Acura St. Pete GP News and Notes
• The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg marks the second round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series season and the Series’ first appearance at the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit on the Florida waterfront. St. Petersburg will become the 24th different circuit and sixth different street course to hold an American Le Mans Series event. Two other new venues for 2007 are street courses: Long Beach on April 14 and Belle Isle in Detroit on September 1 with the Series returning to Houston on April 21.
• The 2007 Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg marks the first “home” race for the three new Acura-powered LMP2 entries. Acura, the luxury brand of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced in April 2006 its first factory motorsports program in its 20-year history. Acura’s race program features normally aspirated V8 engines designed and developed by Honda Performance Development.
• Andretti Green Racing made history at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with an LMP2 class win for drivers Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan. The team’s Acura ARX prototype finished second overall to only the winning Audi R10 TDI P1 entry.
The Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura-powered Lola of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz finished second in class and third overall at Sebring. Acura also took fourth in class behind the Highcroft Racing prototype of David Brabham, Stefan Johansson and team owner Duncan Dayton. Acura laid down an early-season challenge to fellow P2 manufacturers Porsche, Mazda and Radical in what is the strongest P2 field in Series history.
• St. Petersburg also will see the renewal of what is expected to be a season-long battle between Ferrari and Porsche. At Sebring, Jaime Melo from Risi Competizione drove his Ferrari F430 GT to a 0.02-second, last-lap victory over Porsche’s Jörg Bergmeister of Flying Lizard Motorsports. St. Petersburg is the second race for the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Type 997).
• Audi Sport North America will bring its two Audi R10 TDIs to St. Petersburg riding an eight-race winning streak in the American Le Mans Series that dates back to Sebring of 2006. Defending 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Emanuele Pirro, Marco Werner and Frank Biela were the winning drivers two weeks ago at Sebring. Defending Series champions Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello will partner in the second Audi.
• Two teams each will field two next-generation Porsche RS Spyders in LMP2 at St. Petersburg. Penske Motorsports recorded a third-place class finish at Sebring with its No. 7 entry of Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Helio Castroneves. Poughkeepsie, NY-based Dyson Racing debuted its new Porsches at Sebring with a fifth-place class finish for Butch Leitzinger, Andy Wallace and Andy Lally. Two addition RS Spyders are set to debut this summer from Jacksonville, FL-based CET/Solaroli Motorsports, which also will field a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in GT2.
• Prior to the start of the 2007 American Le Mans Series Season, the new GT2 factory-supported Rahal Letterman Racing squad and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) announced expansion of the Team Ethanol program to include RLR’s new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Type 997) operation. The team announcement was made in conjunction with the Series’ announcement that Ethanol-enhanced fuel (E10) would become one of the official fuel selections for its competition season.
• A total of 119 drivers have scored Series victories in the nine-year history of the American Le Mans Series to date (1999-2007), the latest being Andretti Green Racing’s Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan at Sebring in an Acura ARX. In the history of the Series, 705 drivers have competed in at least one race including 26 first-time starters at Sebring.
• No American Le Mans Series driver has captured a pole in each of the nine seasons of the Series. Ron Fellows (2000-02, 2004-2006) holds the current mark with a pole position start in seven of the eight seasons.
• Jan Magnussen (Panoz, Ferrari and Corvette) and David Brabham (Panoz, Ferrari and Aston Martin) are the only drivers in Series history to win races for three marques. Twenty-eight (28) drivers have won for two different marques.
Jon Field, Jan Magnussen, Lucas Luhr, Sascha Maassen, David Brabham, Timo Bernhard and Emmanuel Collard have won in different race car or chassis/engine combinations.
• Olivier Beretta, GT1 co-champion, holds the all-time American Le Mans Series record for career victories (29) thanks to a third career GT1 win at Sebring. He is three ahead of Penske Motorsports’ Sascha Maassen (26), who shared the P2 championship with Lucas Luhr, and four ahead of Corvette mates Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell (25) with JJ Lehto next (23). Maassen’s former teammate Lucas Luhr stands sixth all-time with 23, one ahead of 2006 LMP1 co-champion Rinaldo Capello and Frank Biela (22). Next are Beretta’s teammate Oliver Gavin (20), Timo Bernhard (18), Jorg Bergmeister and Emanuele Pirro (16), and Clint Field and Audi mates Allan McNish and Marco Werner (15).
• Olivier Beretta and teammate Oliver Gavin’s eight-race win streak (2005 Portland through 2006 Mid-Ohio) is an all-time Series record.
• Liz Halliday’s LMP2 class victory with Clint Field at Portland in 2006 moved her past Milka Duno for the most Series wins by a female driver (6). Halliday finished third at Sebring in GT1 for Team Modena and is exploring driving opportunities for the 2007 season.
• Thirteen (13) women have competed in the American Le Mans Series in its history (Milka Duno, Belinda Endress, Davina Galica, Halliday, Kimberly Hiskey, Claudia Huertgen, Cindi Lux, Melanie Paterson, Danica Patrick, Melanie Snow and Lyn St. James. St. James, Amanda Stretton and Jennifer Tumminelli). In total, Series’ female drivers have posted 72 starts, 15 wins, 31 top three finishes, 44 top fives, 66 top 10s, three Fast Qualifier and one Fast Lap. Halliday has already won the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans, and leads all Series female drivers with 13 top three finishes.
CURRENT AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES
STREAKS AND RECORDS
1. Ron Fellows has started 57 consecutive American Le Mans Series races,
an all-time Series mark that will end at St. Petersburg as he moves into a new role with GM and Corvette Racing. Frank Biela and Sascha Maassen were the previous record holders (40).
2. The Audi R10 TDI has won in each of its nine worldwide starts since debuting at Sebring last year. The first diesel-powered car to win in the American Le Mans Series, the R10 is a perfect 8-0 in North America to date. The car also won in its first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last season.
3. Olivier Beretta (1999, 2000, 2005, 2006) is the only four-time class champion in the American Le Mans Series. Three drivers – Ron Fellows (2002, 2003, 2004), Sascha Maassen (2003, 2002) and Lucas Luhr (2003, 2002) – have won three titles each. Six current drivers – Johnny O’Connell (2003, 2004), Marco Werner (2003, 2004), Frank Biela (2003, 2005), Emanuele Pirro (2001, 2005), Jorg Bergmeister (2005, 2006) and Allan McNish (2000, 2006) – have each won two Series titles.
4. The Ferrari F430 GT is riding a streak of three straight GT2 fast-qualifier starts dating back to Petit Le Mans in 2006. The car also has posted the fastest GT2 race lap in four straight events with four different drivers (Toni Vilander, Ralf Kelleners, Mika Salo and Jaime Melo).
5. Since debuting at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2005, the Porsche RS Spyder has held a monopoly on LMP2 pole positions and fastest race laps. In 12 Series races since its debut, the Porsche has recorded 12 straight fastest race laps in LMP2 and 11 consecutive pole positions (qualifying wasn’t held at Mosport in 2006).
6. With his win at Sebring to open 2007, Frank Biela tied reigning LMP1 co-champion and Audi teammate Dindo Capello as the winningest driver in class history with 22 victories. JJ Lehto sits third with 19, followed by Emanuele Pirro (16), and Marco Werner and Allan McNish (15).
AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES
ALL-TIME STATISTICAL LEADERS
1. Johnny O’Connell is the all-time leader in career Series starts (74)
followed by Ron Fellows (69), David Brabham (62), Sascha Maassen (60), and Frank Biela and Terry Borcheller (59).
2. Ron Fellows is the all-time leader in Series Top Three finishes with 56 and is ahead of teammate Johnny O’Connell (53). Olivier Beretta (50), JJ Lehto (48), Frank Biela (45), Sascha Maassen (43), Lucas Luhr (41), and Oliver Gavin and Emanuele Pirro (37) are next.
3. Johnny O’Connell owns the Series all-time record for Top Five Finishes (66) with Ron Fellows (64), and Olivier Beretta and JJ Lehto (56) next. Frank Biela (53) rounds out the top five chase.
4. Johnny O’Connell continues as the all-time Top 10 Finishes leader with 72 over teammate Ron Fellows (69). David Brabham and Frank Biela (59), and JJ Lehto (58) round out the top five.
5. Olivier Beretta remains all-time Fast Qualifier leader (18). Corvette teammate Ron Fellows is second (16), followed by James Weaver and Lucas Luhr (15), and Dirk Muller (13). Sixty (60) drivers have achieved Fast Qualifier honors, most recently Stefan Johansson in a Zytek 06S prototype in LMP1 and Mika Salo in a Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta in GT2 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
6. Olivier Beretta remains the all-time Series leader in Fast Laps (20), ahead of Timo Bernard (16), Oliver Gavin (14), JJ Lehto (13), Dirk Muller and Sascha Maassen (12), and Frank Biela, Tomas Enge, and James Weaver (11). Sixty-six (66) drivers have posted fastest race laps in Series history. The most recent addition to the record book was Ralf Kelleners for Risi Competizione in a Ferrari F430GT at Petit Le Mans in GT2.
• In the 66-race history of the LMP2 class, AER-MG power has won 25 races, Judd 13, Porsche eight, Nissan seven each, Ford two, and Acura and Mazda one. Lola EX257 chassis have won 14 races, Lola B2K/40 chassis have won 12 times, and the new Lola B05/40 has eight wins including three in 2006. Thus Lola chassis have scored 34 wins (51.52 percent) of the P2 total. Porsche chassis have taken seven wins, Reynard 01Q six wins, Courage chassis five wins, and Pilbeam MP84 chassis three victories. The RS Spyder has finished first in class or overall in eight of its first 11 American Le Mans Series starts.
AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES MANUFACTURER-RELATED
1. Porsche continues to lead the all-time Series marque victory list with 70, and includes victories in LMP2 (8), GT1 (2) and GT2 (60) over Audi’s 57 (50 for the R8 including farewell at Lime Rock and seven wins for the new R10 TDI). Chevrolet ranks third with 45 wins. Lola ranks fourth among the marques with 37 wins. Acura is the most recent winning manufacturer thanks to an LMP2 victory at Sebring.
2. Porsche also has notched 70 all-time Series pole positions, including 58 in GT2, one in GT1 and 11 in LMP2. The Audi R8 holds the all-time race car record for most poles (39) with 44 overall for Audi. Corvette leads the GT1 ranks with 37 poles.
3. Porsche holds the all-time Series record for the longest race-winning streak – 21 (2002 Sebring through 2004 Mid-Ohio), and finished last season with eight straight victories (GT2 plus LMP2 triumph at the Laguna Seca finale).
4. Sixteen (16) different chassis marques have posted Series victories: Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Courage, Dodge, Ferrari, Lola, Panoz, Pilbeam, Porsche, Riley & Scott, Reynard, Saleen and Zytek.
5. Fourteen (14) different engines marques have won Series events: Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, Judd, Mazda, AER/MG, Nissan, Porsche and Zytek.
6. With its 2005 Laguna Seca LMP2 victory in its inaugural run of the RS Spyder, Porsche became the first chassis marque to win in three classes: GT1, GT/GT2 and LMP2. Porsche also became the second engine marquee to win in three classes, behind only Ford, a winner in all four classes.
AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES ENTRANT-RELATED
1. Victories: Corvette Racing earned its 46th American Le Mans Series victory – an all-time Series mark for Entrant wins – with its win at Sebring to extend its leadership over Alex Job Racing (37). Audi Sport North America (34), Intersport Racing (20) and Champion Racing (18) round out the top five, followed by Oreca (16), Dick Barbour Racing (15), Prodrive (11), BMW Motorsport (10), Dyson Racing, Panoz Motor Sports and Petersen/White Lightning (9), Penske Racing (8), Risi Competizione and Miracle Motorsports (6), and Joest Racing and BMW Team PTG (5).
2. Since its inception, 33 different entrants have posted American Le Mans Series victories. By class, the LMP1 ranks have produced nine (9) different Entrant victors with 11 different winners in LMP2, 10 in GT2, as well as seven (7) different winning entrants in GT1.
3. Ten (10) entrants have scored GT2 class wins. Alex Job Racing leads with 37, followed by Barbour Racing with nine, Petersen/White Lightning with eight, Team PTG Racing and Risi Competizione with five, BMW Schnitzer with four wins, Flying Lizard Motorsports, Panoz Motor Sports/Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz and The Racers Group with two victories each, and a single victory for Reiser/Callas.
AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES ‘BY-THE-NUMBERS
In eight-years of American Le Mans Series competition to date (1999-2007)
and its 77 all-time races:
• 705 Different drivers have started at least one race
• 119 Different drivers have started at least one race
• 270 Drivers with at least one top 3 finish
• 398 Drivers with at least one top 5 finish
• 589 Drivers with at least one top 10 finish
• 60 Drivers with at least one pole position (Fast Qualifier)
• 66 Drivers with at least one Fast Lap
• 23 Different Series event venues
• 5 Different countries holding Series races