Mosport: Porsche Motorsport preview



BOWMANVILLE, Ontario (Canada) - August 30, 2006 - In one of the most visible professional Porsche motorsports weekends in memory, Porsche drivers and teams will be trying to strengthen driver, team, and manufacturers points lead in three different series and four different classes at the Mobil 1 Presents Labour Day Weekend Grand Prix of Mosport September 1 - 3 at Mosport International Raceway (60 miles east of Toronto).

The 10-turn, 2.55-mile road course, once the home of the Canadian Grand Prix, is hosting round #8 of the ten round American Le Mans Series championship, with the feature two-hour, 45-minute event to be telecast live on Sunday, September 3, at 3:00 PM EDT on The SPEED channel.

In the American Le Mans Series race, the two Porsche RS Spyder prototypes, prepared by Penske Motorsports, will look to lengthen their chassis and engine manufacturer championship points lead in the LMP2 class, while veteran drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr continue their march towards the drivers championship. Maassen, now driving with Timo Bernhard in the #6 RS Spyder, is leading the LMP2 championship by two points over the rival Lola AER team, while his former co-driver Lucas Luhr, now driving in the #7 team car with Romain Dumas, is third, just four points back. The team split up Maassen and Luhr for the rest of the season to give Porsche the best chance to win the LMP2 drivers title, with the Maassen/Bernhard car winning two weeks ago at Road America to give Sascha the points lead.

After completing seven of the ten events in its first season of American Le Mans Series competition, the two Porsche RS Spyder V-8-powered prototypes have shown the sports car world they can perform at the front of the field, but have also shown the results of the new engine and chassis development. The two cars have scored four class wins between them, including a one-two overall victory at Mid-Ohio, and hold a significant points lead in chassis, engine and team LMP2 standings (Porsche currently leads the LMP2 chassis and manufacturers' championship and Penske Racing is currently on top of the LMP2 team championship). But a combination of mechanical problems and on-track incidents has left the drivers points chase a close battle between the Porsche and Lola drivers.

After an opening win at Laguna Seca the end of last year by Porsche factory drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, the two-car team had problems at the opening two events this year at Sebring and Houston. While the RS Spyders showed their potential by leading both the LMP2 class and the overall race during the two events, both cars suffered mechanical gremlins and did not finish either race.

But Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard broke through at Mid-Ohio with not only an LMP2 win, but an overall victory as well - beating all the LMP1 cars including the Audi R8, with the Maassen/Luhr team car finishing second. Dumas/Bernhard won LMP2 again at Lime Rock, with Maassen/Luhr winning the class at Salt Lake City in mid- July. Then, just one week later in Portland, Maassen/Luhr earned second-place points after an engine problem late in the event robbed them of a certain victory (five-lap lead with 20 minutes to go), and Bernhard/Dumas were a distant third after an accident put them in the pits for more than 22 minutes. At Road America, the new driver combination of Maassen and Bernhard won the class, with Luhr and Dumas a close second and the Lola third.

GT2 - No clear favorite

Johannes van Overbeek, leading driver and co-owner of the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, holds an "uneasy" nine point GT2 class lead over a charging Petersen/White Lightning Porsche team headed by Jorg Bergmeister, one of last year's GT2 champions.

Van Overbeek, who is alone atop the GT2 points heap as co-driver Wolf Henzler joined the team part way into the season, has won only one race, but has finished in the top five at every event to gain the lead. Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb will replace Henzler for Mosport as Wolf has a previous commitment. Bergmeister, who was co-champion in GT2 last year with Patrick Long, is alone in second place as Long ran one of the RS Spyders at Sebring and did not gain any GT2 points there. In the last four races, Bergmeister/Long have two victories and two seconds, while van Overbeek/Henzler have a second, a third, a fourth, and a fifth.

The Ferrari 430 V-8 has certainly shown top speed in winning two ALMS GT2 events, while the Panoz Esperante has scored the other class win. The BMW M3 has also landed on the GT2 podium, scoring its best finish two weeks ago at Road America (second). Porsche leads the GT2 manufacturers championship points over Ferrari, 134 - 96.

Other Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entries in the GT2 class include Alex Job Racing Porsche of Mike Rockenfeller/ Marcel Tiemann, and the second Flying Lizard Porsche entry of Seth Nieman/Lonnie Pechnik.

IMSA GT3 Cup and World Challenge - Different version of the Porsche Cup

The SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship, which provide teams, manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers a competitive production-based race series in which to prove their products, has been a fertile battle ground for modified Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers to battle Corvettes, Vipers, Cadillacs and Aston Martins in a series which makes race-by-race rule adjustments to keep the V-8s and the "sixes" competitive.

With three races to go, Lawson Aschenbach, running the Jon Groom Racing AXA Financial Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, has a six-point lead over a Corvette driver and 11-point lead over the defending V-8 Cadillac champion. Jon Groom teammate Ricardo Imery, driving a similar 911 Cup car, is fourth in points. Imery and Aschenbach are both graduates of the IMSA GT3 Cup Championship series, having both won races in that series a year ago. Each has one World Challenge win this year.

The fastest growing single-make racing series in America heads north of the border for the first time this weekend when the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin visits historic Mosport International Raceway on Saturday, September 2. More than 40 stock Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars - both type 997s and type 996s - are expected to be on the grid.

There are interesting storylines in both classes, mostly focusing on the championship chase as the Mosport event marks the fifth round of the seven-race championship. The points battle in the Type 997 class, featuring the newest model of the renowned Porsche racer, is as tight as it has ever been. Following a second-place finish two weeks ago at Road America, Nathan Swartzbaugh has moved into the championship lead for the first time in his No. 17 AASCO Motorsports entry with 64 points.

At Road America, Swartzbaugh finished behind only Kevin Roush, who also won at Sebring in the No. 12 Wheel Enhancement/GAS Porsche GT3 Cup Type 997 car. Roush, who won the last two events of 2005 and this year's season-opener at Sebring, is third in the standings with 48 points. Second in the championship is the remarkably consistent Dino Steiner with 62 points.

In the Type 996 class, Dino Loles in the No. 47 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche has swept each of the first four rounds of the championship. Not only that, he has captured the class pole position and posted the fastest 996 race lap in each race as well. Not surprisingly, he is comfortably ahead in the championship by 19 points over Darrell Carlisle. A strong finish by Loles this weekend could put him in a position to clinch the championship in the next round at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

-credit: porsche motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Marcel Tiemann , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Dino Steiner , Lawson Aschenbach , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Johannes van Overbeek , Marc Lieb , Romain Dumas , Lonnie Pechnik , Ricardo Imery , Jon Groom , Mike Rockenfeller , Kevin Roush , Alex Job , Dino Loles , Nathan Swartzbaugh
Teams Team Penske