Laguna Seca: Porsche race report

PENSKE PORSCHE RS SPYDER PROTOTYPE WINS CLASS IN FLAWLESS DEBUT; PETERSEN/WHITE LIGHTNING PORSCHE WINS GT2 RACE/ DRIVER/TEAM TITLES --Sascha Maassen/Lucas Luhr took the Penske Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 Prototype to victory in its first race ever,...


--Sascha Maassen/Lucas Luhr took the Penske Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 Prototype to victory in its first race ever, completing the four hour ALMS event at Mazda Laguna Seca with only one driver change and four routine pit stops, including a late splash of fuel for insurance near the end of the event. Also, Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long ended their GT2 season in successful fashion by winning the class at Laguna, and clinching the season drivers championship and team championship in their Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR--

MONTEREY, Calif. - October 15 - The Penske Porsche RS Spyder accomplished all its pre- race goals on Saturday in the debut of their LMP2 entry by finishing the four-hour American Le Mans Series race at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in first place in class, and fifth overall.

Drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr completed the event without a single mechanical issue, pitting for only one driver change, fuel, and tires. In fact, they not only set the fast race lap record for the class, but ran as high as second overall among the Audis, Lolas and overall winning Zytec. Earlier, Maassen has broken the LMP2 track qualifying record to put the car on the pole.

Maassen, who drove almost three hours before turning the car over to Lucas Luhr, said this was the result of a lot of hard work and patience from Porsche, Penske, and, of course, the drivers.

"Everything from the engine, transmission and chassis to driver changes, night racing and and pit stop strategy was new for this team, and everyone performed flawlessly. It was great to run near the front all day, and we were pleased to beat more experienced teams in our class to finish first," said Maassen.

"This car did not even turn a wheel until June, and we have won a four-hour class battle in October - unbelievable! Testing is fine, but this car was built to race, and today we found out we have been pointed in the right direction," said Luhr, who drove the last hour of the event.

Porsche has now won three of the four ALMS classes (LMP2, GT1 and GT2) since the inception of the series, and Maassen continues to be the only driver to win at least one class victory in every year the season has existed (1999 - 2005). The Penske Porsche RS Spyder effort will be a two-car squad for 2006, with driver teams to be announced.

GT2 - Triple Title for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

By taking the GT2 class lead with only six minutes to go in the four-hour race, the Patrick Long/Jorg Bergmeister Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR not only won their fifth race of the season, but captured the class drivers title and the team championship - both a first for the Las Vegas-based organization.

"After Alex Job Racing won four races in a row, everyone was pretty down, but, with our off- road racing heritage, we have learned never to give up, and I told the team we can win every race down the stretch. The crew and the drivers responded in dramatic fashion, and we took the titles with four wins in a row to end the season," said team manager Dale White.

"These guys never gave up, and we were inspired by their confidence. We pushed to win every race no matter what the point standings told us, and the Porsche and our crew responded with the late-season wins and the championships," said Long, the only American employed by Porsche as a factory driver.

The Mike Rockenfeller/Wolf Henzler BAM! Porsche took the early GT2 lead, and led for the first hour until yellow-flag pits stops gave the Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas Alex Job Racing Porsche the lead.

At the two-hour mark, however, Timo was hit by one of the Aston Martin racers, and got stuck in a gravel trap. Although he was able to continue, he lost three laps and a chance to contend for the drivers and team titles. During the flurry of pit stops that followed that yellow flag, the Auberlin/Liddell Panoz and the Fogarty/van Overbeek Flying Lizard Porsche stayed on the track, pulling ahead of the Long/Bergmeister, but both cars had to pit under green for fuel and the Petersen car secured its victory.

Bernhard/Dumas finished second in the season points chase, while van Overbeek/Fogarty were third. Earlier this season, Porsche clinched its sixth manufacturers championship in seven years.

The Monterey Sports Car Championships will be telecast on Sunday, October 16 on the SPEED Channel network starting at 1:00 PM EDT.


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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Romain Dumas , Mike Rockenfeller , Wolf Henzler , Alex Job
Teams Alex Job Racing