MASERATI ADDS F1 VETERAN SALO TO LINEUP FOR PORTLAND GRAND PRIX Braselton, Ga. - Finland's Mika Salo is returning to the American Le Mans Series at next weekend's Portland Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2005 ALMS. The former Formula One competitor...
MASERATI ADDS F1 VETERAN SALO TO LINEUP FOR PORTLAND GRAND PRIX
Braselton, Ga. - Finland's Mika Salo is returning to the American Le Mans Series at next weekend's Portland Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2005 ALMS. The former Formula One competitor will team with Fabrizio de Simone in the No. 35 Maserati MC12, which will compete in GT1.
Salo is one of several drivers with F1 experience to tackle ALMS racing. His only other appearance in the ALMS came in 2003 at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. There, he finished sixth overall and in LMP900 with Jonny Kane and Perry McCarthy in an Audi R8.
From 1994-2000 and in 2002, Salo made 110 career starts in Formula One. His best season came in 1999 when he finished 10th in the World Championship, including six races with Scuderia Ferrari. Salo's best race finish was a runner-up showing in a replacement drive for Michael Schumacher in a Ferarri in 1999. Salo also finished third that season at Monza.
Andrea Bertolini will return to the No. 35 entry for the Generac 500 at Road America next month.
MORE CHANGES: A few other driver changes have been submitted for this weekend. Bryan Sellers will sub for Bill Auberlen in the No. 50 Panoz Motor Sports Esperante GTLM alongside Robin Liddell. In the No. 51 Esperante, Christophe Tinseau will fill in for Sellers. Also in GT2, Martin Jensen will replace Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 43 BAM! Porsche.
ALMS RADIO ON THE AIR: American Le Mans Radio will be available on americanlemans.com for Saturday's race at Portland in partnership with Globecast. As always, John Hindhaugh will provide the "play-by-play" action for the race. ALMS Radio will continue throughout the rest of the season.
PORTLAND SIGHTINGS: Going to be in and around town Thursday? Then there's a good chance you'll see a number of ALMS drivers and personalities.
A number of drivers will be on hand at On Deck Sports Bar and Grill starting at 6 p.m. PDT for a social gathering. Located in the Pearl District of the city, On Deck is located at 910 NW 14th Street.
Corvette Racing's Johnny O'Connell will throw out the first pitch at the Portland Beavers' game, which is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. PDT.
TOUR DE ROAD AMERICA: Cyclist Lance Armstrong recently finished up an endurance race of his own, winning the Tour de France for a record seventh consecutive time. So it makes sense that the ALMS would do its part to help raise money for Armstrong's cancer research foundation.
The second annual Tour de Road America is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Drivers and team members from the ALMS and IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin (among others), will join with series personnel, families, friends, fans, local cyclists, and cancer survivors for a fun ride around the track in an effort to raise $50,000 to help people survive cancer.
Among the ALMS drivers already signed up include JJ Lehto, Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Emanuele Pirro of Champion Racing; Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long of Petersen Motorsport/White Lightning Racing; Ron Fellows and Oliver Gavin of Corvette Racing; Chris McMurry of Miracle Motorsports; Johnny Mowlem of ACEMCO Motorsports; Guy Cosmo of B-K Motorsports; and Marino Franchitti of Panoz Motor Sports. More drivers and teams will enter as the event draws closer.
"This will be a great event," Pirro said. "I am very happy to take part in this for two reasons: 1) It is something which will help cancer research which is very important, and 2) Lance Armstrong is an incredible athlete so I am happy to support whatever he is involved with."
Pre-registration ends Aug. 17. To sign up or to see more information on the event, visit www.pelotonride.org.
AROUND THE PADDOCK: When Andy Wallace won the overall pole at Infineon, he became the fourth different driver this season to do so. With five rounds of the 2005 ALMS down, this is the deepest into the season the series has gone without having a repeat pole winner since 2000. . So far this year, James Weaver (Road Atlanta), Hayanari Shimoda (Mid-Ohio), Werner (Lime Rock) and Wallace have been on the pole this year. In 2000, pole winners in the first five rounds were Pirro (Sebring), Lehto (Charlotte), Mimmo Schiattarella (Silverstone), Rinaldo Capello (Nurburgring) and Allan McNish (Sonoma). The 2000 ALMS went seven rounds before McNish became the first repeat pole winner at Mosport. . Four Portland events in the ALMS have produced four different overall pole winners. Lehto scored the first Portland pole in 1999 at the wheel of a BMW V12 LMR. Subsequent pole winners were Capello (Audi R8), David Brabham (Panoz LMP1) and Wallace (Lola EX257). . Olivier Beretta and Dirk Muller are the only two drivers to win more than one class pole at Portland. Beretta sat on the GT1 pole last year for Corvette Racing and 2000 in an Oreca Viper. Muller is the only driver to win back-to-back class poles, doing so in 1999 and 2000, both for Alex Job Racing in Porsches.
The Portland Grand Prix is set for Thursday through Saturday at Portland International Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel from 8 to 11 p.m. EDT Saturday, the first time an ALMS race has been broadcast in prime time. Qualifying is scheduled for 2:55 to 3:40 p.m. PDT on Friday. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.