Patron Highcroft scores 6-hour win in Monterey

Winners from all four classes

#1 Patron Highcroft Racing Honda Performance Development ARX-01c: David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud, Marino Franchitti

#1 Patron Highcroft Racing Honda Performance Development ARX-01c: David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud, Marino Franchitti

#1 Patron Highcroft Racing Honda Performance Development ARX-01c: David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud, Marino Franchitti

#55 Level 5 Motorsports Oreca FLM09: Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut, Mark Wilkins

#45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long
#54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: Timothy Pappas, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen

Bob Heathcote/

Patr¢n Highcroft Racing went from last – well, nearly last – to first Saturday with a thrilling victory in the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patr¢n. The HPD ARX-01c of David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti won an epic six-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the second straight victory for PHR.

Franchitti took the checkered flag in Round 3 of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. He and Dyson’s Guy Smith battled for the better part of the final two hours before the Dyson Mazda-powered Lola ground to a halt with 24 minutes remaining. The oil filter blew, which shut off the power to the Mazda engine.

“The whole crew did a great job," said Pagenaud, who drove from 33rd (third-to-last) to the lead in 78 minutes. “The opening laps were pretty exciting. Starting at the back you have to find motivation and that was getting to the front. The Michelin tires were working really, really good. We went through the traffic very quickly."

“I can’t say enough about the team. Today was an absolutely flawless demonstration of endurance racing," Brabham said. “With everything that happened out there, we made no mistakes in the pits. My teammates performed perfectly. This is the way to head off to Le Mans with this momentum."

Four cars led overall – Patr¢n Highcroft, Dyson Racing, Muscle Milk Team CytoSport and Intersport Racing. But the back-and-forth battle between Highcroft and Dyson was the most captivating among the LMP class. The two cars ran first and second for almost 2:30 with the Dyson Lola-Mazda battling back from Andy Meyrick’s spin on a restart early. The team had to replace the front nose but that was the extent of the damage.

The deciding moment appeared to be Patr¢n Highcroft’s decision for a fuel-only stop with 45 minutes left. Franchitti rejoined the race and led by about 30 seconds over Smith – who took tires and fuel on his last stop – before the Lola came to a stop.

“I was definitely hanging on for life; it was a bit like drifting or rally driving," Franchitti said. “Either way I was going to be happy. I knew I'd still have great tires and new tires were still really good. It was a perfect call because I could drive like I wanted to. Michelin was a big part of the win today."

Patr¢n Highcroft also won the LMP portion of the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge, based on overall performance and environmental efficiency.

Klaus Graf – who led for two stints in the race – placed second with Memo Gidley and Sascha Maassen in Muscle Milk’s Porsche RS Spyder.

Flying Lizard Motorsports scored another dramatic GT victory at Mazda Raceway with Patrick Long winning in class by 0.365 seconds with Jörg Bergmeister over BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s Joey Hand. Long passed Hand’s BMW M3 GT on the inside of Turn 11 just as the green flag flew on the final restart with eight minutes left, a legal move.

“On the restart Joey left a bit of a door and I took it three-wide through 11," Long said. “Then it was all about running because I knew Joey wouldn't be happy. We came from P8 and worked our way through a very competitive field."

Indeed. The GT battle throughout was as close as expected with eight different cars – three Ferraris, two Corvettes, two BMWs and the Flying Lizard Porsche – leading throughout. At one point, the top seven cars were running with seven seconds midway through the race.

Hand had taken the class lead with 33 minutes left when Long pitted for fuel only. He and Dirk Mueller finished second, just ahead of Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta.

Last year’s race ended with Bergmeister and Corvette’s Jan Magnussen running side-by-side to the checkered flag with the Corvette crashing in an emotionally charged finish. This year…

“It was definitely a bit more relaxing for me," said Bergmeister, who got to watch this year. “I knew Patrick would do a good job because he has been good all week long. There were some who thought it wouldn't work out because the BMW was charging but I knew that Patrick would work it out and pull away."

The second Corvette C6.R of Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen won the GT portion of the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge.

Level 5 Motorsports’ trio of Christophe Bouchut, Mark Wilkins and Scott Tucker won in the LMP Challenge class, repeating their victory from the opening round at Sebring. Bouchut crossed the finish line 7.105 seconds ahead of Genoa Racing’s Tom Sutherland, who drove with Tom Weickardt and Kyle Marcelli.

“It’s a nice feeling to win again," Bouchut said. “It was a great race, and this time we had to fight really hard until the end. The car was working really well. We had no problems at all. I just pushed the car to the maximum to keep our position."

It was nip-and-tuck the whole way between the Level 5 and Genoa ORECA FLM09s. The Level 5 car led 115 laps and the Genoa entry led 114.

“We had to push really hard to keep up front," said Wilkins, who has won in both his Series starts. “Christophe drove a great stint, so did Scott to keep the car up there. Level 5 gave us a great car at Sebring and they did here. We knew if we could run to the end we'd be right there."

The victory also gave Tucker and Bouchut the class championship lead over Green Earth Team Gunnar’s Gunnar Jeannette and Elton Julian. They placed third in class with Christian Zugel.

“I don't know if there is a secret," said team owner Tucker. “I have great co-drivers and a great team. Our manager has a great mind and these guys make it easy for me. They do a great job behind the scenes."

Black Swan Racing won its first Series race with brothers Jeroen and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen partnering with team owner Tim Pappas for a GT Challenge victory. The entry led all six hours and ended up a lap ahead of TRG’s Porsche of Andy Lally, Rene Villeneuve and Henri Richard.

“We had a great start in Long Beach but some things went wrong; today it went really right," said Jeroen Bleekemolen, who won the class pole and set the class’ fastest race lap. “It’s great to get the win and hopefully move up in the championship."

BSR made its 2010 debut at Long Beach but ran into trouble early in the race. It was the first outing for the team since the 2008 season when it ran a Ford GT in the GT2 class. Team owner Pappas couldn’t imagine much of a better start to the season.

“This is pretty cool. We came out for Long Beach without much preparation," he said. “We had a difficult, frustrating race. We went home and worked hard and practiced. All the guys at Black Swan are great. The Bleekemolen brothers come over and it was a great race. We didn't put a tire off and made zero mistakes in the pits so that turned out to a race win."

The next race for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n is the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. The two-hour, 45-minute race is set for 2:05 p.m. MT on Sunday, July 11 from Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. SPEED will air the race same-day at 4 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche – a production of Radio Show Limited – as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 242. Visit the Series’ schedule page for ticket and accommodation information. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much, much more will be available on Racehub at

You can follow the Series on Twitter (almsnotes) and on our Facebook page and the official YouTube channel.

Race Results

Pos Car Cls ClsP Drivers Team Car Laps Gap
1. 1 P 1 D.Brabham, S.Pagenaud, M.Franchitti Patron Highcroft Racing HPD ARX-01c Honda 237 -.—
2. 6 P 2 M.Gidley, K.Graf, S.Maassen Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder 230 7 Laps
3. 55 PC 1 S.Tucker, C.Bouchut, M.Wilkins Level 5 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 229 8 Laps
4. 36 PC 2 T.Sutherland, T.Weickardt, K.Marcelli Genoa Racing Oreca FLM09 229 8 Laps
5. 45 GT 1 J.Bergmeister, P.Long Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 227 10 Laps
6. 90 GT 2 J.Hand, D.Mueller BMW Rahal Letterman Racing BMW E92 M3 227 10 Laps
7. 4 GT 3 O.Beretta, O.Gavin Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 227 10 Laps
8. 62 GT 4 J.Melo, G.Bruni Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT 225 12 Laps
9. 01 GT 5 S.Sharp, J.van Overbeek Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari 430 GT 225 12 Laps
10. 3 GT 6 J.Magnussen, J.O'Connell Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 224 13 Laps
11. 17 GT 7 B.Sellers, W.Henzler Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 224 13 Laps
12. 99 PC 3 G.Jeannette, C.Zugel, E.Julian Green Earth Team Gunner Oreca FLM09 222 15 Laps
13. 92 GT 8 B.Auberlen, T.Milner BMW Rahal Letterman Racing BMW E92 M3 222 15 Laps
14. 89 PC 4 M.Pagerey, B.Wong, D.Ducote Intersport Racing Oreca FLM09 222 15 Laps
15. 16 P 3 C.Dyson, G.Smith, A.Meyrick Dyson Racing Team Lola B09/86 Mazda 220 17 Laps
16. 61 GT 9 T.Krohn, N.Jonsson Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT 220 17 Laps
17. 54 GTC 1 T.Pappas, J.Bleekemolen, S.Bleekemolen Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 219 18 Laps
18. 63 GTC 2 H.Richard, R.Villeneuve, A.Lally TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 218 19 Laps
19. 81 GTC 3 J.Gonzalez, B.Leitzinger, R.Junco Jr. Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 217 20 Laps
20. 80 GTC 4 R.Gonzalez, L.Diaz, R.Junco Jr. Car Amigo – AJR Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 217 20 Laps
21. 48 GTC 5 B.Miller, J.McMullen, L.Hines Orbit Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 216 21 Laps
22. 88 GTC 6 S.Lewis, L.Aschenbach Velox Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 216 21 Laps
23. 40 GT 10 D.Robertson, A.Robertson, D.Murry Robertson Racing Doran Design Ford GT 215 22 Laps
24. 44 GT 11 D.Law, S.Neiman, T.Bernhard Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 213 24 Laps
25. 23 GTC 7 B.Sweedler, R.Kapudija, J-D.Lueders Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 212 25 Laps
26. 69 GTC 8 R.Rodriguez, G.Bieker, Wilson WERKS II Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 212 25 Laps
27. 28 GTC 9 L.Beggs, D.Baron 911 Design Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 211 26 Laps
28. 02 GT 12 E.Brown, G.Cosmo Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari 430 GT 194 43 Laps
29. 75 GT 13 P.Gentilozzi, R.Dalziel, M.Goossens JaguarRSR Jaguar XKRS 191 46 Laps
30. 12 P 4 B.Willman, T.Burgess, P.Ehret Autocon Motorsports Lola B06/10-AER 170 67 Laps
31. 8 P 5 P.Drayson, J.Cocker, E.Pirro Drayson Racing Lola B09/60 Judd 108 129 Laps
32. 52 PC 5 J.Mowlem, T.Papadopoulos, R.Lewis PR1/ Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 107 130 Laps
33. 32 GTC 10 B.Curtis, J.Sofronas, T.Borcheller GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 83 154 Laps
34. 37 P 6 J.Field, A.Field, N.Konstant Intersport Racing Lola B06/10 AER 38 199 Laps
35. 95 PC 6 S.Tucker, A.Wallace, B.Frisselle Level 5 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 8 229 Laps

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