ALMS: Post Laguna Seca Race Wrap.

Guy Smith + Laguna Seca Pole

Guy Smith takes the pole for Dyson Racing during Friday qualifying at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. - Image courtesy John Dagys/Speedtv.com

Round three of the 2010 ALMS championship saw the series travel to an unusually cool Monterey for the inaugural running of the six hours of Laguna Seca.

Friday’s qualifying session featured several unexpected outcomes. The first and most notable of which being Guy Smith’s pole setting lap for Dyson Racing. With the former Le Mans winner besting the time of nearest rival, David Brabham by a convincing seven-tenths of a second. The 1:12.338 lap saw Dyson’s Lola-Mazda to its maiden pole position.

Brabham later claimed to have been satisfied with Highcroft’s setup of the ARX01c, but conceded the team’s HPD machine was unable to compete with the obvious straight-line pace of Dyson’s Mazda-powered Lola, afforded by IMSA’s recent restrictor breaks. Highcroft would later be relegated to the rear of the grid as a result of a post-qualifying penalty.

Risi leads ESM/GT2 field into turn one.

#62 Risi leads the GT field into turn one. - Image courtesy John Dagys/Speedtv.com

The GT category once again played host to a brutal onslaught of speed from all marques on display. Risi Competizione’s Jaime Melo seized class pole with a 1:22.752. Johannes Van Overbeek would spark the second upset of the session, taking the #02 Extreme Speed Motorsports entry to second place on the grid to secure an all Ferrari front row.

Despite having achieved a fast lap merely .732 sec from the pole setting time, the usually dominant #45 Flying Lizards entry of  Bergmeister/Long were left to settle for eighth place on the grid.

Six hours Laguna Seca 2010 Start

Dyson leads the field approaching turn one. - Image courtesy John Dagys/Speedtv.com

Looking set to deliver on all fronts, the inaugural running of the six hour commenced in an eventful manner. Although starting from the rear of the grid, Highcroft’s Simon Pagenaud managed to fight through a gaggle of GT and challenge class competitors to reach fourth position overall during the opening laps of the event.

In somewhat of an ALMS tradition, Intersport’s #37 Lola-AER surged to the front of the field during the opening moments of the race, leading laps 1-38, later retiring due to engine related issues.

Intersport’s premature departure would see Highcroft inherit the race lead early during the second hour, with both MuscleMilk and Dyson entries remaining in close pursuit. The MuscleMilk squad would run as high as second before suffering race-ending transmission difficulties.

Despite early race dramas Dyson would remain in close pursuit of Highcroft throughout the event, with the squad’s Lola-Mazda even soaring to the overall lead during the fifth hour.

Clever strategy from Highcroft saw Franchitti maintain the race lead following a final pit stop. Dyson would minimise the margin to Highcroft below 26sec before suffering a race-ending mechanical failure in the dying stages of the race. Allowing the Connecticut-based squad to cruise to a second victory for 2010.

Highcroft + Laguna Seca six hours.

The Patrón Highcroft squad take the second victory of the 2010 season. - Image courtesy /Speedtv.com

Marked by intense battles between the factory-supported teams of Risi, P&M, RLR, and FLM, the GT race served as a brutal reminder of the pace at which the once Ferrari and Porsche dominated class now operates.

Dominated by no single entry, the GT class saw no less than six different runners share the lead throughout the duration of the race. Heated exchanges throughout the entire field marked the opening hours. The Rahal Letterman squad would maintain the race lead for the majority of hours two through four. With the team’s #92/90 entries running in 1-2 tandem on several occasions.

Flying Lizard Porsche, Rahal Letterman BMW, Pratt and Miller Corvette, Run to corkscrew

The #45 FLM Porsche of Patrick Long does battle with RLR/P&M in the dying stages of the race. - Image courtesy John Dagys/Speedtv.com

Despite an unfortunate result in qualifying, the #45 Flying Lizard entry would gradually work its way through the GT field over the course of the event. With Bergmeister reaching third in class after half race distance.

Clever pit strategy formulated by the Lizard’s chief strategist, Thomas Blam, saw the defending GT2 series champions inherit the lead late during the fifth hour. Leaving Porsche factory ace, Patrick Long to defend against a charging Joey Hand in the #90 RLR BMW, with the #3 Corvette of Oliver Gavin in close pursuit. The trio would ultimately finish in this order, with Long managing victory by a margin of .3sec to ensure another nail biting finish for GT class runners.

LMPC entries of Level5, Genoa, and GreenEarth Gunnar battle into the darkness.

LMPC entries of Level5, Genoa, and GreenEarth Gunnar battle into the darkness. - Image courtesy John Dagys/Speedtv.com

Now very much a part of the ALMS family, the LMPC category played host to a spirited exchange throughout the six hours between

Level5, Genoa, and Green Earth Gunnar entries. Much to the dismay of onlookers, the Team Gunnar entry would experience late race issues, forcing the #99 to a premature exit from the battle for class honours, but going on to finish third in category.

The #55 Level5,  and #36 Genoa entries were remained in an all out brawl to the finish, with experience proving to be the deciding factor. Bouchut taking the victory for Level5, followed by Genoa’s Tom Sutherland who would cross the line in second, a mere  seven seconds behind the endurance veteran.

Much like their faster GT class cousins the GTC category was, at no stage of the race, a single horse show. Entries of Alex Job, TRG, Velox, BlackSwan, and Orbit all experienced a share in the class lead over the course of the afternoon.

The #54 BlackSwan entry of Pappas/Bleekemolen/Bleekemolen would ultimately prevail, taking victory ahead of Andy Lally in the TRG #63, who would later cross the line to take second, followed by the #81 Alex Job entry of Leitzinger.

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