Title defenders keen to open up lead with Porsche
Stuttgart. Heading onto the finish straight of the season there is action aplenty in the American Le Mans Series: Just one week after the race on the legendary Road America, the series featuring the world’s fastest sports cars descends on the Mosport International Raceway near Toronto on 29 August. At the oldest race track in Canada with its many fast corners, the GT class battle with Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) is fast becoming the focus of attention.
At the wheel of the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the title defenders hope to further extend their points’ lead over the determined rivals from Ferrari and BMW. This season they have already racked up wins from Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Lime Rock. In Elkhart Lake recently, they finished a close second to earn valuable championship points. After Mosport, the only race left on the calendar is the season final on 2 October at Road Atlanta.
“I won the Mosport race three times in a row … between 2003 and 2005, but after that I didn’t have much luck on this very tricky circuit,” says Joerg Bergmeister, who has put together a rather simple strategy for the race. “We just have to get ourselves a good position in qualifying and earn plenty of points in the race. Then we can head off to the final with a comfortable buffer.”
For Patrick Long, it’s not his rivals he sees as the greatest challenge in Mosport but the circuit itself. “This is the fastest track on the ALMS calendar. It’s unforgiving with mistakes,” he says. “Overtaking is hard and there are many tight corners. Another decisive factor could be the changeable weather conditions. Rain, sunshine, wind – you’ve got to be prepared for the lot.”
Again in Mosport, two other Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entries will race. Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany) and his teammate Bryan Sellers (USA) are eager to close the gap to the leaders with their Falken Tire entered 911 GT3 RSR. Contesting its first season in the American Le Mans Series, the Falken Tire squad won the Michelin Green X Challenge environmental award in Elkhart Lake. Sharing driving duties in the 911 GT3 RSR run by Flying Lizard Motorsports are Americans Darren Law and Seth Neiman. And in the GTC class, Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) wants to continue his winning streak in the USA with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Joining forces with Timothy Pappas (USA), he has notched up four wins so far this season.
Romain Dumas celebrates his much-anticipated comeback with the Porsche RS Spyder in the USA. The Porsche works driver from France, who pocketed the title with the Weissach-developed and built sports prototype in 2007 and 2008, contests the Mosport race with Klaus Graf (Germany) in the LMP class for Muscle Milk Team Cytosport. This season, the US customer team underlined its potential by winning the Sebring 12 hour race (LMP2 class) and claiming overall victory in Lime Rock. In Elkhart Lake, they were a mere one second shy of another victory.
The race in Mosport takes off on Sunday, 29 August, at 15.00 hours local time (21.00 hours CEST) and runs over 2:45 hours. The GT qualifying on Saturday can be seen from 22.20 hours CEST under www.porsche.com/alms-live.
Facts and Figures
The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations correspond to those of the Le Mans 24 hour race. Nine races in the USA and Canada make up this year’s calendar. Traditional highlights are the Sebring 12 hour race and the 1,000 mile “Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta.
Sports prototypes and standard sports cars make up the starter field: These are divided into four classes:
LMP class: In this category, sports prototypes from the former LMP1 and LMP2 classes are classified together. The difference in performance is intended to be offset as far as possible (e.g. via restriction adjustments). The Porsche RS Spyder competes in this class.
GT class: Contesting this class (formerly GT2) are slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 460 hp and a minimum weight of 1,125 – 1,325 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
LMPC class: This newly-created class is a prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.
GTC class: Replacing the ALMS Challenge, this class is open for various model years of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
All race cars start together but are classified separately. This ensures racing that is exciting and constantly changing. Points are awarded only for placings in each class.
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