Maassen and Luhr continue as the best in the business with second straight American Le Mans Series GT crown BRASELTON, Ga. (November 7, 2003) - Are Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr the best GT racers in the world right now? Arguments and cases...
Maassen and Luhr continue as the best in the business with second straight American Le Mans Series GT crown
BRASELTON, Ga. (November 7, 2003) - Are Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr the best GT racers in the world right now? Arguments and cases could be made for others, but it would be difficult to say that the two German racing stars are not at the top of their game and the best at what they do.
For the second straight year in 2003, Maassen and Luhr shared the GT class driving championship in the American Le Mans Series and dominated the competition, winning five of the nine races held in the series. The duo also helped Alex Job Racing earn its second consecutive GT class team championship and was a major part of Porsche winning the GT class Manufacturer's Championship for the fourth time in the five-year history of the series.
"When you're with the best team, driving the best car, and have the best teammate, winning races and championships is a pleasure," said Maassen, the older of the two at 34 and the most winning driver in any class in ALMS history with 20 victories.
The two have been Porsche factory drivers for several years and have been driving partners with Alex Job Racing since 2001, producing 14 wins together during those three seasons. Both drove for Dick Barbour Racing in 2000, also as Porsche factory drivers, but with different co-drivers. Luhr won four times that season, his first in the ALMS, and Maassen five. Maassen also scored a win in the series' inaugural year of 1999 as a third driver with the Job team in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Not only have Maassen and Luhr won, but they have won impressively. They have won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring three consecutive years as teammates, two of those years without the help of a third driver in the long and difficult race. Luhr also won in 2000 and will be going for his fifth straight at Sebring in 2004.
In many of their five wins on the ALMS in 2003, Maassen and Luhr had stirring duels with Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister, who drive another Job Porsche, and came out on top. Bernhard and Bergmeister won three times in 2003. Many other cars also offered challenges during the season, with the Risi Competizione team bringing Ferrari into the mix with a string of competitive runs and the White Lightning-Petersen Motorsports team beating the Job squad for the win at Road America.
"It was especially tough battling with our teammate's car," said Luhr, 24. "I believe there would have been a closer battle with them if they hadn't run into some bad luck throughout the season. The race at Infineon (Raceway) was so close and the battle between Timo and I was incredible. I really like that kind of close racing."
Luhr and Maassen came out on top in the event at Infineon and also took wins on streets circuits at Trois-Rivieres and Miami, as well as on the road course at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Laguna Seca win clinched the duo's second straight driving title.
In addition to its racing on the ALMS, the Alex Job team joined forces with the rival Petersen team to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in 2003 and Maassen and Luhr, joined by Emmanuel Collard, scored a come-from-behind GT class win.
"It was a good season," said Luhr. "This was the third year I have been with Alex Job Racing and working with the team gets better and better each year. The most incredible win for me was the 24 Hours of Le Mans and I'm so happy to have won with the AJR guys this year. I hope to build on this year's success and go for a third time GT driver and team championship."
Maassen, who has now enjoyed success in each year of the existence of the American Le Mans Series, also looks forward to more success with the Alex Job team and Porsche but is cautious.
"I do admit that with having won the GT championship twice, it is tough to do better," he said. "I can only lose. I need a different goal, but from driving with Alex Job in the ALMS, everything else is a step down. Being with Porsche was and has been a dream for me and I never want to go away from them. I really have the best of everything right now, including security. Driving in the ALMS has been a great ride. There are great tracks, drivers and competitive cars. What else could I ask for?"