From Le Mans to Lime Rock For all the planning, preparations and sometimes panic with getting cars and equipment ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, not much is said about the return trip back to the States for American Le Mans Series teams. This year the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park is four weeks after Le Mans, which is a contrast to the two-week turnaround needed to ship cargo to Europe for the Le Mans Test Day following the Utah Grand Prix.
Corvette Racing has become a bit of an expert, having crossed the Atlantic each year since 2000 and winning its class five times in that span. Gary Pratt, co-founder of Pratt & Miller which builds, supplies and supports the factory Corvettes for General Motors, takes us through the post-Le Mans process.
"The race cars were prepared for shipment immediately following the race, and were on their way home that night. The crew has to clean the cars, remove the gas, tape up all of the holes - making a long day longer; they're finished around 7 p.m.
"On Monday morning, all of the equipment, tools, spare parts, etc., are boxed in the crates they were shipped in - enough crates to fill a semi- trailer. The crates are loaded on a truck, the tent behind the garage taken down, and the whole load is ready to go by 2 p.m.
"The truck drivers drive to the coast and make the ferry crossing to England at night. After clearing customs, the crates are sent to U.S. via air freight on Tuesday. The race cars and equipment arrived at the Pratt & Miller shop on Thursday afternoon (June 19).
"The truck is currently on an ocean freighter somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, and is scheduled to arrive in early July."
That will put everything back in the US in plenty of time for the start of the second half of the Series at Lime Rock.
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix is race is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 12 at Lime Rock Park. SPEED will televise the race from noon to 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 13. XM Satellite Radio will air the event live on XM Sports Nation Channel 144. Additional live coverage from American Le Mans Radio and IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring also will be available at americanlemans.com. ALMS PR