TROIS-RIVIERES, QUE., Canada -- August 1 -- While Alex Job Racing has won the first three GT rounds of the 2003 American Le Mans Series in its McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS cars, the other Porsche ALMS regulars have had cause to celebrate so far this...
TROIS-RIVIERES, QUE., Canada -- August 1 -- While Alex Job Racing has won the first three GT rounds of the 2003 American Le Mans Series in its McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS cars, the other Porsche ALMS regulars have had cause to celebrate so far this season, an d most are optimistic they can find the podium before the end of the year.
This weekend's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, run on the 1.521-mile, 11-turn circuit northeast of Montreal, will be broadcast live on The Speed Channel starting with a pre-race show at 2:30 PM EDT this Sunday, August 3. Speed will then broadcast the entire three-hour event live starting at 2:45 PM, followed by post-race coverage ending at 6:00 PM.
"The confidence we gained with our second place at Le Mans has helped us at the shop, in the garage, and on the track," said Orbit Racing team owner Rodger Hawley, pointing out that driver Peter Baron ran as high as third last week in Northern California.
"With the return of Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb to the driver line-up for this race, we look forward to pushing the GT leaders to the limit," said Hawley, whose team is based in Jupiter, Florida.
Lieb is re-joining Orbit one week after teaming with Romain Dumas and Stephane Ortelli in a Porsche FIA-GT Group N car to win the 24 Hours of Spa overall. Lieb, Baron and Leo Hindery drove together at the 24 hours of Le Mans in June, finishing second in GT. In February, Lieb put the Orbit car on the pole in GT at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
For the Alex Job Racing, the defending ALMS GT champions, this season has been even more successful so far than last year's title run. The revised ALMS point system means team owner Alex Job doesn't have to worry about qualifying or fast race laps points, so the drivers that win together score equal points together. Also, the combination of three years of development on the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, along with fresh cars this year and the experienced quartet of drivers have made for a perfect season so far.
"The 'boys' are doing a great job," said Sascha Maassen, the senior driver in the group at 33 years-old and the winniest ALMS driver of all time with 17 GT wins. With Lucas Luhr, Timo Bernhard, and Jorg Bergmeister all under 30, Maassen finds himself the "father" of the Alex Job Porsche drivers. Luhr/Maassen have won ALMS events this year at S ebring and Infineon Raceway, while Bernhard/Bergmeister scored their win at Road Atlanta. Last year at Trois-Rivieres, the team scored its first of three one-two finishes with Luhr/Maassen winning on of their seven victories.
Luhr has won the GT class at the 12 Hours of Sebring a record four years in a row, tying the mark set in the '60s by veteran Bob Holbert. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, Alex Job Racing partnered with Petersen Motorsports of Las Vegas, and, along w ith Emmanuel Collard, Luhr and Maassen captured the GT class.
Another team looking for its first win of the ALMS season, but certainly with successes already this season is the three-car The Racer's Group Porsche team headed by owner/driver Kevin Buckler. Buckler, partnered with Michael Schrom, Timo Bernhard, and Jo rg Bergmeister not only won the GT class at the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, but won the race overall. Buckler has won the 24 Hours of Daytona twice now, and the GT class at Le Mans a year ago. Mechanical problems this year at Le Mans prevented a four -race winning streak in major 24-hour races. With seven of the ten ALMS races still left in the season, and a top-notch co-driver in Cort Wagner, Buckler will push hard for the ALMS GT Drivers Championship. He and Wagner have one podium finish -- third at Road Atlanta -- to their credit so far this year. The other The Racer's Group Porsches will be driven by Michael Schrom and local Trois-Rivieres driver Jean-Francois Dumoulin, and Chris Gleason/Marc Bunting.
Although no strangers to the U.S. -- as they have run here for both Sebring and Petit Le Mans -- the British-based PK Sport team will enter two Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars for the remainder of the ALMS season. The lead car, to be driven by PK Sport regular Robin Liddell, will also feature the Canadian debut of Australian hot-shoe Alex Davison, who running well last week at Infineon Raceway when he ran off the course and was unable to continue. Davison, who moved from Melbourne to Germany several years ago to further his racing career, had the distinction of winning one of the Porsche Supercup races last year at Indianapolis, besting Timo Bernhard by more than four seconds. The second PK Sport car will be driven by Vic Rice/Spencer Trenery.
Two Porsche teams making progress through the top ten in class include the J-3 Racing Porsche of Justin Jackson, and former SCCA World Challenge champion David Murry, who moved smartly through the field to finish sixth last week in Sonoma in the strongest GT field of the year. The other regular ALMS Porsche competitor this year is Zip Racing, which has entered a Porsche for Spencer Pumpelly, of Mason Neck, VA, and Andy Lally, of Northport, NY. Their #33 Porsche 911 GT3 RS was also running in the top six a t Infineon Raceway before an accident ended their afternoon. Zip owner Steve Ivankovich will be running with Romeo Kapudija in the team's second Porsche.
The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres will be broadcast live on the Speed Channel television network starting at 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight time on Sunday, August 3. The entire event, along with Saturday qualifying, will be broadcast live online on the American Le Mans Radio Web, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. Live timing and scoring for qualifying and the race are also available at www.americanlemans.com on Saturday and Sunday.
The official Porsche media web site -- www.press.porsche.com -- will have racing results and photos for the Trois-Rivieres event for the Porsches entered. Use the word "carrera" for both user name and password, then choose "motorsports news" to find the resu lts. The same information is posted for consumers on Porsche's main site www.porsche.com/motorsport (click on Porsche Motorsports North America and "race reports").
The official race notes and results for all the classes at the Trois-Rivieres event can be found on the official site for the American Le Mans Series www.americanlemans.com. .
Other Web sites that will follow the American Le Mans Series include Daily Sports Car (www.dailysportscar.com), The Race Site (www.theracesite.com), the Speed Channel site (www.speedTV.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) , AutoSport magazine's site (www.autosport.com), AutoRacingDaily.com (www.autoracingdaily.com), Motorsport-news.com (www.motorsport-news.com), Crash.net (www.crash.net), racinglines.com (www.racinglines.com), EnduranceSportsCar.com (www.endurancesportscar.com), pitstop.com (www.pit stop.com); and Speed Arena (www.speedarena.com).
PORSCHE AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES STATISTICS
(1999 -- 2003*)
Porsche Class Victories: 32
Audi - 27
Corvette - 19
Dodge -- 16
BMW - 15
Panoz - 9
R&S/Judd -- 7
MG - 7
Nissan - 5
Saleen - 4
Ferrari - 3
Porsche GTS Wins: 2
Porsche GT Wins: 30
Porsche 911 GT3 wins: 27
Porsche Class Poles: 32
Longest Winning Streak (GT CLASS):
13 Porsche GT class wins
1999-2001, also 2002 -- present*
*Through Infineon Raceway 2003, July 27