A look at the ALMS championship chases
Since 2004, the American Le Mans Series’ annual visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca means four hours of the world’s premier sports cars, teams and drivers racing into the twilight and darkness on the Pacific coast. It also draws a curtain to the championship chase, and this year is no different.
Heading into next weekend’s Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n, three of the four driver championships and three team titles remain at stake with 25 championship points still available to class winners. How do things break down? We’re glad you asked…
LMP1: Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s David Brabham and Scott Sharp lead de Ferran Motorsports’ Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud by 21 points. The Patr¢n Highcroft duo must complete 70 percent of the overall winner’s distance to gain points and claim the first championship for both as well as the first for Duncan Dayton’s team.
Should the Patr¢n Highcroft Acura fail to gain 70 percent, the de Ferran entry would need to place at least second to win both championship. The two teams would tie with 158 points, but de Ferran/Pagenaud have won more races this year (4-3).
Acura clinched the manufacturer championship at Mosport.
LMP2: Lowe’s Fernandez Racing’s Luis Diaz and Adrian Fernandez clinched the driver title at Mosport, and Petit Le Mans saw Lowe’s Fernandez win the team championship and Acura take the manufacturer title.
GT2: Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long aren’t quite dominant in the race for the driver title, but they are close. The pair of Porsche factory pilots must earn 10th-place points, no matter what Risi Competizione’s duo of Jaime Melo and Pierre Kaffer do next weekend. The Ferrari F430 GT must finish at least second in class and have the Lizards’ No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fail to reach 70 percent of the race distance.
It’s worth noting that as regular teammates in American Le Mans Series competition, the Bergmeister/Long duo has never finished outside the top-eight in 28 races. A title would be Bergmeister’s fourth (tied for all-time) and Long’s second.
The same scenarios are in play for the team title, with Flying Lizard seeking its second straight class championship. Porsche wrapped up the manufacturer’s title with a third-place finish in class at Petit Le Mans for Dirk Werner and Wolf Henzler, driving the Farnbacher Loles Racing entry.
Challenge: Snow Racing’s Martin and Melanie Snow need only to complete 70 percent of the overall race-winners distance at Laguna Seca. The duo is the only husband-wife pairing to win a Series race, and they’ve done it three times this year.