Mosport: Event preview

Herta, Auberlen seek elusive American Le Mans Series win at Mosport. BOWMANVILLE, ON, Canada (August 12, 2002) -- Three years have passed since an American-born driver has taken the overall win in an American Le Mans Series race, but the racing...

Herta, Auberlen seek elusive American Le Mans Series win at Mosport.

BOWMANVILLE, ON, Canada (August 12, 2002) -- Three years have passed since an American-born driver has taken the overall win in an American Le Mans Series race, but the racing team with the best chance of breaking that streak heads this weekend to the place where it has already happened once.

California drivers Bryan Herta and Bill Auberlen hope to become the first American overall race winners since 1999 when the series makes its annual appearance at Mosport International Raceway for the mail2web.com Grand Prix of Mosport on Sunday, August 18. Herta, who has raced many times in the CART event held in nearby Toronto, and Auberlen will be American drivers in an American car run by an American racing team as they seek victory in the sports car endurance racing series.

While American drivers have scored numerous class wins, not since Johnny O'Connell was part of the winning team in a 1999 event at Mosport has an American taken the overall win in series event. O'Connell's win in the inaugural season of the series, the only American overall win in series history, came for Panoz Motor Sports, the same team for which Herta is now driving. At the time, O'Connell was co-driving with Jan Magnussen of Denmark.

After years of open-wheel racing in the CART FedEx Championship Series, Herta, from Valencia, Calif., switched to sports car racing for the 2002 season, joining the Georgia-based Panoz team during the off-season. His driving partner, Auberlen, from Hermosa Beach, Calif., has long been a standout in road racing.

The Panoz "Spirit of America" team, with Panoz LMP-1 Prototype machines adorned in a Stars and Stripes motif, has long been a favorite of fans at American Le Mans Series races. While Herta and Auberlen have not yet won in the six ALMS events held in 2002, their team car driven by Magnussen and David Brabham (Australia) has won twice.

The 2002 season opener at Sebring was Herta's first-ever sports car event and he is in a year of learning a different form of the sport. He has never before raced at Mosport, site of the mail2web.com Grand Prix of Mosport this weekend.

"I'm looking forward to all of the races," he said. "Each weekend is like a new adventure for me. There's so much that's different in this type of racing than the open wheel stuff I've been doing for so long. Every single week I learn a little bit more about the car, the type of racing and the traffic situations, and I can't wait to get to the next race."

Four classes of American Le Mans Series cars will compete in the two-hour, 45-minute event mail2web.com Grand Prix of Mosport. The race will begin at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). Ticket information is available online at www.mosport.com or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-866-1072.

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Bryan Herta , Johnny O'Connell , Bill Auberlen