LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 8, 2003) - The American Le Mans Series, the world's premier sports car racing championship, will return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2004 under a new, three-year agreement. The joint announcement was made Friday by ...
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 8, 2003) - The American Le Mans Series, the world's premier sports car racing championship, will return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2004 under a new, three-year agreement.
The joint announcement was made Friday by Michelle Trueman Gajoch, President of TrueSports, Inc., owner and operator of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series.
Mid-Ohio will host the American Le Mans Series for a nationally-televised event June 25-27, 2004, on what has traditionally been the 2.258-mile circuit's sports car racing weekend. Race teams will be coming to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course straight from France and the June 12-13 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous endurance race and the event upon which the ALMS is based.
"It's with great anticipation and enthusiasm that we're able to announce that the American Le Mans Series will be a part of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course's 2004 schedule," said Gajoch. "The 2002 American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio was highly successful, which made this year's scheduling conflict very unfortunate. The numerous e-mails and phone calls from the dedicated road racing fans near Mid-Ohio made it clear that this was an event that we absolutely had to make work in 2004."
The American Le Mans Series held races at Mid-Ohio in 2001 and 2002, but an event was not held in 2003 due to schedule and TV contract conflicts that prevented the confirmation of a date.
"It was a top priority for us to be able to return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2004 and for years to come," said Atherton. "We're very pleased that we were able to make it happen, and we know that our competitors and fans will also be pleased to hear this good news.
"Mid-Ohio is a track that is very suited for sports car racing and the two events we have held here have been fantastic and competitive races," he said. "Mid-Ohio has everything we are looking for in a venue to host our races." The news of the return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2004 was well-received by drivers in the American Le Mans Series.
"I think it's great news that the series is going back to Mid-Ohio," said David Brabham, the Australian who was on the overall winning Panoz team in the inaugural ALMS event at Mid-Ohio in 2001 and is now driving for the Prodrive Ferrari team. "I have lots of fond memories of racing there and it's a great American road racing circuit. It's very challenging and I think all of the teams will be excited about going back."
Also happy with the news was Jon Field of Dublin, Ohio, the American Le Mans Series driving champion in the Prototype 675 class in 2002 and the class winner in two events this year in the Intersport Lola-MG. "I'm excited," said Field. "It's where I started racing and it's my home track. I love it there.
"Any time you can race at home, with family and friends there to root you on, it's even better," he said. "We've got better cars and equipment now and hopefully we can win there next year."
Atherton said that the American Le Mans Series event at Mid-Ohio will be nationally televised, with the network to be announced later. The race will be a timed event of two hours and 45 minutes.
ABOUT MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road racing circuit in Lexington, Ohio. Located 60 miles north of Columbus and 75 miles south of Cleveland near Mansfield, the track has been called the "Most Competitive in the U.S." and annually hosts a diversity of locally, regionally and nationally sanctioned racing events for amateur, club and professional riders and drivers. Mid-Ohio's 2003 schedule features six spectator events, including this weekend's Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio and the SCCA National Championship Valvoline Runoffs September 15-21. More information about Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is available at www.midohio.com or by calling 1-800-MID-OHIO.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES
The American Le Mans Series is a series of North American sports car races based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous endurance race. American Le Mans Series races feature four classes of race cars competing for class wins and the overall win, with the fields including many of the same drivers and cars that compete at Le Mans. The series holds events at many of North America's premier permanent road racing facilities as well as at temporary circuits in key major markets. The series motto is "For the Fans" and all events feature driver autograph sessions and open paddocks. All events are on television in the United States. Well-known automotive brand names such as Audi, Corvette, Dodge, Ferrari, Lamborghini, MG, Nissan, Panoz, Porsche and Saleen are represented on the series. The series, which has its headquarters in Braselton, Ga., was founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Don Panoz and is sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).