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Classes

Prototype (P)

Prototype Challenge(PC)

GT Le Mans (GTLM

GT Daytona (GTD)

USCC Point Standings
After Lime Rock
Prototype Drivers
Pos Drivers Total
1 Joao Barbosa 220
1 Christian Fittipaldi 220
2 Dane Cameron 216
2 Eric Curran 216
3 Jordan Taylor 211
3 Ricky Taylor 211
4 Marc Goossens 197
5 Oswaldo Negri Jr. 191
6 Jonathan Bomarito 183
6 Tristan Nunez 183
7 Tom Long 179
7 Joel Miller 179
8 Katherine Legge 171
8 Ryan Dalziel 171
9 John Pew 164
10 Sean Rayhall 120
11 Johannes Van Overbeek 95
11 Scott Sharp 95
11 Luis Felipe Derani 95
12 Ryan Hunter-Reay 84
13 Max Angelelli 82
14 Olivier Pla 77
15 Spencer Pigot 72
15 Ed Brown 72
16 Ben Devlin 70
17 Andy Meyrick 67
18 Scott Pruett 62
19 Filipe Albuquerque 61
20 Rubens Barrichello 53

Teams
1 #5 Action Express Racing 220
2 #31 Action Express Racing 216
3 #10 Wayne Taylor Racing 211
4 #90 Visitflorida.Com Racing 197
5 #60 Michael Shank Racing 191
6 #55 Mazda Motorsports 183
7 #70 Mazda Motorsports 179
8 #0 Panoz Deltawing Racing 144
9 #2 Tequila Patron Esm 95
10 #50 Highway To Help 46
11 #81 Dragonspeed 29
12 #01 Ford Chip Ganassi 27
13 #02 Ford Chip Ganassi 25
14 #37 Smp Racing 23
15 #24 Porsche Centre Oakville 21

Manufacturers
1 Chevrolet 236
2 Honda 227
3 Mazda 212
4 Bmw 56
5 Ford 30
The changing face of LMP2

by David Phillips
Thursday, November 20, 2008

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Laguna Seca action
The past couple of seasons have seen LMP2 vie with GT2 as the most fiercely-contested class in the American Le Mans Series. Acura’s entry into the category in 2007 (and its remarkable debut victory at Sebring) triggered a head-to-head confrontation with Porsche that produced some of the best prototype racing in years. Indeed, Acura vs. Porsche generally had outshown the “bigger, faster” LMP1 class where Audi usually had its way, notwithstanding flashes of speed from Intersport Racing and cameo appearances by Peugeot.

Spearheaded by Penske Racing with Dyson Racing chipping-in, Porsche managed to win the LMP2 team, driver and manufacturers titles in ’07 and ’08, but not without a real fight from Acura’s Andretti Green, Patr¢n Highcroft and Lowes Fernandez Racing and, in ’08, de Ferran Motorsports.

But those heady days of Acura vs. Porsche, Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard vs. David Brabham/Scott Sharp, Patrick Long/Sascha Maassen vs. Adrian Fernandez/Luis Diaz, Chris Dyson/Guy Smith vs. Gil de Ferran/Simon Pagenaud have been consigned to the historical vaults now that Acura is going LMP1, Penske is racing elsewhere and Porsche has, evidently, withdrawn its factory support for LMP2.

All is not lost in LMP2, however. Acura will still have a strong presence in the category with Lowe’s Fernandez returning for a third season even as Patr¢n Highcroft and De Ferran move “up” to LMP1 and Andretti Green Racing (at least as of now) moves out of Series competition altogether. Although the cost of fielding an Acura ARX-01b is not insignificant and the worldwide economic meltdown makes new sponsors scarcer than hens teeth, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that another team could step forward to run LMP2 Acuras (or Porsches, for that matter) otherwise destined to become show cars in 2009.

What’s more intriguing, however, are the prospects for a revitalized LMP2 program from Mazda. Dyson Racing recently revealed it will not be racing Porsche RS Spyders next year and - while nobody is talking on the record - it appears the Poughkeepsie-based team will take over the Mazda LMP2 program from B-K Motorsports in the coming season. That’s a prospect that figures to be good for Dyson, for Mazda and LMP2.

Dyson, of course, is one of the most accomplished teams in American sports car racing with a dozen wins in the storied Camel GT series and another nine wins (including four overall) in American Le Mans Series competition since 1999. And while it fielded a typically professional effort with its Porsche RS Spyders the past two seasons, Dyson Racing was generally a step or two behind its cohorts at Penske in the Porsche development pipeline.

That would no longer be an issue should rumors of Dyson’s partnership with Mazda come to fruition.

For its part, Mazda is widely believed to have been more competitive than the small B-K Motorsports team had been able to demonstrate the past couple of years. And a partnership with a veteran outfit like Dyson - particularly if Dyson’s deal with Michelin tires is part of the bargain - would enable Mazda to really show what it’s got. And the Mazda MZR-R engine - now installed in the handsome Lola B08/86 coupe - figures to give the Acura LM V8 a run for its money.

This is not to imply LMP2 circa 2009 will match the past two seasons where four (and at times five) Porsche RS Spyders did battle with three or (in ’08) four Acuras for class honors and, many a time, with the Audi R10s for the overall win. But it is to say the prospects of Acura going head-to-head with Mazda next season on a more or less equal playing field promise to be intriguing.

David Phillips is one of North America’s most respected and renowned motorsports journalist. His ‘Another Turn’ features will appear periodically on americanlemans.com throughout the season. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Le Mans Series.

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