ALMS Long Beach news and notes
• The Grand Prix of Long Beach marks the third round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series season and the Series’ first appearance at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit on the pristine southern California waterfront. Long Beach becomes the 24th different circuit and seventh different street course to hold an American Le Mans Series event. Two more street circuit events are on the 2007 schedule: Houston on April 21 and the Series’ first appearance in Detroit at Belle Isle on September 1.
Twenty-one drivers entered in the Long Beach Grand Prix have recorded at least one class victory in the eight previous Series events: Olivier Beretta (2007 St. Petersburg GT1, 2006 Houston GT1, 2000 Adelaide GTS), David Brabham (2002 Washington P900 and 2003 Miami GTS), Ryan Briscoe (2007 St. Petersburg P2), Rinaldo Capello (2007 St. Petersburg P1, 2006 Houston P1, 2000 Adelaide GTP, 2002 Trois Rivières P900), Duncan Dayton (2003 Trois Rivières P675), Chris Dyson (2003 Miami P675), Clint Field (2006 Houston P2, 2002 Washington LMP675), Jon Field (2002 Washington, 2003 Trois Rivières P675), Oliver Gavin (2007 St. Petersburg GT1, 2006 Houston GT1, 2003 Trois Rivières GTS), Klaus Graf (2006 Houston GT2), Sascha Maassen (2007 St. Petersburg P2, 2002 Washington, Trois Rivières, Miami, 2003 Trois Rivières and Miami GT), Jan Magnussen (2002 Washington P900), Chris McMurry (Trois Rivières 2002 P675), Allan McNish (2007 St. Petersburg P1, 2006 Houston P1, 2000 Adelaide GTP), Jaime Melo (2007 St. Petersburg GT2), Dirk Muller (2000 Adelaide GT), Johnny O’Connell (2002 Washington and Miami GTS), Emanuele Pirro (2002 Miami P900), Mika Salo (2007 St. Petersburg GT2), Andy Wallace (2003 Miami P675) and Marco Werner (2003 Trois Rivières P900).
• Four drivers – Audi’s Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello, and Corvette Racing’s Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin - have taken victory at each of the Series’ past two street events: St. Petersburg 2007 and Houston 2006.
• The Audi R10 TDI enters the Grand Prix of Long Beach with an unbeaten 10-0 record (including the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans) since debuting at the 2006 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The turbo diesel-powered LMP1 has given Audi Sport North America a 1-2 class finish in the four previous Series events dating back to last October at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Long Beach also sees the debut of Team Cytosport and its Lola B06/10-AER in LMP1. Former Trans-Am champions Klaus Graf and team owner Greg Pickett are entered as drivers.
• The 2007 Grand Prix of Long Beach marks the third 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. 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.
• Risi Competizione enters the Grand Prix of Long Beach riding a three-racing winning streak in GT2 with its Ferrari F430 GT. Following a 0.202-second win at Sebring, Mika Salo and Jaime Melo posted a one-lap victory over the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche of Jörg Bergmeister and Johannes van Overbeek.
• Two teams each will field two next-generation Porsche RS Spyders in LMP2 at Long Beach. Penske Motorsports recorded a 1-2 class finish at St. Petersburg, led by its No. 6 entry of Sascha Maassen and Ryan Briscoe. Poughkeepsie, NY-based Dyson Racing debuted its new Porsches at Sebring and has recorded top-five finishes at both Sebring and St. Petersburg. 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 120 drivers have scored Series victories in the nine-year history of the American Le Mans Series to date (1999-2007), the latest being Penske Motorsports’ Ryan Briscoe at St. Petersburg in a Porsche RS Spyder. In the history of the Series, 705 drivers have competed in at least one race including 26 first-time starters at Sebring.
• With a win at St. Petersburg, Sascha Maassen became the first Series driver to post at least one victory in all nine seasons of the American Le Mans Series. Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen can tie Maassen with a class win for Corvette this season.
• 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 nine 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 (30) thanks to wins to open the season at Sebring and St. Petersburg a third career GT1 win at Sebring. He is three ahead of Penske Motorsports’ Sascha Maassen (27), who won at St. Petersburg in LMP2, and four ahead of Corvette mates Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell (25) with JJ Lehto, Lucas Luhr and Rinaldo Capello next (23). They are followed by Frank Biela (22), Oliver Gavin (21), Timo Bernhard (18), Jörg Bergmeister, Emanuele Pirro and Allan McNish (16), and Clint Field and Marco Werner (15). ALMS PR