ALMS: Post Longbeach Race wrap.

ALMS LogoThe second round of the ALMS season looked promising on all fronts. The 2010 rendition of the event saw a record 36 entrants take to the streets of Longbeach, with a field consisting of seven LMP, thirteen GT, seven LMPC, and nine LMPC entries.

Being the first race of many to be run under IMSA’s recently introduced LMP equalisation rules, and the shortest event on the calendar at just 100mins, Longbeach managed to deliver the excitement series organisers and fans had been hoping for straight out of the box. The prototype ranks saw an intensely fought battle between series favourites Highcroft and AMR throughout the course of the weekend. AMR drew first blood during qualifying, with series regular Adrian Fernandez securing pole position by a margin of .072sec over Highcroft’s Simon Pagenaud.

The race opened in typical Longbeach fashion with an awkward scramble for position into turn one. LMP was very much an AMR/Highcroft dominated affair, with both cars being closely matched in terms of overall speed, each showing their strengths and weaknesses in different sections of the tight, beach side circuit. The two teams, very much in their own class, exchanged heated lap times in the earlier stages of the race. Primat and Brabham opting to set a consistently brutal pace that their partners would later maintain throughout the course of the event.

Fernandez and Pagenaud battle on the streets of Longbeach - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

After an ambitious showing from both drivers, Brabham would make contact with Primat through the tighter corners of the second sector, causing the Swiss driver to lose control of the Lola-AMR, damaging the fragile left-rear bodywork. A move which resulted in a stop-go penalty for the Highcroft team. Displaying a refreshing level of maturity and professionalism, Brabham later took full responsibility for the incident, taking the time to apologise to both Primat and AMR for causing any damage.

The final minutes of Longbeach 2010 saw a display of spirited driving the event has now become renowned for. Having replaced Primat at the wheel of the #007 AMR, Fernandez moved into first place. Pagenaud fought furiously to move the #1 Highcroft car through the congested GT traffic, struggling to keep pace with the AMR’s powerful V12 on the main straight. Showing the ARX01’s obvious speed through the tighter sections of the track, the Frenchman took advantage of a final lap error by Fernandez. Taking first place overall, beating the Lola-AMR by across the start/finish line by mere 0.353sec.

MuscleMilk team CytoSport’s duo of Pickett/Graf placed third in the combined LMP class. The teams’ RS Spyder also winning Michelin’s ‘GreenX Challenge’  as a result of being the fastest/most efficient prototype entry for the duration of the event. A respectable showing for the recent Sebring 12H LMP2 champions.

Risi leads field into first corner

Melo leads during the opening laps - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

The GT category proved to be a worthy dogfight, commencing in a very similar manner to Sebring. The #14 FalkenTire entry of Henzler took off to an early lead, only to fall back into the field shortly after as a result of the not-so-developed Falken shoes on the car. Daring pit strategies by the Rahal Letterman and Flying Lizard squads led to an entertaining brawl for position in the later stages of the race.

RLR BMW of Auberlen/Milner, FalkenTyre in pursuit.

#92 RLR BMW of Auberlen/Milner - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

Opting against a fresh set of Dunlops during the cars’ sole pit stop had seemingly paid off for the #92 RLR-BMW, until the closing laps. The #45 of Long would pass a struggling Milner, now left defending against Magnussen and Bruni on double-stinted tyres. Long would go on to finish first for the Flying Lizard Motorsports squad in a deserving victory for the #45 team, after suffering heartbreak at Sebring. In a valuable points haul for the P&M squad, Magnussen would finish second, followed by the #92 RLR-BMW of Milner, and #62 Risi Ferrari of Bruni in fourth.

LMPC saw a close fight between the #99 Green Earth Gunnar, #55 Level5 Motorsport, and #36 Genoa entries. Jeanette would go on to take victory in the #99, followed by the #55 of Bouchut in second, and the #36 of Sutherland finishing third. In GTC the #81 Alex Job entry backed up their Sebring victory by reigning triumphant on the Californian streets. The #81 crew of Leitzinger/Gonzalez taking the first step of the podium, followed by #32 of Sofranas/Curtis in second, and #23 of Sweedler/Kapudija in third.

Final position listings can be seen below:

  1. 1     P             (Brabham)/Pagenaud*        67           HPD ARX-01c
  2. 007 P           (Primat)/Fernandez*           67           Lola B09 60 Aston
  3. 6     P             (Pickett)/Graf*                        67           Porsche RS Spyder
  4. 16   P             (Dyson*)/Smith                      67           Lola B09 86 Mazda
  5. 99   PC          (Julian)/Jeannette*              66           Oreca FLM09
  6. 55   PC          (Tucker)/Bouchut*               65           Oreca FLM09
  7. 36   PC          (Hildebrand*)/Sutherland 65           Oreca FLM09
  8. 45   GT          (Bergmeister)/Long*           65           Porsche 911 RSR
  9. 12   P             (Drissi*)/Davis                        65           Lola B06 10
  10. 3     GT          (Magnussen/(O’Connell*)   65           Chevrolet
  11. 92   GT          (Auberlen*)/Milner             65            BMW M3 GT
  12. 62   GT          (Melo*/(Bruni)                       65            Ferrari 430 GT
  13. 90   GT          (Mueller)/Hand*                   65            BMW M3 GT
  14. 17   GT          (Sellers/(Henzler*)               65            Porsche 911 RSR
  15. 01   GT          (Sharp*/(van Overbeek)    65            Ferrari 430 GT
  16. 02   GT          (Brown)/Cosmo*                  64            Ferrari 430 GT
  17. 89   PC           (Pagerey/(Wong*)               63            Oreca FLM09
  18. 4     GT           (Beretta*)/Gavin                  63             Chevrolet Corvette
  19. 81   GTC        (Gonzalez)/Leitzinger*      63             Porsche 911 GT3 C
  20. 32   GTC        (Curtis)/Sofronas*              63             Porsche 911 GT3 C
  21. 23   GTC        (Sweedler)/Kapudija*       63              Porsche 911 GT3 C
  22. 11   PC           (Bonilla)/Marcelli*             62              Oreca FLM09
  23. 40   GT          (D.Robertson/(Murry*)   62              Doran Ford GT-R
  24. 88   GTC        (Lewis*/(Vento)                  62              Porsche 911 GT3 C
  25. 8     P              (Drayson)/Cocker*             62              Lola B09 60
  26. 48   GTC        (Miller*/(McMullen)          61              Porsche 911 GT3 C
  27. 69   GTC        (Rodriguez)/Bieker*           61             Porsche 911 GT3 C
  28. 80   GTC        (Gonzalez/(Diaz*)                60            Porsche 911 GT3 C
  29. 54   GTC        (Pappas)/Bleekemolen*    60            Porsche 911 GT3 C
  30. 37   P             (J.Field*)/C.Field                 48            Lola B06 10
  31. 63   GTC        (Richard)/Lally*                  48            Porsche 911 GT3 C
  32. 75   GT          (Gentilozzi)/Dalziel*           45            Jaguar XKRS
  33. 44   GT          (Law*/(Neiman)                   28            Porsche 911 RSR
  34. 28   GTC       (Beggs*)/Baron                     6               Porsche 911 GT3 C
  35. 52   PC          (Mowlem*/(Papadopoulos)3           Oreca FLM09
  36. 95   PC          (Tucker*/(Hunter-Reay) 0                Oreca FLM09

Longbeach entry list released.

ALMS LogoALMS organisers have released the provisional entry list for round two of the ALMS season in Longbeach, California. The street circuit will play host to a field of 35 cars, the largest grid seen at the event in over fifteen years, and will be the first race run under new LMP equalisation regulations proposed by IMSA during the winter.

Both LMP1/LMP2 will be merged into a single class, simply named ‘LMP’.  Series organisers and fans alike are hoping this will restore some of the action seen in recent years when similar equalisation methods were sought out.

A surprise inclusion is the appearance of Johnny Mowlem in the #52, PR1 Motorsports entry.  With ‘Corsa Car’ appearing as a sponsor/providing support for the car. What this means for the future of the Corsa Motorsports, Zytek-Hybrid program remains uncertain.

The full listing can be seen below:

LMP

  • 1 Patrón Highcroft Racing – HPD ARX-01c – David Brabham / Simon Pagenaud
  • 6 Muscle Milk Team Cytosport – Porsche RS Spyder – Greg Pickett / Klaus Graf
  • 8 Drayson Racing – Lola B09 60-Judd – Paul Drayson / Jonny Cocker
  • 12 Autocon Motorsports – Lola B06 10-AER – Tomy Drissi / Ken Davis / Michael Lewis
  • 16 Dyson Racing Team – Lola B09 86-Mazda – Chris Dyson / Guy Smith
  • 37 Intersport Racing – Lola-B06 10-AER – Jon Field / Clint Field
  • 007 Aston Martin Racing – LolaB09/60-AMR – Adrian Fernandez / Harold Primat

GT

  • 3 Corvette Racing Compuware – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Jan Magnussen / Johnny O’Connell
  • 4 Corvette Racing Compuware – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Olivier Beretta / Oliver Gavin
  • 17 Team Falken Tire – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Bryan Sellers / Wolf Henzler
  • 40 Robertson Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – David Robertson / Andrea Robertson / David Murry
  • 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Darren Law / Seth Neiman
  • 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Joerg Bergmeister / Patrick Long
  • 62 Risi Competizione – Ferrari 430 GT – Jaime Melo / Gianmaria Bruni
  • 75 Jaguar RSR Jaguar – Jaguar XKR – Paul Gentilozzi / Ryan Dalziel
  • 90 BMW Rahal Letterman – BMW E92 M3Dirk Müller / Joey Hand
  • 92 BMW Rahal Letterman – BMW E92 M3 –  Bill Auberlen / Tommy Milner
  • 01 Extreme SpeedMotorsports – Ferrari 430 GT – Scott Sharp / Johannes van Overbeek
  • 02 Extreme SpeedMotorsports – Ferrari 430 GT -Ed Brown / Guy Cosmo

LMPC

  • 11 Primetime-Braille Battery – Oreca FLM09 – Joel Feinberg / Kyle Marcelli
  • 36 Genoa Racing Genoa Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Tom Sutherland / TBD
  • 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Johnny Mowlem / Tom Papadopoulos
  • 55 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – TBD / TBD
  • 89 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Mitch Pagerey / Brian Wong
  • 95 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – TBD / TBD
  • 99 Green Earth Team Gunnar – Oreca FLM09 – Gunnar Jeannette / Elton Julian

GTC

  • 23 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bill Sweedler / Romeo Kapudija
  • 28 911 Design Porsche Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Loren Beggs / Doug Baron
  • 32 GMG Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bret Curtis / James Sofronas
  • 54 Black Swan Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Timothy Pappas / Jeroen Bleekemolen
  • 63 TRG Future Electronics – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Henri Richard / Mark Thomas
  • 69 WERKS II Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Robert Rodriquez / Galen Bieker
  • 80 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Ricardo Gonzalez / Luis Diaz
  • 81 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Juan Gonzalez /Butch Leitzinger
  • 88 Velox Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Shane Lewis / Jerry Vento

Post Sebring race wrap.

In the weeks approaching the 2010 Sebring 12H, the average Sportscar enthusiast was more or likely involved in an argument over Audis presence at the legendary race. While Audi weren’t present (in a professional/race-prepared capacity), that didn’t stop record numbers of fans from flocking to the Southern Florida located circuit, with the expectation of seeing a race.

With the race now run and won, we take a look at the highlights of what turned out to be a fairly decent (and quite eventful) Sebring 12 hour.

The opening ten minutes saw the lead Peugeot take to an early lead (no surprises here), while the second did battle with the Lola-AMR, and Drayson racing entries. Running at what seemed to be slightly off the pace of the other P1 cars, the AMR-Lola (then driven by Fernandez) surrendered third position to well paced Emmanuele Pirro in the Drayson Lola-Judd. Shortly after, Pirro managed to take second place from an unsuspecting Sebastian Bourdais, in what turned out to be one of the highlights of the race. Anybody listening to Radio Le Mans’ audio stream at the time would have heard the trademark Hindhaugh scream of excitement.

Peugeot AMR battle.

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

LMP2 started off as predicted. With reigning series champions Patron Highcroft surging out to an early lead. Followed by the Cytosport Spyder, and Dyson Lola-Mazda. Dysons’ car suffered engine related issues in the opening hours of the race, effectively ruining any chance of a win. The big surprise came after the 9 hour mark, after consistent running at close to P1 speeds, Highcroft suffered mechanical difficulties. Brabham hastily retreated to the pits, allowing the #6 Cytosport entry (which would later go on to win the race)  to recover the 5 lap margin drawn out by Highcroft driver trio.

BMW Corvette Risi chicanes

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

The GT2 battle was heated from the moment the green flag was waved, with Henzler taking first place off Bergmeister within the opening moments of the race. Bergmeister later reclaimed the class lead, followed by the #62 Risi car,  and the #3/4 Corvettes after the lesser developed Falkens on Henzler’s car began to to wear. Something that may have come as a surprise to some (an expectation by many) was the early departure of the #75 JaguarRSR entry. After the much touted return of Jaguar to competitive sportscar racing, this was a huge disappointment.

As the race progressed, the drama began to unfold. The #3/4 Corvettes collided on pit road (in a very Peugeot-esque moment), effectively ending Corvettes hope of GT2 victory. Doug Fehan (Manager of Corvette Racing) later cited a radio miscommunication as the cause of the collision.  Meanwhile, not pushing for outright pace, the Peugeots continued to lap flawlessly, leading 1-2 overall. The Lola-AMR continued in third place, in much the same manner, opting to preserve fuel and tyres.

P1, P2, LMPC run to turn six.

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

Later in the race, the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche suffered another cruel blow (in a history of injustices) when a tyre broke free from the #17 car, damaging the rear-left of the #45. Bergmeister was required to drive a complete lap with a deflated tyre and enter a closed pit area under the yellow flag. Series rules stipulate that no repair work can be completed on a car while the track is under a caution period. The damage was surprisingly minimal and repaired quickly. Unfortunately the #45 car exited pit lane several laps down on the class leaders, and out of the running for victory. The car finished two laps behind the class-winning Risi car, after some spirited driving by Bergmeister, Long, and Lieb.

Setting the pace earlier during test sessions, and in qualifying, BMW ran a relatively clean race (barring some minor incidents involving the #90 car). Mueller managed to spin the #90 car on the last lap, gifting teammate Werner second place in the dying moments of the race. Mueller brought the car home in third place, citing tyre/steering problems as a result of the crash. The #45/44 Flying Lizard cars finished a modest fourth and fifth. A decent effort considering the challenges faced by both cars through the event.

Risi Competizione took their third Sebring GT2 victory, in what is becoming an enduro tradition (on both sides of the Atlantic). Further cementing their status as the team to beat in any event over 10 hours. Drivers Melo, Bruni, and Kaffer managed to maintain a solid pace throughout the 12 hours, making few mistakes and avoiding the mishaps that plagued their competitors.

The LMPC class was, for the most part, a disappointment. With half the GT2 field finishing in front of the class winning car, it’s difficult to take the class seriously. It was expected the car would face technical problems after the 6 hour mark. Having only competed in short sprint races in a cooler European climate. The combination of harsh Sebring heat and bumpy terrain saw most of the cars pitting early with similar failures. The #55 Level5 entry led for what seemed like the entirety of the race, taking the checkered flag with Bouchut at the wheel.

To the surprise of many, GTC ended up providing some great viewing. With the recent addition of some seasoned-pros (Leitzinger, Diaz, Keen etc) to the category, the 997 Cup based-class gave the crowd something to cheer about (in between acting as mobile chicanes for the other classes). The #81 entry of Leitzinger, Gonzalez and Keen took class honours.

By the later stages of the race, Peugeot was only required to keep the car off the walls to take a maiden 12H victory, and did so in 1-2 fashion. The Lola-AMR placed third after a moderately paced, trouble free race. Finishing a modest three laps behind the diesel powerhouse. The #6 MuscleMilk Cytosport team of Graf, Picket, and Maassen finished fourth overall and first in class, completing an incident free race. A solid effort for any privateer.

That was Sebring 2010, and it only gets better from here on in.