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ALMS positioned well for 2009? UPDATE Justin Wilson went to the Rolex 24 hour test earlier this month to see if there were any prospects of a drive in the Grand-Am series. “I talked to a few people there but it’s the same situation,” he commented. “Everyone’s looking for money. It’s quite interesting what’s happened. The Grand-Am paddock has shrunk a little bit, but it’s the most stable of the three series I’ve been looking at. It’s the most cost-effective of the three series and I guess that’s why it’s the most stable right now. IndyCar has shrunk a little bit, but there are still things happening, but with the ALMS it’s hard to get in touch with anyone right now. The ALMS field has shrunk considerably and there’s a lot of uncertainty there.”

01/11/09 When American Le Mans Series CEO and President Scott Atherton arrives at the North American International Auto Show next week in Detroit, he intends to deliver one very succinct message: the American Le Mans Series is coming off its most successful year ever and is well-positioned to weather the economic storm facing the auto industry.

"While there will certainly be challenges," said Atherton, "the American Le Mans Series has developed a world-class product that has generated not only record fan interest, but participation from new teams, auto manufacturers and corporate partners as well."

Worldwide Television Audience Spurs Record Attendance
The American Le Mans Series experienced an attendance increase last year (six percent), averaging nearly 80,000 per event. Coupled with a strong domestic television package that features race coverage on NBC, ABC and SPEED, its worldwide television distribution has produced additional noteworthy growth.

In 2009 MotorsTV will telecast Series events on a predominately "live" basis in prime time throughout Europe to 31 countries in four languages. Fox Latin American Networks embarks on the first year of a new multi-year agreement for "live" rights in Mexico, Central and South America. Additionally, Eurosport2, Germany's DSF, Sport Italia and Finland TV are part of the Greenlight-Television's anthology program partnership for the Series. The American Le Mans Series worldwide television audience now reaches more than 650 million potential viewers.

New Teams and Manufacturers Add to the Excitement
This year's lineup includes the return of BMW and their factory-backed program in the GT2 class under the auspices of BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team, one of the iconic names in the racing industry. Mazda, long recognized as one of the worldwide leaders in motorsports participation, has chosen one of the most revered names in sports car racing - Dyson Racing - to lead its expanded two-car LMP2 effort.

BMW will provide one of many new storylines for the 2009 season.
Dyson Racing, led by principal/driver Chris Dyson and his father Rob, has been one of the most recognized names among independent race teams over the last 25 years. The new factory affiliation with Mazda will provide unprecedented resources to the Dyson team.

Acura, meanwhile, will reinforce its commitment to the Series with a new two-car LMP1 effort (de Ferran Motorsports and Patr¢n Highcroft Racing) to go along with a strong LMP2 entry (Lowe's Fernandez Racing).

In addition, several stalwarts have confirmed their plans for the Series in '09. Porsche's factory-supported efforts in GT2 will be led by last year's champions, Flying Lizard Motorsports, and Farnbacher Loles Racing. Corvette Racing returns with its cellulosic E85-powered Corvette, beginning the season in GT1 before making the transition to GT2 following the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Tom Milner will again head the effort for Panoz Team PTG with its Panoz Esperante GTLM.

Once again, the American Le Mans Series will feature more auto manufacturers - Acura, Aston Martin, BMW, Corvette/GM, Ferrari, Ford (GT), Dodge (Viper), Mazda, Porsche and Panoz - than any other major racing series in the world. And, according to Atherton, yet another team is poised to announce a brand new marque to this year's grid.

Series' Position as Global Leader in Green Racing Enhances Interest
Atherton also believes the Series' position as the Global Leader in Green Racing has enhanced its standing and influence with auto manufacturers, fans and the U.S. government as well.

Green initiatives, such as those from Corvette Racing and Corsa Motorsports, will be the leading focal points for the Series this season.
"Propulsion solutions that focus on alternative energy sources and fuel efficiencies are at the forefront of the entire automotive industry," said Atherton. "And the American Le Mans Series represents the only motorsports series where manufacturers can actively develop such technologies. We believe the Series is a lap ahead of the field in this area, and we are getting on the radar screens of more and more companies that have made energy efficiency, technical innovation and green technology priorities."

A year ago at the North American International Auto Show, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Department of Energy stood side-by-side with the American Le Mans Series and declared it the only race series to meet all its protocols for green racing. As a result, it created a Green Challenge™ award to teams that demonstrated the best overall performance, fuel efficiency and environmental impact during a race.

The inaugural trophy was awarded at the Series' signature race, Petit Le Mans, last fall. This season, a prototype and GT team will receive awards each race with a year-end trophy awarded to teams and manufacturers for season-long performance in the three aforementioned categories.

The American Le Mans Series is the only race series in the world in which cars use one of four "street legal" alternative fuels or energy sources: cellulosic E85, E10, sulfur-free diesel and electric hybrid. "Street legal" refers to fuels that are virtually the same as the consumer can purchase at the service station.

The American Le Mans Series kicks off its 2009 season January 26-28 with its annual Winter Test in Sebring, FL. The first race is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, March 21. The Series concludes October 10 in Monterey, CA with the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

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