ALMS teams and drivers ready for LeMans challenge
For teams and drivers in the American Le Mans Series, the first steps toward victory in the world’s most prestigious auto race begin Sunday. The lead-up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans officially begins with the now-annual Test Day at the Circuit de la Sarthe, less than two weeks before the green flag falls on the globe’s greatest endurance event.
Ten entries and 41 of the best drivers from the paddock will represent the American Le Mans Series. The group has combined for a total of 25 overall victories, 58 class wins and 231 starts at Le Mans over the years, dating all the way back to Emanuele Pirro’s first start in 1981.
Pirro is seeking a third consecutive victory with Audi Sport North America teammates Marco Werner and Frank Biela behind the wheel of Audi’s diesel-powered R10 TDI. Three Audis will be on the grid to face off against three factory Peugeot 908s - also diesel-powered - in a renewal of one of Le Mans’ most anticipated matchups.
|The Audi R10 leads a Corvette at Long Beach|
Two other LMP1 entries from the American Le Mans Series will race at Le Mans: Autocon Motorsports with its Judd-powered Creation CA07 and Team Cytosport (under the banner of Charouz Racing) with its Lola-Judd.
Corvette Racing is shooting for its sixth Le Mans GT1 victory since 2001 with a pair of works Corvette C6.Rs. Olivier Beretta, Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen won three straight for Corvette from 2004 to 2006 before Aston Martin Racing ended the GM factory team’s run with a one-lap victory in last year’s rain-soaked race.
GT2 sees current American Le Mans Series class championship leader Flying Lizard Motorsports bring one of its Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs to Le Mans for the fourth consecutive season. The California-based team will be joined by a pair of Ferrari F430 GTs for Risi Competizione, one of which placed second in class at last year’s race.
|The Flying Lizard Porsche leads the Risi Ferrari at Sebring|
Since 1999, the competitive impact of the American Le Mans Series on the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been significant. In addition to seven overall victories, the Series has claimed a total of 22 class championships. Series teams have won three class titles four times in that span.
American Le Mans Series at Le Mans
Audi Sport North America/Audi Sport Team Joest: Frank Biela, Dindo Capello, Lucas Luhr, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish, Emanuele Pirro, Mike Rockenfeller, Marco Werner (Audi R10 TDI, LMP1)
Autocon Motorsports: Michael Lewis, Chris McMurry, Bryan Willman (Creation CA07-Judd, LMP1)
Team Cytosport (Charouz Racing): Klaus Graf, Jan Lammers, Greg Pickett (Lola B06/10-Judd, LMP1)
Corvette Racing: Olivier Beretta, Ron Fellows, Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, Johnny O’Connell, Max Papis (Corvette C6.R, GT1)
Flying Lizard Motorsports: Jörg Bergmeister, Seth Neiman, Johannes van Overbeek (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, GT2)
Risi Competizione: Gianmaria Bruni, Nic Jonsson, Tracy Krohn, Jaime Melo, Mika Salo, Eric van de Poele (Ferrari F430 GT, GT2)
Terry Borcheller: Team Modena (Aston Martin DBR9, GT1)
David Brabham: Aston Martin Racing (Aston Martin DBR9, GT1)
Emmanuel Collard: Pescarolo Sport (Pescarolo-Judd, LMP1)
Ben Devlin: Team Bruichladdich Radical (Radical SR9-AER, LMP2)
Romain Dumas: Pescarolo Sport (Pescarolo-Judd, LMP1)
Christian Fittipaldi: Team Modena (Aston Martin DBR9, GT1)
Wolf Henzler: Team Felbermayr-Proton (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, GT2)
Patrick Long: IMSA Performance Matmut (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, GT2)
Sascha Maassen: Team Essex (Porsche RS Spyder, LMP2)
Johnny Mowlem: Creation Autosportif (Creation CA07-AIM, LMP1)
Simon Pagenaud: Team ORECA Matmut (Courage LC70-Judd)
Guy Smith: Quifel-ASM Team (Lola B05/40-AER)