The American Le Mans Series Porsche 911 GT3 RSR competitors have found wins hard to come by in 2004, so finishing second and third can be just as important as the championship chase is in the points- Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - August 6, 2004...
The American Le Mans Series Porsche 911 GT3 RSR competitors have found wins hard to come by in 2004, so finishing second and third can be just as important as the championship chase is in the points-
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - August 6, 2004 - When an investment counselor touts the unique value of a real estate deal, he tells the client, "they aren't making any more land."
With only four races remaining in the 2004 American Le Mans Series - including this Sunday's Toronto Grand prix of Mosport, there are a finite number of points left to earn for the driver and team championships, and the competitors for the ALMS GT title can't afford to let a single position finish slip through their grasp.
"With the Alex Job Racing Porsche and Lucas Luhr/Sascha Maassen winning so many races over the past two years enroute to their back-to-back championships, racing fans have forgotten that the GT class racing can be close," said Porsche Motorsport North America President Uwe Brettel.
Four different cars, and five different driver combinations have won the GT class so far this year, and, for the most part, the leader for the first hour has not been the one in front when the checker flag falls. All of that has led to five drivers within nine points of each other with only 86 points left to earn.
"Mosport is a very demanding course, with fast, tight turns and dramatic elevation changes - perfect for the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - but which one will emerge victorious this time?" Brettel asked.
"And we can't forget that the Panoz Esperante qualified on the front row at Mid-Ohio, and the Ferrari 360 won the event at lime Rock. Even though they are not in the championship fight, they could steal a Porsche team's valuable points," he said.
Leading the points by virtue of their win at Mid-Ohio, and three straight second- place finishes, is the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Darren law and Johannes van Overbeek. Coupled with a fine fourth-place finish at Sebring - their first ALMS race ever, this new team has surprised the GT class by gelling so well in their first season. They actually crossed the finish line first at the Grand Prix of Sonoma, but, while avoiding a pit stop during an early-race yellow flag by driving through the pits without stopping, the team violated International Motor Sports Association rules and incurred a penalty which pushed them back to second.
Speaking of second, it is Timo Bernhard who holds down second place in the point standings, just 11 points behind Law/van Overbeek. Timo, who combined with co-driver Jorg Bergmeister to gain the win at Infineon Raceway in the Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche, also won the 12 Hours of Sebring, but Bergmeister was sick that weekend and could not drive in the Florida classic - thus Jorg lags behind in the points. With the combined success of both cars, Alex job Racing has taken the lead in the team championship point standings.
Just one point behind Timo in the driver standings are the other two Alex Job Porsche drivers, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, who claimed victory at the most recent ALMS event in Portland. Although Dumas had put the car on the pole - his third pole position - it was the pair's first ALMS win, both individually and as a team. The Portland event was not easy, however, as several teams, including the BAM! YES Network Porsche, the Flying Lizard Porsche, and the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche all lead the race before Dumas and Lieb went to the front near the end of the event.
The Flying Lizard Motorsports team also has a second car, driven by Seth Neiman, of Hillsborough, Calif., and Lonnie Pechnik, of Pacific Grove, Calif.
The Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche drivers David Murry and Craig Stanton, who have been third at three events so far this season, have proven they can run with the leaders, but have not broken into the victory column. The most recent event at Portland was perhaps the most frustrating as Murry led the race for most of the first hour, only to have tire wear cost Stanton a chance to finish second late in the event. The team, which won Le Mans GT contest in June with Sascha Maassen/Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long at the helm, was the only GT team to oust Alex Job Racing from the winners circle in 2003, with Stanton and Johnny Mowlem grabbing a win at Road America.
The Racer's Group Porsche team, also with two 911 GT3 RSR cars entered, features Patrick Long and Cort Wagner at the helm of the lead car. Wagner, a former ALMS GT champion, and Long, the 22 year-old Porsche factory driver, who was recently on the winning GT team at Le Mans, are still looking for their first podium finish of the year. Long also led at Portland, but an untimely flat tire put their Porsche back in the field.
Pierre Ehret, from Santa Rosa, Calif., and veteran Jim Matthews, from Chapel Hill, NC, will drive the second The Racer's Group Porsche.
BAM!'s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR also ran at Le Mans, and had a shot at the win before transmission problems sidelined their effort late in the race. Leo Hindery and defending ALMS GT co-champion Sascha Maassen, who did win at Le Mans will be driving the BAM! YES Network Porsche at Mosport.
Peter Boss, a newcomer to ALMS, will co-drive in the British-based PK Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RS with Hugh Plumb, while the J3 Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will be co- driven by Justin Jackson and Tim Sugden. Sugden, who had the J3 Racing Porsche in the lead for almost two hours at Lime Rock, will be shooting to stay with the leaders again with Jackson at Mosport.
The Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport will be televised live on CBS-TV starting at 1:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday, August 8 (the race starts at noon - the network will join the event at 1:00 PM and "edit-on-the-fly" to bring the viewship an action-packed, two-hour show).
The official Porsche media web site - www.press.porsche.com - will have qualifying information for the Mosport event for the Porsches entered, and will post stories and photos during and after the race. Porsche media web site users enter the word "carrera" for both user name and password, then choose "motor sports news" and "ALMS" to find the Mosport updates. The same information is posted for consumers on Porsche's main site www.porsche.com/motorsport (click on "news").
The official race notes and results for all the classes at the Mosport event can be found on the official site for the American Le Mans Series (www.americanlemans.com), where fans can follow the qualifying sessions and the race with live timing and scoring on-line as well as American Le Mans Radio Web, a live radio broadcast of all qualifying sessions as well as the entire 2-hour, 45-minute race.
Other Web sites that will follow the Mosport event include Daily Sports Car (www.dailysportscar.com), The Race Site (www.theracesite.com), the Speed Channel site (www.speedTV.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) , AutoSport magazine's site (www.autosport.com), AutoRacingDaily.com (www.autoracingdaily.com), Motorsport-news.com (www.motorsport- news.com), Crash.net (www.crash.net), racinglines.com (www.racinglines.com), EnduranceSportsCar.com (www.endurancesportscar.com), pitstop.com (www.pitstop.com); and Speed Arena (www.speedarena.com).