ATLANTA, GA - May 15 - When your team finishes one-two in the first three events in any racing series, you are not only optimistic for the next event, but should be well on your way to a championship. But, despite all this early success - one-two...
ATLANTA, GA - May 15 - When your team finishes one-two in the first three events in any racing series, you are not only optimistic for the next event, but should be well on your way to a championship. But, despite all this early success - one-two at Texas Sebring and Donington, England, team owner Alex Job feels that his McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars are on the defensive for the upcoming European Le Mans Series event May 20 at Spain's Circuito del Jarama.
"The Jorg Muller/J.J. Lehto and Dirk Muller/Fredrik Ekblom BMW V-8s have shown the potential to best our cars at almost two seconds a lap, and only mistake-free efforts from our drivers and crews have prevented them from taking the top spot so far," said Job, whose Tavares, Florida-based team won the American Le Mans Series title in 1999.
"We have worked hard during the weeks between Donington and Jarama to improve all aspects of our McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS racers, and hope to narrow the gap this weekend," he said.
The 2001 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT Driver's Championship points rules state that the Donington and Jarama events on the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) schedule are optional races that teams can use to counter a poor finish or a DNF in the North American series. Job is hoping that another good showing this weekend can be "mo ney in the bank" when it comes time to tally the championship points totals.
Job pointed out that Sascha Maassen, from Germany, who leads the GT class with 56 points (wins at both Texas and Sebring, along with a point for the fastest race lap at Texas) is only 16 points ahead of seventh place Jorg Muller, who turned the fastest GT race lap at Sebring and will be in the BMW V-8 at Jarama.
Right behind Maassen in the points is co-driver Lucas Luhr, a German driver now living in Monaco, who is on a hot streak of his own having won five major races in a row dating back to last year, including the ALMS finale at Adelaide, Australia, the 2001 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, the Grand Prix of Texas, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and t he ELMS race last month at Donington Park. Luhr/Maassen will be in the #23 Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS, while American Randy Pobst will share driving duties with Frenchman Emmanuel Collard in the identical #22 Porsche. Collard replaces Ale x Job regular Christian Menzel, who has a previously scheduled Porsche Carrera Cup race this weekend.
The other top American Porsche GT team elected not to make the European swing as the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing team will rejoin the ALMS series at Sears Point in July.
Qualifying for the Jarama event takes place on Saturday, May 19, at 9:30 AM Eastern Time, with the race set for Sunday, May 20, at 7:00 AM Eastern, for two hours and 45 minutes.
Although SkySports in Europe will be televising the race live, there will be no U.S. TV coverage. However, the race, along with the qualifying session, will be broadcast live at the times listed above on the Le Mans Radio Network, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. That same American Le Mans Series web site will also have live timing and scoring during qualifying and the race event.
The official Porsche web site - www.porsche.com - will have qualifying information on the Jarama event for all the Porsches entered, and will file stories before and after the race. Porsche web site users should choose "North America" on the home page whe n prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates. Other web sites that will follow the overall event include the American Le Mans site mentioned above, the ON TRACK ONLINE site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), the Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.motorsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).