On to Mazda Raceway for ALMS

A group of North America’s top sports car talent heads to one of North America’s premier road courses for the next round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. The four-hour American Le Mans Monterey features 35 ALMS prototype and GT cars racing into twilight at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and through the iconic Corkscrew turn.

All five teams that won in class last year race are among the entrants for next month’s race: Muscle Milk Pickett Racing (P1), Level 5 Motorsports (P2), Corvette Racing (GT), CORE autosport (PC) and TRG (GTC). Of those, three have the same driver pairings as a year ago – Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner for Corvette Racing, and CORE autosport’s Jon Bennett and Colin Braun.

A look at the class battles, with P1, P2 and GT featuring ties in their respective team standings:

• P1: Graf and Luhr will have their hands full trying to repeat. Dyson Racing – with a Lola-Mazda coupe – sat on the race’s overall pole position in 2010 and 2011, and wrapped up the 2011 ALMS P1 title at Mazda Raceway. Another Lola will be on the grid from Rebellion Racing, which uses Toyota power. The DeltaWing also returns to ALMS competition with former Champ Car and DTM pilot Katherine Legge making her first start in the series.
• P2: Level 5 Motorsports and Extreme Speed Motorsports have split the first two races of the season. Level 5 has won at Monterey the last two seasons, and Extreme Speed won last weekend at Long Beach in just its second race in the class. Both teams have Honda Performance Development prototypes.
• GT: Five auto manufacturers make up the world’s most competitive class with each marque represented by two teams. Corvette Racing and BMW Team RLL have won the season’s two previous rounds while Risi Competizione and SRT Motorsports each have one pole position each.

• PC: This marks the third race for the Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire. The reviews so far for the Continentals have been overwhelmingly positive. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and CORE autosport each have a victory to their credit.
• GTC: TRG goes for its third straight class win at Monterey, just a couple hours down the road from its race shop in Sonoma. It has two cars on this year’s entry as does Flying Lizard Motorsports, a past race-winner in Monterey in the GT class. Alex Job Racing opened the year with a win at Sebring, and NGT Motorsport won at Long Beach.

The next round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n is the American Le Mans Monterey from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, May 11. It’s the third round of the 10-race ALMS championship. ESPN2’s coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 12 with live coverage is available on ESPN3 starting at 6:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 11.

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