SEBRING, Fla. -- March 17, 2001 -- Using smart driving and pit strategy, the Alex Job Racing McKenn Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars scored their second straight one-two finish in the 2001 American Le Mans Series with a stunning victory at the 49th ...
SEBRING, Fla. -- March 17, 2001 -- Using smart driving and pit strategy, the Alex Job Racing McKenn Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars scored their second straight one-two finish in the 2001 American Le Mans Series with a stunning victory at the 49th Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring.
The #23 Lucas Luhr/Sascha Maassen/Emanuel Collard Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS ran a perfect race, making no unscheduled pit stops and keeping the pressure on a faster Lehto/Muller BMW M3 V-8. For Lucas Luhr, the German driver now living in Monaco, its his fourth win in a row including the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, and three straight wins in ALMS going back to the 2000 finale in Australia.
"The BMW V-8 was very fast, but we did not panic," said Luhr, a former national karting champion and Formula 3 competitor. "We planned our pit stops carefully, stayed out of trouble on the track, pushed our Porsches hard. One thing we know we can count on -- that's the reliability of the Porsche race car,"
Luhr also took a moment to remember former teammate and fellow Porsche driver Bob Wollek, who died in an traffic accident on March 16 near the track.
"I won Daytona this year in the White Lightning Petersen Motorsports Porsche that Bob was to drive here. Bob taught me a lot about driving and life on the road in our year together in 2000 with the Dick Barbour team," he said.
As if in tribute to his mentor, Luhr became the first Porsche driver since Bob Wollek (1985) to win Daytona and Sebring back to back.
For Sascha Maassen, who co-drove with Wollek last year in the Dick Barbour Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, it was a bitter-sweet victory as well.
"I had to put the sad feelings behind me today as it took full concentration to beat back the real BMW threat, said Maassen, who won five ALMS events with Wollek last year.
"But I had Bob on my mind. I feel good about winning after dedicating our efforts to Bob because Bob was a winner."
"The first 10-1/2 hours were really hard as the BMW ran us off the track, but paid for it in more frequent pit stops. But once they made an adjustment, we were really worried as they could match both our speed and fuel economy. It was only after they ha d some late-race tire and headlight problems that we were able to relax a bit."
French Formula One test driver Emmanuel Collard, the third driver in the winning Porsche, might have driven the fastest race cars in the world, but this is clearly his most important win of his career.
Second overall in the GT class was the other Alex Job McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Randy Pobst/Christian Menzel/Timo Bernhard, two laps ahead of the BMW V-8. Randy Pobst knows it will be a tough year of competition, but he'll savor this one for a long time. Not just for himself, but for boss and friend Alex Job.
"After struggling last year, it has been good to see the Alex Job team score two such convincing wins with both its team cars," said Pobst, who won two ALMS events for Alex Job last year.
The Stuck/Said/P. Cunningham BMW was fourth, following by the Larbre Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Bouchut/Dumez/Goueslard (fifth).
Some of the notable class DNFs included the two Kelly-Moss Porsche 911 GT3 Rs -- both with broken axles, and the Dick Barbour Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R. Both Kelly-Moss teams -- David Murry/Anthony Lazarro/Vincent Sospiri and Darren Law/Rick Polk/Cort Wagner -- were running in the top seven when they dropped out. The Ekblom/D. Muller BMW and Jonsson/Auberlin BMW both lost engines early in the event.
The official Porsche web site -- www.porsche.com -- has stories and photos from this and all ALMS events. 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 are following the ALMS series include the American Le Mans site (www.americanlemmans.com), the ON TRACK ONLINE site, (www.ontrackonline.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).
2001 SUPERFLO 12 HOURS AT SEBRING -- FINAL GT CLASS RESULTS
Car # Drivers Entry/Car Laps 23 Luhr/Maassen/Collard McKenna Porsche Alex Job Racing 911 GT3 RS 326 22 Pobst/Menzel/Bernhard McKenna Porsche Alex Job Racing 911 GT3 RS 326 42 Lehto/Muller BMW M3 326 6 Stuck/Said/P. Cunningham BMW M3 318 0 Bouchut/Dumaz/Goueslard Larbre Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R 317 53 Rosa/Babini/Caffi Seikel Porsche 911 GT3 RS 312 69 Wankum/Pabst/Foster Kyser Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R 306 36 Richter/Alzen Alzen Porsche 911 GT# R 306 58 Kaufman/Ortelli Freisinger Porsche 911 GT3 RS 300 09 Alexander/Gleason/Pickening Cirtek Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R 293