EIGHTH ANNUAL PETIT LE MANS FEATURES PORSCHE 911 BATTLE FOR AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES GT2 CLASS; TOP TEAMS 12 POINTS APART BRASELTON, Georgia - September 26 -- Thousands of fans from around the world will gather at Road Atlanta later this week for...
EIGHTH ANNUAL PETIT LE MANS FEATURES PORSCHE 911 BATTLE FOR AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES GT2 CLASS; TOP TEAMS 12 POINTS APART
BRASELTON, Georgia - September 26 -- Thousands of fans from around the world will gather at Road Atlanta later this week for what has, in only eight years, become one of the most important sports car races on the world calendar: the Petit Le Mans. The race will be run on Saturday, October 1, starting at noon, and will be broadcast live on The Speed Channel, and for the top Porsche teams in the GT2 class, it will go a long way towards crowning a season champion.
"In some respects, Petit Le Mans is the biggest pressure long-distance race of the season as no one has any points going into the season-opener at Sebring, and there are no championship points awarded at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now, with extra points on the line and only 12 points separating us from the leaders, this is a must win," said Alex Job, team owner of the #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas, currently in second place in the GT2 points.
Alex Job Racing has won the GT2 class at Petit Le Mans five of the seven times it has run, including last year with Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister.
Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche team manager Dale White feels no comfort being 12 points ahead, especially knowing the competition, and what could happen in a 10 hour race - and what happened at the last event at Mosport with drivers Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister.
"We were in the lead on the last lap at Mosport when Patrick lost a wheel and spun the car, unable to continue. Fortunately, the team had a lap in hand over the second place car, and we won the race. We could have scored no points if the wheel had come off five minutes before, yet we got 20 points and took the points lead. Nothing can be predicted," said White, whose team has never won Petit Le Mans.
With extra points available for this endurance race (26 for first place), Petit Le Mans takes on extra meaning for the leading teams.
For the other teams out of the championship chase, there is still a lot to race for. Winners of each class at Petit Le Mans receive automatic invites to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France next June, regardless of their ALMS points, and the other Porsche teams certainly would like to be the recipient of that honor.
Other Porsche 911 GT3 RSR competitors include the two-car Flying Lizard Motorsports team, with drivers Johannes van Overbeek/Jon Fogarty/Darren Law in one car, and Lonnie
Pechnik/Seth Neiman/David Murry in the other. Germans Wolf Henzler and Mike Rockenfeller, both winners in other series this year (Henzler was a winner at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and in SCCA SPEED World Challenge, and Rockenfeller won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the FIA-GT series), will be trying for their first win in the 2005 ALMS series in the BAM! Porsche. The other Porsche team, the J3 Racing Porsche group from nearby Buford, Georgia, will enter two cars as well - one for Justin Jackson/Tim Sugden/Nic Jonsson, and the second one for Atlanta's Michael Cawley and a driver still to be named.
Alex Job Racing is also entering a second Porsche, for regular AJR driver Ian Baas, European champion Emmanuel Collard, and Marcel Tiemann, a veteran German GT driver now living in Monaco.
The eighth running of Petit Le Mans will commence on Saturday, October 1 at 11:20 AM EDT, with live television coverage starting at 11:00 AM EDT on the SPEED Channel. The race will last 1,000 miles or ten hours, whichever comes first (the average duration of the race in the past has been nine hours and 25 minutes). The race, along with qualifying session, will be broadcast live on American Le Mans Radio, found on the web at www.americanlemans.com.
The official Porsche media web site - www.press.porsche.com - will have qualifying information for the Petit Le Mans 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 "motorsports news" and "ALMS" to find the Petit Le Mans updates. The same information is posted for consumers on Porsche's main site www.porsche.com/motorsport (click on Porsche Motorsports North America and "race reports").
The series race notes and results for all the classes at the American Le Mans event at Petit Le Mans 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.
Other web sites that will follow the ALMS weekend at Petit Le Mans include Daily Sports Car (www.dailysportscar.com), Track Bytes (www.trackbytes.com), The Race Site (www.theracesite.com), the Speed Channel site (www.speedTV.com), Sports Car Pros (www.sportscarpros.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); whowon.com (www.whowon.com) and Speed Arena (www.speedarena.com).