Driver, Team Points Deadlocked Between BMW And Porsche; First-Ever American Le Mans Series GT Class Battle This Weekend At Mid-Ohio -Porsche driver Sascha Maassen and BMW pilot Jorg Muller are tied for the GT class lead with only three ALMS...
Driver, Team Points Deadlocked Between BMW And Porsche; First-Ever American Le Mans Series GT Class Battle This Weekend At Mid-Ohio
-Porsche driver Sascha Maassen and BMW pilot Jorg Muller are tied for the GT class lead with only three ALMS events remaining; Porsche previous success at Mid-Ohio-
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Aug. 21, 2001 -- Although the American Le Mans Series has never run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the echoes of great Porsche racers of the past reverberate around the historic road course located halfway between Cleveland and Columbus. The ALMS Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, which runs on Saturday, August 25, could be the latest chapter of Porsche success here.
"Mark Donohue, Peter Gregg, Al Holbert, George Follmer, Hurley Haywood, Derek Bell and others have all scored great victories for Porsche here at Mid-Ohio -- even current BMW drivers Hans Stuck and Bill Auberlin have driven Porsches here," said Alwin Springer, president of Porsche Motorsport North America.
"Our current drivers have had success here as well, with Johnny Mowlem winning the GT3 class with David Murry in the USRRC event in a Porsche 911, and Randy Pobst winning a SCCA national title and several other races here. We hope our rich heritage here, plus some hard work from our customer teams can put us on the podium for this historic event," Springer added.
Sascha Maassen, the German-born driver now living in Belgium, leads the GT class in the American Le Mans Series in his Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS with 109 points, which includes victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Grand Prix of Texas. His co-driver in the #23 Alex Job Porsche, Lucas Luhr, a German native now living in Monaco, is right behind Sascha with 108 points as Maassen gained an extra point turning the fastest lap during the Texas event. But the BMW drivers are right there as well, as German Jorg Muller also has 109 points, and his teammate J.J. Lehto along with American Boris Said have 108 points.
Currently, Alex Job Racing and BMW Motorsport are tied for the lead in the team championship as well.
"The BMWs have won the most recent events, and seem to have more power on the track, but that means our customer teams must work hard at the other parts of their game, such as mistake-free driving, car set-up, pit strategy, and pit stop execution," said Springer.
With Randy Pobst and Christian Menzel sharing the driving, the #22 Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS entry, plagued by a broken half-shaft at Portland and engine overheating at Mosport, hopes to challenge its teammate as well as the BMWs.
The Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RS will have a substitute driver for the weekend, but certainly one who is familiar with the car, the track and the team. Mike Fitzgerald, who won the Grand American race here last year and a Motorola Cup race at Mid-Ohio in 1998, will substitute for German GT driver Timo Bernhard, who will be at a Porsche Carrera Cup race in Europe. Bernhard slid off the course into the tire wall in the rain last weekend at Mosport, but the team reported that the car has been fixed and is ready for Mid-Ohio. Petersen team regular Johnny Mowlem, who won the USRRC event here in 1999 in a Porsche with co-driver David Murry, will be Fitzgerald's co-pilot.
Other Porsche 911 GT3 RS entries include the 2001 Le Mans-winning team -- Canadian-based Seikel Motorsports -- with Tony Burgess from Toronto being the lead driver (the Italian drivers Rosa/Babini/Drudi won Le Mans in the car); a Dick Barbour Racing entry with Randy Wars from Mexico City and Mark Neuhaus, from Sun Valley, ID; and the Kyser Racing entry of Kye Wankum from Toronto and Joe Foster from Atlanta.
Practice starts on Friday morning, August 24, with final qualifying for the ALMS Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio taking place later that same afternoon at 4:10 PM EDT for Saturday's event.
The ALMS Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio will be telecast live on the NBC television network starting at 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, August 25 (check local listings for the exact time and channel in your area). The race, along with qualifying sessions starting August 24, will be broadcast live on the American Le Mans Radio Network, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. That same American Le Mans Series Web site will also have live timing and scoring during qualifying and the race event.
The official Porsche Web site -- www.porsche.com -- will have qualifying information on the ALMS Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio for all the Porsches entered, and will file stories and photos during and after the race. Porsche Web site users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.
Other Web sites that will follow the overall event include the American Le Mans site mentioned above, the ON TRACK ONLINE site, www.ontrackonline.com), TotalMotorsport (www.totalmotorsport.com); The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), the Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).