New Porsche Rivalry Between Alex Job Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports Heats Up For Portland; Both Teams GT "Winners" at Sears --The American Le Mans Series Porsche 911 GT3 RSR competitors from Alex Job Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports...
New Porsche Rivalry Between Alex Job Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports Heats Up For Portland; Both Teams GT "Winners" at Sears
--The American Le Mans Series Porsche 911 GT3 RSR competitors from Alex Job Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports both claimed victory last week at Infineon Raceway (formerly Sears Point) in California, but the sanctioning body had the last word-
Portland, Ore. - July 22 - By avoiding a pit stop during an early-race yellow flag, the Darren Law/Johannes van Overbeek Porsche 911 GT3 RSR put nearly a lap on the other GT competitors and looked like they had led their Flying Lizard Motorsports team to victory last week at the Grand Prix of Sonoma.
But, by coming into pit lane, and then deciding to drive through without stopping, the team violated International Motor Sports Association rules, and, when the sanctioning body discovered the infraction after the event, the Lizards were assessed a 42-second penalty dropping them into second place. So it was the Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche 911 GT3 RSR that claimed is second win of the year with the Jorg Bergmeister/Timo Bernhard driver combination on board.
"We were very disappointed," said Flying Lizard Motorsports principal and driver Seth Neiman, "but it was a clear violation of the rules, and others knew the rules better than we did. As a new team this year, we are in the midst of learning many lessons, and knowing all the rules is just one of those lessons."
Just because one of his race cars won last week doesn't mean the Alex Job Racing Porsches are home free for their third straight GT championship.
"We still have a lot of work to do as a team, as we have made both driving mistakes and pit errors so far this year," said Job, whose team is the only one which has entered every ALMS race since the series started in 1999.
"Some retirements, some injuries, and new people on the pit crew have affected our performance on the track, and the other teams are so strong this year that we have to correct those situations in a hurry if we want to contend for the championship again," said Job.
Before the Risi Ferrari won the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock earlier this month, Alex Job Racing had lead Porsche's 21-race GT winning streak - the longest in ALMS history. The second Alex Job Racing Porsche, driven by Frenchman Romain Dumas and German Marc Lieb, is also in contention for the championship, with a second at Sebring, and third place finishes at Mid-Ohio and Infineon. 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 Racer's Group Porsche team, also with two 911 GT3 RSR cars entered, features Patrick Long and Cort Wagner - both from Southern California - 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. A guest on "Good Day Oregon" on Fox 12 earlier this week, Long was asked how his parents felt about his dangerous profession.
"As most young drivers, I started out in go-karts. It was certainly safer than Pop Warner football," Patrick told the Portland TV audience.
Pierre Ehret, from Santa Rosa, Calif., and veteran Jim Matthews, from Chapel Hill, NC, will drive the second The Racer's Group Porsche.
The Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Porsche drivers David Murry and Craig Stanton, who were third in two of the three events for far this season, have proven they can run with the leaders, but have not broken into the victory column. The team, which won Le Mans GT contest just five weeks ago 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. At the most recent event in Sonoma, Craig Stanton was a close third behind Romain Dumas when the cars made contact, smashing Stanton's radiator, and causing a lengthy pit stop.
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 Lucas Luhr - free for the weekend from his regular assignment in the FIA-GT series - will be driving the BAM! Porsche at Infineon Racway. Lucas' co-driver, Sascha Maassen, will also drive for BAM! at selected races this
season. Both Lucas and Sascha were ALMS champions with Alex Job Racing in 2002 and 2003. Unfortunately for Lucas, this is the third time he has been entered in the BAM! Porsche, but he has yet to turn a race lap for the team. At Lime Rock, Hindery crashed on the first lap, and in Sonoma, the car suffered electonics woes just 15 laps into the race - also with Leo driving.
Peter Boss, from Narragansett, Rhode Island, and a newcomer to ALMS, will co-drive in the British-based P.K. 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 Portland.
The Grand Prix of Sonoma will be televised live on The Speed Channel starting at 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday, July 25.
The official Porsche media web site - www.press.porsche.com - will have qualifying information for the Portland 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 Infineon 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 Portland 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 Portland 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).