Road Atlanta: Porsche preview



ATLANTA -- October 4 -- Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) are on the brink of winning the LMP2 class of the 2007 American Le Mans Series in their #7 Penske Porsche RS Spyder, but more than eight hours of racing at 130 mph this Saturday still stands in their way.

Bernhard and Dumas, with 190 points, are 37 points ahead of their teammates Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Ryan Briscoe (Australia) in the #7 Penske Porsche team car. If Bernhard/Dumas finish in the top three in class, they clinch the title. They will also be champions no matter where they finish if Maassen/Briscoe finish out of the top five. But both driver teams are far enough ahead of the rest of the class to ensure a Penske Porsche-only drivers championship.

Porsche has already clinched the chassis and engine championship with the Weissach-developed and built RS Spyder with a spectacular season which has included nine LMP2 wins and eight overall victories in a row over the more powerful LMP1 racers. Penske Racing has also secured the team championship for 2007.

A total of four 478 hp RS Spyders will tackle Petit Le Mans. The two cars fielded by Penske Racing will each have an extra driver to support the long distance racing event. Factory pilots Sascha Maassen and Ryan Briscoe will be joined by their colleague Emmanuel Collard (France), like they were at the Sebring 12 hour event. Patrick Long (USA) joins Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in the #6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder, Long's first stint in an ALMS prototype since testing last November.

The Porsche-supported RS Spyder customer team, Dyson Racing, has entered two RS Spyders with Andy Wallace (Great Britain), Butch Leitzinger (USA) and Andy Lally (USA) manning the #16 vehicle, and Chris Dyson (USA) with Guy Smith (Great Britain) in the #20 car.

"The 1000 mile race of Road Atlanta has many challenges. The new track surface has made the circuit even faster," says co-points leader Timo Bernhard. "There are a few additional LMP1 teams from Europe, so that makes it even more difficult to shine in the overall classification with the 200 hp deficit we have."

With their considerable power-to-weight ratio handicap, not one LMP2 car has ever crossed the finish line first overall at Petit Le Mans.

"But for us it's much more important to collect as many points as possible in our class and secure the drivers title. If the overall competition is close near the end of the race, or course we go for that position as well" adds Bernhard.

In the GT2 class for modified production sports cars, title defender Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Johannes van Overbeek (USA) will be supported by Porsche works driver Marc Lieb from Germany in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR prepared by Flying Lizard Motorsports. Bergmeister and van Overbeek rank second in their class with two races left on the calendar.

Other Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entries include the second Flying Lizard Porsche driven by Seth Neiman/Darren Law/Lonnie Pechnik; the Rahal Letterman Racing Porsche of Ralf Kelleners/Graham Rahal/Tom Milner; the Tafel Racing Porsche of Nathan Swartzbaugh/Jim Tafel/Lars Nielsen; the second Tafel Racing Porsche of Wolf Henzler/Dominik Farnbacher; and the Team Trans Sport Racing Porsche of Marc Basseng/Tim Pappas/Terry Borcheller.

-credit: porsche motorsport

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Guy Smith , Butch Leitzinger , Ralf Kelleners , Emmanuel Collard , Graham Rahal , Sascha Maassen , Andy Lally , Darren Law , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Tim Pappas , Johannes van Overbeek , Ryan Briscoe , Marc Lieb , Romain Dumas , Seth Neiman , Lonnie Pechnik , Lars Erik Nielsen , Wolf Henzler , Jim Tafel , Dominik Farnbacher , Marc Basseng , Nathan Swartzbaugh , Chris Dyson
Teams Team Penske , Dyson Racing , Flying Lizard Motorsports