."
Patrick Long is also looking forward to the last city race of the season: "Apart from Long Beach, Detroit is second in my ranking of city circuits. Roger Penske turned the race into a five star event. The grandstands are always packed, and the atmosphere here is incredible."
The two RS Spyder of the Porsche-supported team from Poughkeepsie, NY, Dyson Racing, run the new DFI engine with direct fuel injection in both its cars for the first time at Detroit. The engine debuted successfully in July, when Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas clinched a class victory at Mid-Ohio. Chris Dyson (USA) and Guy Smith (Great Britain) man the #16 vehicle, with Butch Leitzinger (USA) and Marino Franchitti (Great Britain) sharing the #20 cockpit. Dyson Racing currently ranks third in the team standings behind Penske Racing and the Acura.
In the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series, Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Wolf Henzler (Germany) take up the race as points' leaders over their rival Ferrari team of Farnbacher/Mueller. Bergmeister/Henzler have scored wins this year at Sebring, Salt Lake City and Lime Rock in their Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Lizard teammates Johannes van Overbeek (USA) and Patrick Pilet (France) and Lonnie Pechnik/Martin Ragginger round out the three-Lizard line-up. UPS-Porsche junior Ragginger tackles his first ever ALMS race this weekend as the 20-year-old Austrian takes the seat of American Seth Neiman in the third Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche. The GT2 Porsche lineup is completed by the Francesco Pastorelli/Nicky Pastorelli/Marc Basseng VICI Racing entry, with the Pastorelli brothers hailing from the Netherlands and Basseng from Germany.
The Farbacher Loles Racing Porsche will not race in Detroit due to driver/series conflicts.