Petit Le Mans, series finale preview

The Audi Petit Le Mans will be the finale of the 2001 American Le Mans Series (ALMS), following the cancellation of the Oct. 21 event at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. Fans who have already purchased tickets for the Charlotte event have...

The Audi Petit Le Mans will be the finale of the 2001 American Le Mans Series (ALMS), following the cancellation of the Oct. 21 event at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. Fans who have already purchased tickets for the Charlotte event have the choice of a full refund or a "two-for-one" exchange for tickets to the Audi Petit Le Mans.

The decision was prompted by direct input from series stakeholders, including teams, manufacturers and sponsors, collectively agreeing to "skip ahead to the new American Le Mans Series," said Scott Atherton, President and COO of Panoz Motor Sports. "The Audi Petit Le Mans is shaping up to have one of the best fields of race cars ever assembled for a sports car race in the United States."

So now the Audi Petit Le Mans takes on added importance, as the four class championships will be decided at Road Atlanta on Oct. 6th. "We are very excited at hosting the season finale," says Mike Swaine, Executive Director of Road Atlanta. "And with our hometown Panoz team coming on strong, it will be a great finale."

The ALMS Awards Banquet will be held on Sunday, Oct. 7, at Chateau Elan.

THE CALENDAR: The American Le Mans Series will visit famed Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., on Sept. 8-9, the final event before the Audi Petit Le Mans.

HOMETOWN HEROS: The Braselton-based Panoz Motor Sports team claimed its second win in the last three ALMS races as David Brabham and Jan Magnussen came from a lap down Saturday to win a wild race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car course.

Co-driving a Panoz LMP1-RS in the two-hour, 45-minute sports car endurance race, the eventual winners fell a lap behind in the first hour as the Audi R8 driven by Tom Kristensen dominated the event. The complexion of the race changed, though, under a caution period for a stalled car 90 minutes into the event.

Magnussen, who had taken over for Brabham in the Panoz, was able to unlap himself from the lead Audi on the resulting restart, and another caution occurred a few minutes later when Joel Field spun and tapped the wall on the frontstretch of the 2.258-mile circuit. As the field was slowing to pack up behind the safety car, Kristensen passed the safety car, which resulted in the Audi having to serve a stop-and-go penalty after racing resumed.

Magnussen had passed the other cars on the lead lap and took the lead when the Audi pitted for the penalty. He led the rest of the way to an 11.338-second win over Rinaldo Capello, who took over for Kristensen for the final stint.

Johnny O'Connell of Flowery Branch teamed with Canada's Ron Fellows to score their fifth GTS class win in six starts this season in their Corvette C5-R. They were 10th overall in the field of 28 starters.

Joe Foster of Atlanta dropped out on the 75th lap with gearbox problems in his Keyser Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, and finished 24th overall and 10th in the GT class. Foster is the Chief Driving Instructor for the Panoz Racing School.

The second Panoz entry, driven by Frank Lagorce of France and Kluas Graf of Germany, finished sixth, followed by the Norcross-based Cadillac LMP 01 team with drivers Wayne Taylor Altamonte Springs, Fla., and Max Angelelli of Italy in seventh place.

WEBSITES: Visit www.roadatlanta.com

TICKETS: Tickets for the Audi Petit Le Mans are now on sale. The premium ticket is the four-day Mulsanne Chalet package, which includes four-day admission, paddock access, preferred parking and Saturday hospitality (food and beverages). Mulsanne Chalet packages are available only in advance and cost $200 ($100 for children). A four-day Super Ticket costs $65 in advance and $75 at the gate and includes paddock access. A one-day Saturday only ticket is available for $45 in advance.

Advance sale prices are effective through Sept. 21. Please call 1-800-849-7223 or visit www.roadatlanta.com <http://www.roadatlanta.com/> to order advance tickets with a credit card.

-RA/ALMS-

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli , Joe Foster