History to be made for season finales at Laguna Seca

History to be Made in American Le Mans Series Finale at Audi Sports Car Championships MONTERY, Calif. (Oct. 11, 2004) - History will be made at this week's Audi Sports Car Championships, Oct. 15-17, featuring the season finale for the American...

History to be Made in American Le Mans Series Finale at Audi Sports Car Championships

MONTERY, Calif. (Oct. 11, 2004) - History will be made at this week's Audi Sports Car Championships, Oct. 15-17, featuring the season finale for the American Le Mans Series on Saturday and the SPEED World Challenge on Sunday.

History will be made this Saturday when the American Le Mans Series finishes its 2004 season with a four-hour race starting at 4 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m., marking the first time cars have raced into the darkness at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The sun will set at approximately 6:30 p.m. and total darkness will fall on the track around 7 p.m. (all times PDT), leaving the American Le Mans Series prototype and GT cars to negotiate the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit aided only by their headlights and ambient lighting around the circuit.

While the event will mark the first time in history that cars have raced in the darkness at Laguna Seca, the American Le Mans Series competitors are quite used to the practice, as most all of them have competed in the dark at either the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring or the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans race, held last month at Road Atlanta.

Nighttime racing will introduce several new aspects to longtime fans, as the cars will light up the night with belching exhaust flames, glowing brake rotors and sparks created by the ultra-low cars scraping the track surface. The cars also sport an innovative color-coded lighting system on the cars that signifies who is in first, second and third place in each class.

History can also be made by ADT Champion Audi R8 drivers JJ Lehto and Marco Werner, as the two attempt to set the single-season overall win mark. They have already wrapped up the American Le Mans Series driving title on the strength of six wins in eight races, tying them for the record that was set in 2000 by Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish with the former factory Audi team.

While Lehto and Werner have wrapped up the Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) class, the LMP2 championship, for smaller and lighter prototypes, is still up for grabs. Miracle Motorsports driver Ian James has a 21-point lead over fellow competitors Clint Field and Robin Liddell (Intersport Lola). Therefore, as long as he and teammate James Gue finish 70 percent of the season ender and score at least four points, James can't lose the championship to Field and Liddell.

The GTS drivers championship was clinched last month by Corvette drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, but the GT title remains in play with Alex Job Racing Porsche driver Timo Bernhard holding a 15-point advantage over Flying Lizard Motorsports team drivers Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law, also driving the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR model.

The American Le Mans Series season finale is being shown on a tape delay Sunday, Oct. 17, at 11 a.m. (PDT) on NBC.

In addition to the four-hour American Le Mans Series race that will end the day, Saturday's activities include qualifying for Sunday's SPEED World Challenge, World Super Kart and SFR SCCA Mazda Miata Challenge races, as well as the 2:05 p.m. (PDT) green flag for the Star Mazda Series season finale.

Sunday's action includes the SPEED World Challenge Touring (10:25 a.m.) and GT (2 p.m.) races, along with SFR SCCA Mazda Miata Challenge Races (9:35 a.m. & 2:10 p.m.) and World Superkart Race (3 p.m.).

Tickets and race information is available by calling (800) 327-SECA (7322) or logging onto www.laguna-seca.com.

-mrls-

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About this article
Series ALMS , PWC
Drivers Rinaldo Capello , Allan McNish , Johnny O'Connell , Robin Liddell , Ian James , Darren Law , Timo Bernhard , James Gue , Johannes van Overbeek , Clint Field , Alex Job , JJ Lehto