Trois-Rivieres: Event preview

Le Mans to meet Quebec as American Le Mans Series makes first appearance in Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. TROIS-RIVIERES, QC, Canada (July 26, 2002) -- Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres has been a popular and successful motorsports event for ...

Le Mans to meet Quebec as American Le Mans Series makes first appearance in Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.

TROIS-RIVIERES, QC, Canada (July 26, 2002) -- Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres has been a popular and successful motorsports event for 33 years, making it one of North America's longest-running street racing events.

The motorsports festival that is so dear to racing fans in the Canadian Province of Quebec has taken on a new look for 2002 as the American Le Mans Series will make its first appearance ever as part of Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on August 2-4.

The American Le Mans Series, which traces its heritage to the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, is a natural fit in French-speaking Canada, and the excitement has been building for the event ever since its announcement last October. Three winning teams from the 2002 running of Le Mans will compete at Trois-Rivieres, including the Audi Sport North America team that has won Le Mans three consecutive years.

Trois-Rivieres (Three Rivers) becomes a festival city for the annual Grand Prix, with many events going on in addition to what happens on the 1.52-mile street circuit. The American Le Mans Series will run a three-hour timed event beginning at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3.

American Le Mans Series races feature four classes of race cars, all competing at the same time for the overall win as well as class wins. The fast and exotic Prototype cars include two classes, 900 and 675, with the P900 machines the fastest and most powerful. The series also includes production-based cars in the GTS and GT classes.

Defending American Le Mans Series champion Emanuele Pirro of Italy, a former driver in Formula One racing who competed in F1 events at Montreal, will lead the two-car Audi team. He and co-driver Frank Biela of Germany will be in the same Audi R8 Prototype that they drove to victory in June at Le Mans. Tom Kristensen of Denmark, the current ALMS points leader, was the third driver with Biela and Pirro at Le Mans but will share another Audi R8 with Rinaldo Capello of Italy in the Trois-Rivieres event.

Other drivers with Formula One backgrounds who will compete in the American Le Mans Series event at Trois-Rivieres include Panoz teammates David Brabham of Australia and Jan Magnussen of Denmark, Champion Audi teammates Johnny Herbert of England and Stefan Johansson of Sweden and Team Olive Garden Ferrari teammates Emanuele Naspetti and Mimmo Schiattarella, both of Italy.

Toronto's Ron Fellows, one of the most successful Canadian drivers active today, will compete in the event with Corvette Racing teammate Johnny O'Connell. The team won the GTS class at Le Mans for the second straight time this year and has won four of the five ALMS races held this season.

The third Le Mans-winning team will be the Porsche 911 GT3RS team of The Racers Group, headed by California's Kevin Buckler. Lucas Luhr and Timo Bernhard of Germany, who drove with Buckler to the GT class win at Le Mans, will compete against him at Trois-Rivieres in two Alex Job Racing cars, joined by Sascha Maassen and Jorg Bergmeister.

In addition to Fellows, Canadian drivers will include Melanie Paterson of Toronto, who will make her American Le Mans Series debut in a P675 Lola. Also competing will be Stephane Veilleux, Peter Overing and Robert Julien, all of Montreal, in the Montreal-based Porschehaus Racing cars in the GT class.

The Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup, which has raced many times at Trois-Rivieres, will return after an absence of several years and will run a 100-mile race on Sunday, Aug. 4, at 2:25 p.m. Races will also be held during the weekend for the SPEED World Challenge GT and Touring classes, CART Toyota Atlantic and Formula Ford 1600.

American Le Mans Series practice and qualifying will be held on Friday, Aug. 2, with qualifying at 2:40 p.m. American Le Mans Series drivers will hold an autograph session at 12:15 p.m. on race day.

Ticket information for Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres is available online at www.gptr.qc.ca or by calling 1-800-363-5051.

The ALMS race will be televised live in the United States by SPEED Channel and the live broadcast by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Stefan Johansson , Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Ron Fellows , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Kevin Buckler , Jörg Bergmeister , Melanie Paterson , Stéphane Veilleux , Emanuele Naspetti , Robert Julien , Mimmo Schiattarella , Alex Job , Emanuele Pirro
Teams Corvette Racing , Alex Job Racing