Round 8 of American Le Mans Series August 24-26
Archived Articles 13 Sep 2007 Udo RobiEWR
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Motorsport:

Round 8 of American Le Mans Series August 24-26

Mosport International Raceway is the only stop in Canada for this internationally recognized motorsport series featuring the most sophisticated sports cars in the world.

The series was founded by Dr. Don Panoz of Brazelton, Georgia, who took an interest in sports car racing. He purchased the right to use the" Le Mans " name from the French Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) in 1999. The ACO regularly runs this annual race every June in Sarthe, France. This event is considered to be the premier sports car race in the world, attracting the best cars and endurance drivers.

Although the American Le Mans Series uses the same rules and regulations as the original, the official connection to the French event is that there is an automatic invitation issued to the winners of the Petit Le Mans race in Brazelton, Georgia (a 10 hour event) to compete in the" 24 Hours of Le Mans".

The American Le Mans Series is a unique race that has four different classes of cars compete simultaneously from the fastest prototypes to the production-based racers suitably prepared for the rigours of the life in the fast lane.

The top prototype class, the LMP-1 has such purpose built racers such as the now famous Audi R10 TDI with the in-house engineered and built diesel-racing engines, the Creation CA06H-Judd and the Lola EX257. These last two are not competitive with the factory backed Audis.

In the next lower prototype class, the LMP2, has cars such as the new Porsche/RS Spyders, the even newer Acura ARX-01a's, the Acura engined Lola B06/43, the Radical SR9 and the Lola/B06-46 Mazda.

Next is the GT1, a production based class with such highly tuned cars as the ever-present GM factory built and sponsored racing Corvettes C-6R's, the ultra sophisticated Aston Martins of James Bond movies (number 007 and 009), the glamorous Maserati MC12. These cars are capable of top speeds in the 195 mph range with cornering and braking abilities to match. The two Corvettes normally dominate this class. This time a third Corvette — number 33— especially built for Ron Fellows for his farewell tour joined the race against his former team mates in cars # 3 and # 4. Johnny O'Connell, his former longtime team-mate in the number 3 machine now teamed up with Jan Magnussen of Denmark with whom he used to race in the Panoz in the P900 class (now LMP1).

In the GT2 category, notable for the number of Porsche 911/GT3 R's, (5 in this race), which have been dominant in this class until 2006. A new competitor has now arrived in the form of two Ferrari 430GTs. The number 62 piloted by the former Formula 1 pilot Finland's Mika Salo and his teammate Jamie Melo have so far notched 7 wins over the Porsche brigade. At Mosport the Ferraris finished first and second.

In the top Prototype class (LMP1) there have also been upsets this year, with the Prototype Porsche/RS Spyders in class LMP2 winning 8 races out of 9 over the formerly dominant Audi R10's. The dominant Porsche has been the number 6 driven by Romain Dumas of France and Timo Bernard of Germany. The duo has already won the Championship in their class with only two races left this year in the calendar. This not only in their own class but also overall. This performance by the Porsches has not escaped the notice of the Audi R10 driver Emanuele Pirro, the 5 time winner of the 24 hours of Le Mans, who stated that the new rules favour the Porsches due to their 125 lbs lower weight which gives them the advantage on the tighter and shorter race courses and faster cornering speeds (of course the Porsches also have less horsepower). Despite this the Audi R10 TDI posted a new lap record during qualifying with a sizzling time of 1:05.829 driven by Dindo Capello of Italy. The old record was a 1:07.169 also by an Audi R8 clocked in 2002 by Frank Biela. It is interesting to note that the top eight cars achieved a better time in qualifying that the old lap record. This also includes all three of the new Acuras entered.

[i] (Space limitations do not permit the inclusion of all results. They are available on the internet at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2... )[i]
 
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