LEITZINGER, WEAVER RETURN TO SCENE OF HISTORIC 2003 VICTORY Braselton, Ga. - Infineon Raceway always will have a special place in the history of the American Le Mans Series. In 2003, Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver became the first LMP2 (then...
LEITZINGER, WEAVER RETURN TO SCENE OF HISTORIC 2003 VICTORY
Braselton, Ga. - Infineon Raceway always will have a special place in the history of the American Le Mans Series. In 2003, Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver became the first LMP2 (then LMP675) team to win an ALMS race overall when they captured the Grand Prix of Sonoma in their No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola EX257.
Weaver and Leitzinger dominated the weekend. They were fastest in both Saturday practice sessions, Leitzinger won the overall pole, and Weaver posted the race's fastest lap. The duo finished more than 3 seconds ahead of Frank Biela and Marco Werner in the Infineon Joest Audi R8.
Weaver and Leitzinger will try to become the first team to earn victories in both prototype categories when the ALMS visits Infineon again for the Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma Presented by Ravenswood, Round 5 of the 2005 ALMS, on July 17.
"At that point and with the foundation we had at that time, it was perfectly suited for that track," Leitzinger said. "The next year they repaved the surface and the tires didn't agree with it."
He added that it isn't unreasonable to think another LMP2 team could turn the trick.
"If someone had one of the new Lolas or a car that fits the new regulations with a bigger restrictor, that could happen again," Leitzinger offered. "The downforce is about the same, and there is more power."
QUITE A TEAM: With their LMP2 victory in the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, Jeff Bucknum and Chris McMurry now have five P2 wins together, tied for the most in series history. They share the mark with Jon Field and Duncan Dayton.
Bucknum and McMurry, who teamed with defending class champion Ian James to win at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, posted the fastest laps in each practice and qualifying session, and the race in their No. 10 Miracle Motorsports Courage.
"It's a couple of things," McMurry said of his partnership with Bucknum. "It probably starts with the fact that our personalities are similar. We just as people are similar: similar values, similar views. By in large, we reach the same conclusions pretty much all the time. Whenever that is in place, it has the makings for a good relationship and friendship. We've been doing things together now for five or six years. What's come out of that common character is a really good friendship."
MORE PODIUMS FOR CORVETTE: Corvette Racing's 1-2 finish at Lime Rock marked the 11th time in the last 13 ALMS races that two Corvettes have finished on the GT1 podium. The exceptions: 2004 and '05 in Sebring. A Corvette has finished on the podium of every ALMS race since the 2003 Petit Le Mans, a span of 14 events.
At Lime Rock, Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta won for the first time in the ALMS this year in the No. 4 Corvette Racing C6-R. The two-time, defending Le Mans class winners finished ahead of the No. 3 entry of Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell.
"From top to bottom, we've got the total package," said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. "We've demonstrated time and time again that these cars are built for endurance racing. Anyone who wasn't entertained by today's events either had the TV turned off or they were in a coma."
AROUND THE PADDOCK: JJ Lehto is going for his fourth career ALMS victory at Infineon. He won last year with Marco Werner in the Audi R8, in 2001 with Jorg Muller in a BMW M3 GTR and in 1999 with Steve Soper in a BMW V12 LMR. . This marks the seventh visit to Infineon Raceway for the American Le Mans Series. The track is one of five to play host to the ALMS every year since the series was founded in 1999. Past Infineon winners entered in the Grand Prix include Lehto, Werner, Beretta, Fellows, O'Connell, Gavin, Terry Borcheller, Clint Field, Timo Bernhard, Jorg Bergmeister and Frank Biela.
The Infineon Technologies Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Ravenswood Winery, IS set for 11 a.m. PDT on July 17 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. CBS Sports will have television coverage from 3 to 5 p.m. EDT. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring can be found at www.americanlemans.com.