BERNHARD/BERGMEISTER JOIN ALEX JOB RACING TEAMMATES MAASSEN/LUHR AS CHAMPIONS, WINNING PETIT LE MANS FOR THIRD 2003 GT VICTORY AND 2ND PLACE IN YEAR-END POINTS ATLANTA - October 18 - Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister start this year's Petit Le...
BERNHARD/BERGMEISTER JOIN ALEX JOB RACING TEAMMATES MAASSEN/LUHR AS CHAMPIONS, WINNING PETIT LE MANS FOR THIRD 2003 GT VICTORY AND 2ND PLACE IN YEAR-END POINTS
ATLANTA - October 18 - Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister start this year's Petit Le Mans with a slim one-point lead in the standings with their#24 Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web Porsche 911 GT3 RS over the Risi Ferrari of Ralf Kelleners/Anthony Lazarro. They needed to stay ahead of the Ferrari drivers in the race to finish second in the year-end points behind Alex Job Racing Porsche teammates Sascha Maassen/Lucas Luhr, who had already clinched their second straight drivers title.
The Ferrari got off to a strong start, and then a GTS car t-boned Bernhard, knocking the door off the Porsche and causing a three-lap pit stop.The White Lightning/Petersen Motorsports Porsche driven by Johnny Mowlem took the lead, but was knocked off the course into the wall by Kelleners at the start-finish line. Mowlem was okay, but the Le Mans-winning Porsche was out of the event.
The J3 Racing Porsche of David Murry/Justin Jackson/Brian Cunningham then took the lead, but an untimely yellow flag gave the lead to Maassen/Luhr, who battled Kelleners/Lazarro for several hours, until their Porsche had a flat tire. They pitted exactly when the Ferrari pitted with handling problems, and Bernhard/Bergmiester, with guest driver Romain Dumas, who had crawled back into the lead lap, retook the lead at the five hour mark. Maassen/Luhr finished second, one lap back, and the Ferrari was third, five laps back. Kevin Buckler/Cort Wagner/Patrick Long finished fourth in The Racer's Group Porsche, while Murry/Jackson/Cunningham finished fifth in the J3 Porsche.
For Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller, the two UPS Porsche Junior Team drivers from the factory, this ten-hour endurance race was a new experience, and their teams were running fourth and fifth near the end of the race. Rockenfeller was driving in the Orbit Racing YES Network Porsche with Peter Baron and Leo Hindery when the car lost its transmission with one hour to go. Long's ride, The Racer's Group Porsche, finished fourth.
For Porsche, this was their fourth manufacturers championship in the five years of the American Le Mans Series, and their 19th straight ALMS GT class win, going back to the 12 Hours of Sebring - 2001.
Some other year-end Porsche statistics, including accomplishments for the year-end points champions Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr, along with team champion Alex Job.
PORSCHE AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES STATISTICS
(1999 - 2003)
Porsche Class Victories: 38
Audi - 33
Corvette - 21
Dodge - 16
BMW - 15
MG - 12
Panoz - 9
R&S/Judd - 8
Ferrari - 7
Nissan - 5
Saleen - 4
Porsche GTS Wins: 2
Porsche GT Wins: 34
Porsche 911 GT3 wins: 33
Porsche Class Poles: 38
Longest Class Winning Streak:
19 Porsche GT class wins in a row - 2002 - 2003 (entire seasons)
Alex Job Racing drivers Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr - GT Class champions/Porsche fast facts:
Most successful driver pair in ALMS history; have won Sebring together three years in a row;
Maassen/Luhr together won the following 2003 ALMS GT events en route to their second straight GT championship: Sebring, Sears Point, Trois Rivieres, Laguna Seca, Miami and Petit Le Mans (five races). Also, teamed with Emmanuel Collard to win GT at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Alex Job Racing has won eight of the nine ALMS events this year.
Porsche now has 38 ALMS class wins, five more than any other manufacturer.
Porsche has won the GT manufacturers title for the fourth time in five years.
SASCHA MAASSEN AND LUCAS LUHR - 2003 ALMS GT co-champions; Alex Job Racing - 2003 Team Champions
Won Petit Le Mans GT class with Dirk Muller and Cort Wagner in the Alex Job Porsche in 1999
Won five ALMS races in Dick Barbour Porsche with Bob Wollek including Petit Le Mans. Had inside track on the drivers championship when a failed clutched ended his chances at Adelaide.
Despite BMW domination in 2001, Sascha won Sebring, Texas and Donington Park (England), and was again in contention for the drivers title going into the last event.
2002 - won Sebring, Sears Point, Washington, Trois Rivieres, Laguna Seca and Miami with co-driver Lucas Luhr.
Has 20 ALMS wins after GT victory last month in Miami - leading ALMS driver of all time.
Won Porsche Supercup race at Indianapolis in 2001.
Won 2003 Grand-Am race at Mt. Tremblac in Brumos Fabcar Porsche
Junior Karting champion at the age of 10
First major ride in 2000 with Dick Barbour Racing; won with co-driver Dirk Muller at Sebring, Nurburgring, Sears Point and Adelaide - helped Dirk to the drivers championship.
Only one of two drivers ever to win his class at Sebring four years in a row (2000 - 2003). Other was Bob Holbert.
At 23, Luhr became ALMS' youngest champion in 2002.
Has won Le Mans two years in a row (with The Racer's Group and Buckler/Bernhard in 2002 and with Alex Job/White Lightning with Maassen/Collard in 2003.
Like Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb, Dirk Muller - and current drivers Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller - participated in UPS Porsche Junior Program, which was started by incoming Porsche Motorsport North America President Uwe Brettel.
Alex Job Racing Only team besides Panoz (and Panoz has switched from factory to contract team this year) to run the entire ALMS schedule every year since the inception of the series.
Alex Job driver Cort Wagner won the drivers title in 1999, but Job lost the team championship to BMW's Tom Milner. In 2000, with Randy Pobst and Bruno Lambert at the helm, Alex Job Porsche won two ALMS races, with Pobst in contention for the drivers title until the last event.
Alex Job Racing has now won the 2002 and 2003 GT team championship. Alex and wife Holly Job started the team in 1990 after Alex decided to end his driving career. His best finish as a driver was second in class at the 1990 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Most well known for thorough preparation and innovative endurance racing strategy.
For the four of the five years ALMS has been running, Job has been the team chosen by the Porsche factory and Porsche Motorsport North America to utilize its contract drivers for the ALMS series. Dick Barbour Racing had the factory drivers in 2000, and Al ex Job Racing hosted them in 1999.
PORSCHE PETIT LE MANS FACTS (1998-2003)
Class Wins: 7 (includes GT1, GT2 and GT3 wins in 1998)
Porsche 911 Wins: 7 Class Victories