Weekly notes 2000-10-18

The American Le Mans Series will appear in the United States for the last time of the 2000 season with the Oct. 29 running of the Grand Prix of Las Vegas, presented by SEMA, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The two-hour, 45-minute race will be held...

The American Le Mans Series will appear in the United States for the last time of the 2000 season with the Oct. 29 running of the Grand Prix of Las Vegas, presented by SEMA, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The two-hour, 45-minute race will be held on the 2.25-mile "stadium course" that incorporates part of the 1.5-mile superspeedway oval at LVMS and the track's infield. The entire circuit is in fill view of the track's grandstands.

With only the Dec. 31 Adelaide, Australia, event remaining on the ALMS schedule after Las Vegas, drivers and teams will be scrambling for points as well as class victories.

The Las Vegas event will be televised live on Speedvision beginning at 3 p.m. (U.S. Eastern time), and will also be seen live on Eurosport. Fox Sports Net will have a replay at 12 noon (Eastern) on Nov. 5.

The ALMS Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

The Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant of Las Vegas will be the title sponsor of the Women's Global GT Series season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 29. The 45-minute race will start at 8:50 a.m., just a few hours before the 12:30 p.m. start of the Grand Prix of Las Vegas.

Race Rock, which is co-owned by 13 of the biggest names in motorsports, is a racing - themed restaurant located adjacent to Las Vegas' famed Fremont Street Experience. The Las Vegas site, which opened in 1999, is the first race title sponsor ever for the WGGTS.

"We appreciate this opportunity to support the Women's Global GT Series," said Bobby Moore, President of Race Rock. "The series is unique in motorsports, and Race Rock is glad to be a part of it."

Race Rock will be abuzz with activity the week of the Grand Prix of Las Vegas. Many drivers and cars from both the American Le Mans Series and the WGGTS will be at the facility on Wednesday, Oct. 25, in the afternoon and early evening.

As part of its race sponsorship, Race Rock will host an exclusive autograph session and promotion for drivers of the WGGTS from 5-9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26.

Finally, Race Rock will host the WGGTS season-ending awards banquet on Sunday night, Oct. 29. The banquet is invitation-only.

Porsche has been the dominant force in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series since mid-1999, but BMW Team PTG broke that dominance by winning class in last week's ALMS event at Laguna Seca Raceway.

With renewed confidence and enthusiasm, the team will field three BMW M3 race cars in the Grand Prix of Las Vegas. Laguna Seca race winners Hans Stuck and Boris Said will drive the #7 car, while Laguna third-place finishers Nic Jonsson and Brian Cunningham will pilot the #10 machine. Peter Cunningham and Johannes van Overbeek will drive car #6.

"Las Vegas is certainly a fast track, one that doesn't necessarily favor the BMW M3 strengths of great braking and cornering," said Tom Salkowsky, motorsport manager for BMW of North America, Inc. "But as we've shown at Laguna Seca, it's not always the fastest car, but the smartest team strategy that can end up winning races."

"I'm glad it will be my second year there," said Brian Cunningham. "Every time I've gone to a second-year track, I've always fared a little better. Last year, we were second at Las Vegas, so I'm hoping this will be our breakthrough win."

If the American Le Mans Series had a "hang in there" award for the 2000 season, a good candidate would be Roock Motorsport in the GTS class. While the Dodge Viper vs. Chevrolet Corvette battle has garnered most of the GTS attention this season, Roock has been quietly going about its business.

The privately-funded team has fielded a Porsche 911 Turbo in all 10 ALMS races this year, including the two European events, with a best overall finish of 11th (second in class) at Lowe's Motor Speedway in April.

The team's tenacity against long odds has allowed it to maintain second place in the GTS Team Championship point standings. The team has run two cars at selected events, but its main drivers have been Zak Brown of Indianapolis and Vic Rice of San Rafael, Calif.

Harrah's Casino and Hotel of Las Vegas will welcome race fans to its courtyard area on Friday, Oct. 27, with an autograph session featuring drivers of the Womens Global GT Series. The drivers will be available from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Harrah's will have live entertainment and racing-related giveaways in the courtyard area during the signing session, and will have a WGGTS show car on display all day. The courtyard is a high foot traffic area that is only yards from the Las Vegas strip.

Harrah's is sponsoring WGGTS driver Sherri DeCoursey of Martinsville, Ind., in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway event.

QUICK NOTES: Several cars from the American Le Mans Series will be on display at the Galleria Mall in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nev., during the week of the Grand Prix of Las Vegas .... The last two sports car endurance races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have had margins of victory of less than one second .... JJ Lehto was the overall winner of last year's ALMS event at LVMS in a BMW V12 LMR Prototype. His co-driver last year was Steve Soper, and he is co-driving this season with Jorg Muller .... Divina Galica won last year's WGGTS race at LVMS by less than a second over Cindi Lux .... Sonja Bayer carries a 16-point lead over Galica into the WGGTS season finale ....

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Series ALMS , IMSA Others
Drivers Nic Jönsson