Series to begin Midwest swing

American Le Mans Series to begin Midwest swing; Mid-Ohio and Road America events bring series to heart of America. BRASELTON, Ga. (May 28, 2002) -- The American Le Mans Series will bring the excitement of international sports car racing to the...

American Le Mans Series to begin Midwest swing; Mid-Ohio and Road America events bring series to heart of America.

BRASELTON, Ga. (May 28, 2002) -- The American Le Mans Series will bring the excitement of international sports car racing to the Heartland of America with a pair of upcoming events at racing circuits in the Midwest.

The swing through the American Midwest will begin with American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, an event on the weekend of June 28-30 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The swing will then move north to America's Dairyland as the series makes its first-ever appearance at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., for the Road America 500 presented by the Chicago Tribune July 4-7.

The American Le Mans Series, which is in its fourth season in 2002, is a series of 10 sports car endurance races in North America based on the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. Many of the same drivers and cars that compete at Le Mans June 15-16 will quickly return to America to race in the events at Mid-Ohio and Road America, as well as the rest of the ALMS season.

American Le Mans Series races feature four classes of race cars all competing at the same time for both class wins and the overall win. The LMP 900 cars (Prototypes) are some of the fastest and most exotic racing machines in the world, including the awesome Audi R8 and the crowd-pleasing Panoz LMP-1. The LMP 675 class for smaller, less-powerful Prototypes includes, among others, the fast and nimble new MG-Lola, a car that is setting sports car racing on its ear as it challenges the big Prototypes for overall wins.

The GTS class for modified production-based cars includes Corvettes, Dodge Vipers, Saleens and a new challenger this year, the Ferrari 550 Maranello. The GT class Porsche 911 GT3 RS machines are the closest cars on the track to street cars, but are also souped-up and fast. The series features heavy involvement and support from auto manufacturers.

At both Mid-Ohio and Road America, race fans will have the opportunity to walk through the paddock area and see the race cars up close as crews prepare them for competition. Both tracks will also hold driver autograph sessions on the day before the event.

The Mid-Ohio weekend will feature a two-hour, 45-minute timed event for the ALMS cars that begins at 2 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, June 30. ALMS cars will practice and qualify on Saturday of the race weekend, a day that will also include a race for the popular Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup. Also part of the weekend will be the SPEED World Challenge GT and Touring cars, as well as the Star Mazda Series and the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship.

In their debut at Road America, ALMS cars will compete in a 500-mile event that begins at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Practice and qualifying will be held on Saturday. Great racing machines of the past will compete in a one-hour Historic GTP event on Sunday at 8:45 a.m. Also holding races on the weekend will be the SPEED World Challenge GT and Touring cars, the Star Mazda Series and Mid-Am Stock Cars and Trucks.

Mid-Ohio ticket information is available online at www.midohio.com or by calling 1-800-MID-OHIO (or 419-884-4000). Road America ticket information is available online at www.roadamerica.com or by calling 1-800-365-RACE.

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