Mid-Ohio: Porsche Motorsport preview

PORSCHE AIMS TO BE FIRST MANUFACTURER TO WIN THREE ALMS TITLES IN SAME YEAR Lexington, Ohio - August 4 - The fight for the LMP, GT, GT Challenge titles in the American Le Mans Series is heating up, with three races in the next four weeks likely...


Lexington, Ohio - August 4 - The fight for the LMP, GT, GT Challenge titles in the American Le Mans Series is heating up, with three races in the next four weeks likely to decide who will be champions for 2010. And Porsche drivers and teams look to become the first manufacturer to capture three ALMS crowns in the same year.

In the fiercely-contested GT class, Porsche factory drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) snatched back the points' lead two weeks ago at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut with a win in their #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports 911 GT3 RSR against strong opposition from BMW and Ferrari. Their victory also vaulted the pair back into the top spot in the driver standings by 14 points over the top Ferrari team, and puts Porsche ahead of BMW in the manufacturers championship by one point. On the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where round six gets the green flag on Saturday, August 7, Bergmeister and Long are determined to extend their points' advantage with a top result.

The defending champions hold good memories from this classic 2.258-mile, 13-turn sports car circuit. Last year, they achieved their fifth straight win of the season at Mid-Ohio, and laid the foundation for their championship. With three victories so far this season at Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Lime Rock, they anticipate another good result from this weekend's event.

"Mid-Ohio is a classic race track with long straights and tight corners. There are places where you can overtake - but not too many," says Joerg Bergmeister. "It all boils down to securing a good grid position in qualifying. And for our strategists it's hugely challenging as well. We have to use every means to defend our class lead."

Patrick Long shares his teammate's confidence: "Our crew has found a great set-up for every circuit this season. If we can do the same in Mid-Ohio we have good chances."

The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge goes green on Saturday, August 7 at 3:00 p.m. EDT and will be telecast on tape-delay on CBS Sports August 15, 2010 starting at 12:30 p.m. EDT. For those who want to follow the race live, the American Le Mans Series is providing online streaming video at www.americanlemans.com on Saturday, August 7, 2010 starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Fans are requested to register in advance for the live streaming video. Live radio coverage will also be available www.americanlemans.com as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 242. The ALMS web site also has live timing and scoring, plus press notes for all on-track sessions.

Flying Lizard Motorsports also fields a second 911 GT3 RSR for Americans Darren Law and Seth Neiman. Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) joins forces with Bryan Sellers (USA) in Team Falken Tire's 911 GT3 RSR. Second in qualifying recently in Lime Rock gave the rookie team to the American Le Mans Series new impetus.

"Successes like our Lime Rock qualifying have provided us with exactly the motivation we need," said Henzler.

All the ALMS Porsche factory drivers were in action last weekend at the Spa 24-Hour race in Belgium, with their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR teams scoring a one-two finishing in that FIA-GT race. Driven by an all-star lineup of factory drivers Jorg Bergmeister, Romain Dumas, Wolf Henzler and former Junior Martin Ragginger, the Italian BMS Porsche took the overall win when the leading BMW broke a tie-rod with less than 40 minutes remaining in the contest. Despite having the quicker of the two lead Porsches, the IMSA Performance Matmut's entry of Patrick Pilet, Patrick Long, Richard Lietz and Raymond Narac came home second, one minute and 16 seconds behind the winning BMS machine.

Muscle Milk Team Cytosport, contesting the LMP sports prototype class with a Porsche RS Spyder, joined the American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio one year ago. The outfit can look back on an impressive performance: the team secured podium results at all ten races contested. Kicking off the 2010 season, the squad pocketed a class victory at the prestigious Sebring 12 hour race. And at Lime Rock two weeks ago, Klaus Graf (Germany) and Greg Pickett (USA) brought home the first overall win of a private team with the RS Spyder in the American Le Mans Series.

"It's a great experience to work with this team and to see how they improve from race to race," says Klaus Graf, who is just seven points shy of the championship points' lead after his sensational victory in Lime Rock. "Right from the word "go," we've received fantastic support from Porsche and Michelin. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to reward this trust with such a success. The RS Spyder is an unbelievable car."

In the ALMS GT Challenge class for matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, the departure from the series of the points-leading Gonzales/Leitzinger car has left the championship wide open. The victory by the TRG Porsche piloted by Andy Lally and Henri Richard at Lime Rock gave the pair the points lead, but the Jeroen Bleekemolen/Tim Pappas Black Swan Porsche, which Bleekemolen has put on the pole for the last three events, can still contend with a top finish at Mid-Ohio. The Alex Job Racing Battery Tender Porsche of Bill Sweedler and Romeo Kapudija can also climb into championship contention with a strong finish this weekend.

-source: porsche

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Series ALMS
Drivers Klaus Graf , Andy Lally , Darren Law , Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Greg Pickett , Tim Pappas , Romain Dumas , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Seth Neiman , Bryan Sellers , Wolf Henzler , Raymond Narac , Patrick Pilet , Alex Job , Martin Ragginger , Richard Lietz , Henri Richard , Bill Sweedler
Teams IMSA Performance Matmut , Alex Job Racing , Team Falken Tire , Flying Lizard Motorsports