Luhr, Graf Continue Flexing Muscle at Road America
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing is showing no sign of slowing down in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. Riding a five-race winning streak, the No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03a prototype of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr turned the best time in testing Thursday at Road America – a 1:51.397 (130.819 mph).
|With hardly anyone to compete with in P1, Muscle Milk is always fastest|
Graf and Luhr haven’t lost an ALMS race since the season-opening round at Sebring in March. A victory Saturday in the four-hour Road America Road Race Showcase would extend Graf and Luhr’s championship lead in the P1 driver standings and Muscle Milk’s advantage in the team title chase.
Graf and Luhr lead Dyson Racing’s Chris Dyson and Guy Smith by 16 points in the standings with 22 points available to Saturday’s class winners. The No. 16 Lola-Mazda coupe of Smith and Dyson was second-quickest Thursday at 1:52.939 (129.032 mph).
Dyson Racing’s second Lola-Mazda was third in class and fifth overall with a 1:57.693 (123.820 mph) for the trio of Tony Burgess, Eric Lux and Michael Marsal.
In P2, Conquest Endurance’s No. 37 Morgan-Nissan of Martin Plowman and David Heinemeier-Hansson set the class’ best lap of 1:56.458 (125.134 mph). The effort, on the car’s final lap of the session, gave the Conquest duo a 0.392-second gap back to Level 5 Motorsports’ duo of Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut.
The class championship leaders drive Level 5’s No. 055 HPD ARX-03b that won the most recent Series round at Mid-Ohio. The No. 95 Level 5 prototype was third in class with a best time of 1:57.752 (123.758 mph). Tucker and Luis Diaz share driving duties.
PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports set an early tone for what it hopes will be a successful defense of its 2011 Prototype Challenge victory at Road America. The No. 52 ORECA FLM09 of Marino Franchitti and Rudy Junco set a lap of 1:59.302 (122.151 mph) two weeks after its first 2012 victory at Mid-Ohio. Junco and Butch Leitzinger were class winners at Road America last season.
CORE autosport’s two entries sat second and third. The No. 05 of Jon Bennett and Colin Braun was 0.362 seconds behind the PR1 entry with the No. 06 of Bennett, Alex Popow and Tom Kimber-Smith next at 1:59.873 (121.569 mph).
Flying Lizard Motorsports placed its two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs first and third in GT. The No. 45 of Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long went quickest in class with a lap of 2:06.918 (114.821 mph) after a fight through the session with Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. The pairing in the No. 4 Corvette C6 ZR1 were 0.086 seconds clear of Marco Holzer and Seth Neiman in the second Lizard Porsche. Milner and Gavin lead the GT championship with three victories. Long and Bergmeister were class winners at Lime Rock Park in early July.
The GT class is usually a free-for-all at Road America. Three different manufacturers and teams have won in class since 2008.
GTC championship leader Alex Job Racing set the best time in class Thursday with its No. 22 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The car of Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen posted a lap of 2:14.309 (108.502 mph) to beat out Green Hornet Racing’s Damien Faulkner and Peter LeSaffre in the No. 34 Porsche by 0.312 seconds.
TRG’s No. 66 entry of Spencer Pumpelly and Emilio Di Guida was third at 2:14.708 (108.181 mph).
The Road America Road Race Showcase is the seventh round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. The four-hour race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Aug. 18. ESPN2’s telecast begins at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 19. Full, live coverage starts at 3:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.