The American Le Mans Series will return to action with the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., June 27-29. The race will be Round Two of the nine-race season and the first event for the series since the ...
The American Le Mans Series will return to action with the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., June 27-29. The race will be Round Two of the nine-race season and the first event for the series since the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
The American Le Mans Series builds its schedule around the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which was held June 14-15. Twenty-one teams from the series participated at Le Mans and have flown or shipped their cars and equipment from France to Atlanta for this weekend's race.
** DANICA PATRICK GETS NEW TEAMMATE FOR DEBUT -- Danica Patrick will have a new co-driver for her debut in the American Le Mans Series in this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta.
The 21-year-old rising American racing star was slated to co-drive with Anthony Davidson of England for the Prodrive Ferrari team at Road Atlanta. However, due to his commitments as a Formula One testing driver, Davidson could not compete in all of the eight remaining races on the ALMS schedule and has therefore backed out of driving for Prodrive in America.
Taking his place in the #80 Ferrari 550 Maranello will be Jerome Policand of France, a longtime veteran of European road racing. Policand drove a Prodrive-prepared Ferrari for the Luke Alphand Aventures team in the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Policand has one career start in ALMS competition, finishing sixth overall while driving a Prototype in the series event held at Germany's Nurburgring circuit in 2000.
** DAVISON JOINS PK SPORT TEAM -- Alex Davison of Australia has joined the PK Sport team for the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta. The British racing team, owned by Mike Pickup, is fielding two Porsche 911 GT3 RS machines in the GT class in all ALMS events this season.
Davison will co-drive with Robin Liddell of England in the #60 PK Sport Porsche, making his first-ever start in the ALMS. Davison moved from Australia to Germany several years ago to advance his career and the 23-year-old is in his fourth season in the German Carrera Cup for Hewlett-Packard/Phoenix Racing.
"I am really excited about my first venture into sports car racing," he said. "Racing in a series like the ALMS is something I've been aiming at since I came to Germany in the beginning of 2000.
"I visited the Le Mans 24 Hour in France a few weeks ago and was impressed not only by the race, but the PK Sport outfit," he said. "They are one of the top runners in the GT class. It will be a very competitive class with a bunch of other drivers, including Porsche-contracted drivers, in competitive cars in the class, but I'll be using the races as important experience.
"I think we can have a good result," he said. "It will be my first time racing in America, bar my Supercup experience at Indianapolis last year, so I'm quite looking forward to it."
The second PK Sport Porsche will be driven by veteran Vic Rice of San Rafael, Calif., and a second driver yet to be named.
** FELLOWS WINS HOMETOWN AWARD -- For the third consecutive year, American Le Mans Series driver Ron Fellows has been honored as "Professional Athlete of the Year" in his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
The Corvette Racing driver, the 2002 ALMS GTS class champion, has been a large supporter of sports not only in Mississauga but throughout Ontario with the his Ron Fellows Karting Championship, sponsored by Sunoco and the Toronto Star.
Because of his extensive travel schedule, Fellows had to miss the Mississauga Sports Council's Dinner and Auction, the only time he has not been present to accept his award in the three years he has won it.
** JOEST PUTS PERFECT ROAD ATLANTA RECORD ON LINE -- Infineon Team Joest will put its undefeated record at Road Atlanta on the line in this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta.
The Joest team, which operated the factory Audi effort for the past three seasons in the American Le Mans Series, won the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in each of those seasons and is now running the Audi R8 Prototype as a private entrant. Unlike the Petit, which is a 1,000-mile endurance race, the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta is a new sprint race of two hours and 45 minutes.
"The race will be very hard," said driver Frank Biela. "The circuit is very challenging and physically demanding. During such a short race you cannot pace yourself physically as you would normally over a longer distance. On top of this, it should be much hotter in Atlanta at the end of June than in October."
Forecasts in the Atlanta area are calling for temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s.
Biela's co-driver, Marco Werner of Germany, will be racing at Road Atlanta for the first time. "From now on, all the circuits in America will be new to me," he said. "I can't wait as I've only heard good things about Road Atlanta. I'm really looking forward to the roller-coaster sections, which should suit me."
Biela and Werner enter the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta as the co-leaders in the LMP 900 driver point standings for the ALMS due to their victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
** ALMS RACE ON CBS -- CBS Sports will televise the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta from 4-6 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday, marking the first-ever live network telecast of an event from Road Atlanta. CBS Sports televised its first ALMS race in 2002.
The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage available online each time the ALMS cars are on the track at Road Atlanta, including practice, qualifying and the race. The Radio Web is free of charge and can be accessed at www.americanlemans.com.