Utah 2006 race announced

AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES ANNOUNCES DEAL WITH UTAH'S MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK Braselton, Ga. - In another landmark development for 2006, the American Le Mans Series announced Wednesday night its association with the new Miller Motorsports Park,...

AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES ANNOUNCES DEAL WITH UTAH'S MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK

Braselton, Ga. - In another landmark development for 2006, the American Le Mans Series announced Wednesday night its association with the new Miller Motorsports Park, which will play host to an ALMS event next summer.

The Grand Prix of Utah, the new track's marquee event of 2006, is scheduled for July 13-15 and will be televised on CBS Sports. Wednesday's announcement came at Salt Lake City's Delta Center, where series drivers Emanuele Pirro of Champion Racing and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing's Patrick Long were present, along with ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton.

Salt Lake City is a top-40 television market, according to Nielsen Media Research, and the area provides a regional link for the ALMS that bridges the Road America market in Wisconsin to the West Coast.

"Anytime the American Le Mans Series adds a new venue to the schedule, it's big news," Atherton said. "However, when the addition involves an important business market and features a brand new world-class, purpose-built road-racing facility, it becomes much more."

At 4.5 miles, Miller Motorsports Park, located in Tooele, Utah, will be the longest track in the ALMS, as well as the longest in the United States, featuring a 3,500-foot main straight. The configuration also will feature 24 turns, again an ALMS record.

The track is located on a 511-acre site in Tooele County's Deseret Peak Complex, which is 25 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport. The facility is being built by Larry H. Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz NBA franchise, the Delta Center arena in downtown Salt Lake City, KJZZ-TV station, movie theatres, a theme restaurant, the Salt Lake Stingers minor league baseball team and more than 38 auto dealerships.

Renowned track designer Alan Wilson, who is also the CEO/General Manager of Miller Motorsports Park, designed the layout. Among his other works are more than 20 other well-known courses including Barber Motorsports Park, Carolina Motorsports Park and BeaveRun Motorsports Park, as well as many prestigious kart track facilities.

Along with the main configuration, the road course is designed with three sub-tracks; a 2.24 mile East Track, a 2.2 mile West Track, and a 3.06 mile Outer Track.

"It sounds exciting," said Long, the United States' only factory driver for Porsche. "If the length is similar to Road America, it's going to be impressive. The demographic is great. Hopefully that will help bridge the gap from the Midwest to the West Coast."

Long (GT2) and Pirro (LMP1), both championship leaders in their respective classes, were thrilled to be part of the announcement. Neither one said they have seen the 4.5-mile, 25-turn road course, but expressed a tremendous amount of optimism about the venue and the success it will see with the ALMS.

"For our team and our sponsors, it's a strategic area," said Pirro, who drives an Audi R8 for Champion. "It's always good to be in a new part of the country to present our show and give the TV fans an opportunity to watch us for real. From a driver's point of view, I'm interested and can't wait to see the racetrack."

With four classes of sports cars, Miller Motorsports Park seems to be a perfect fit for the American Le Mans Series. From the ultra-exotic prototypes to familiar production-based GT cars, there will no shortage of excitement at any spot on the track.

"The new Miller Motorsports Park is the most impressive new road-racing venue in America," said IMSA COO Tim Mayer. "The facilities will be spectacular, and the course certainly will provide a stern test for the teams and drivers of the American Le Mans Series. There is a rich history of motorsports in the western United States, and we are proud to be continuing that tradition when the ALMS visits Miller Motorsports Park for the first time."

The ninth round of the American Le Mans Series is the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans, scheduled for 11:20 a.m. EDT Oct. 1 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. SPEED Channel will provide live television coverage. Qualifying is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 30. American Le Mans Series Radio, and IMSA Living and Timing Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com.

The American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Series is a series of sports car endurance racing events patterned after the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. ALMS events feature multi-class racing among the world's most elite sports car racing drivers and teams. The starting lineup for every event includes both factory and privateer racing teams competing for overall wins as well as wins in one of four classes of competition.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Patrick Long , Emanuele Pirro