American Porsche first qualifying report

American Porsche teams grab top three qualifying position for The First Day at Le Mans; Porsche looking for ninth straight class win. ATLANTA - June 12 - The eight private Porsche 911 GT3 RS teams entered in the LM GT class at the 71st running...

American Porsche teams grab top three qualifying position for The First Day at Le Mans; Porsche looking for ninth straight class win.

ATLANTA - June 12 - The eight private Porsche 911 GT3 RS teams entered in the LM GT class at the 71st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans have shown they are ready to carry on the rich Porsche tradition at 8.625-mile Circuit de la Sarthe in France as American-based racing teams captured the top three positions so far for Saturday's race.

The combined entry of American Le Mans Series regulars Alex Job Racing, from Tavaras, FL, and Petersen Motorsports, from Las Vegas, NV, have put together an all-star line-up of drivers including ALMS co-champions Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen, along with French veteran Emmanuel Collard - and the team was rewarded early as Maassen turned the fastest time in class to grab the provisional pole. Everyone gets another shot at qualifying on Thursday, with Friday a traditional offday at Le Mans, and the 24-hour classic starting on Saturday at 4:00 PM local time (or 10:00 AM EDT).

Swapping fast time with Maassen all day was The Racer's Group Porsche, based in Sonoma, California, with overall Daytona 24-hour-winning drivers Timo Bernhard, Jorg Bergmeister, and Kevin Buckler sharing the driving duties. Timo and Jorg both turned fast times during the day, and both held the pole position at one point. The Racers Group is on a 24-hour race roll, having won its class the last two years at Daytona, and last year at Le Mans.

This is the 52nd year that Porsches have run at Le Mans - more than any other manufacturer (Ferrari is second with 42 years), and Porsches have won their class or overall 47 percent of the time they have entered (Ferrari is second with 36 percent). Porsches have won the Le Mans GT class eight years in a row.

The other American-based Porsche team, the Jupiter, Florida-based Orbit Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS, qualified third on Wednesday with Leo Hindery, Peter Baron, and Marc Lieb at the helm. Lieb, who put the Orbit car on the pole earlier this year at Daytona, will try to do the same in Thursday's final qualifying session.

The other Porsche that U.S. racing fans see regularly on the American Le Mans Series grid is the Seikel Motorsport team, which has a base both in the U.S. and Germany. With ALMS regulars Tony Burgess, John Lloyd and David Shep at the wheel, the Seikel Porsche is sitting in the number ten position after day one at Le Mans. Seikel won the 2001 Le Mans race in a Porsche.

In fourth is another European-based team that always does well in endurance racing, in the both the U.S. and Europe as evidenced by good finishes at Sebring and Petit Le Mans as well as major European GT event. The British PK Sport, Ltd team of David Warnock, Pier Masarati and Robin Liddell, has recently announced they will be coming to the U.S. after Le Mans to compete in the rest of the ALMS season.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be broadcast live on The Speed Channel TV network starting with a summary of qualifying at 9:00 AM Eastern time on Saturday, June 14. The Speed Channel will be live until 1:00 PM, as well as 2:30 PM - 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM. The live coverage resumes early Sunday morning from 12:30 AM - 10:30 AM for the finish and winner's circle ceremonies.

The entire event will be broadcast live online on the Le Mans Radio Network, which can be accessed on the Web at www.lemansradio.com. Live timing and scoring are available at www.lemans.org.

Since the Porsche 911 GT3 RS family of race cars was introduced in 1999, the car has been constantly updated and improved, but race fans will be hard pressed to tell the difference between the 1999 and 2000 GT3 R, and the 2001 - 2003 GT3 RS. The 2003 version of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS features minor modifications with its engine now delivering 435 horsepower at 8,250 RPM. The weight distribution was improved thanks to a lighter engine and engine periphery that take about 30 pounds off the car's rear end.

Built at Porsche Motorsport in the Research and Development Department at Weissach, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS finished 1-2 in class at Le Mans in its first year of competition, and has won its class in both the Grand Am and American Le Mans Series two years in a row. The car has also won its class four years in a row at the Daytona 24 Hours and four years running at the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

More than 180 Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS racecars have been sold so far worldwide, with almost half of those cars having raced in the U.S. A street version of the car, the Porsche GT3, is available in Europe, and will be introduced in the U.S. this summer.

Porsche 24 Hours of Le Mans - Wednesday LM GT Qualifying (best of both sessions)

1. ALEX JOB RACING/PETERSEN MOTORSPORTS (USA) 93 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Luhr, Lucas (DEU)
Maassen, Sascha (DEU) - turned pole time
Collard, Emmanuel (FRA)
Best lap - 4:07.996 (second session)

2. THE RACERS GROUP - KEVIN A. BUCKLER (USA) 81 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Buckler, Kevin. (USA)
Bergmesiter, Jorg (DEU)
Bernhard, Timo. (DEU)
Best lap - 4:08.105

3. ORBIT RACING(USA) 87 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Hindery, Leo. (USA)
Baron, Peter. (USA)
Lieb, Marc. (DEU)
Best lap - 4:10.292

4. PK SPORT LTD (GBR) 78 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Liddell, Robin. (GBR)
Warnock, David. (GBR)
Masarati Piers. (GBR)
Best lap - 4:11.623

5. RISI COMPETIZIONE (USA) 94 FERRARI 360 MODENA (LM GT)
Borcheller, Terry (USA)
Kelleners, Ralf (DEU)
Lazzaro, Anthony (USA)
Best lap - 4:12.016

6. TEAM TAISAN ADVAN (JPN) 77 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Iida, Akira. (JPN)
Yogo, Atsushi. (JPN)
Nishizawa, Kazuyuki. (JPN)
Best lap - 4:14.802

7. JMB RACING (FRA) 70 FERRARI MODENA (LM GT)
Terrien, David (FRA)
de Simone, Fabrizio (ITA)
Babini, Fabio (ITA)
Best lap - 4:18.161

8. RISI COMPETIZIONE (USA) 95 FERRARI 360 MODENA (LM GT)
Leitzinger, Butch (USA)
Mowlem, Johnny (GBR)
Lewis, Shane (USA)
Best lap - 4:18.268

9. THIERRY PERRIER (FRA) 75 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Khan, Ian (MC)
Neugarten, Michael (MC)
Smith, Nigel (GBR)
Best lap - 4:18.579

10. SEIKEL MOTORSPORT (DEU) 83 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Shep, David (CND)
Burgess, Tony (CND)
Lloyd, John (USA)
Best lap - 4:18.592

11. DEWALT-RACESPORTS SALISBURY (GBR) 92 TVR TUSCAN T400R (LM GT)
Sugden, Tim (GBR)
Jordan, Mike (GBR)
Caine, Michael (GBR)
Best lap: 4:19.378

12. XL RACING (FRA) 99 FERRARI 550 MARANELLO (LM GT)
Barde, Ange (FRA)
Ferte, Michel (FRA)
Lesoudier, Gael (FRA)
Best lap - 4:21.459

13. SPYKER AUTOMOBIELEN BV (NLD) 85 SPYKER C8 DOUBLE 12R (LM GT)
Coronel, Tom (NLD)
Hugenholtz, John. (NLD)
Simon Norman. (DEU)
55 laps, Best lap - 4:21.473

14. DEWALT-RACESPORTS SALISBURY (GBR) 91 TVR TUSCAN T400R (LM GT)
Stanton Richard. (GBR)
Barff, Rob (GBR)
Hay Richard. (GBR)
Best lap - 4:23.425

15. T2M MOTORSPORT (DEU) 84 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (LM GT)
Ickx, Vanina (BEL)
Berville, Roland (FRA)
Bourdais, Patrick (FRA)
Best lap - 4:27.443

-porsche-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Norman Simon , Emmanuel Collard , Robin Liddell , John Lloyd , Tony Burgess , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Kevin Buckler , Peter Baron , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Marc Lieb , Richard Stanton , David Shep , Piers Masarati , David Warnock , Richard Hay , Alex Job
Teams Alex Job Racing