Thursday, September 24, 2009

Petit Le Mans

Once again its time for the American Le Mans Series “Fall Capper,” arguably the series second biggest race of the season, headed only by the 12hrs of Sebring.

(Class/Number of entries)
And then they went Two by Two, as the top category will be a barnburner between the two Audi R15’s, two Peugeot 908’s and Acura ARX-02A’s

The Audi’s will feature Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner aboard the Audi Sport North America No. 1, while Dindo Capello and the irrepressible Allan McNish will pilot the Audi Sport Team Joest No. 2.

Reigning 24 Heurs du Mans winners Peugeot will feature Nicolas Minassian and Pedro Lamy at the keyboard of the No. 07 car, while Stephane Sarazzin and Franck Montagny will be aboard the No. 8.

And the two Acuras will see the TCGR IndyCar Boyz once again sharing driving duties, with Scott Dixon co-driving with Gil De Ferran and Simon Pagenaud in the No. 66, with Dario Franchitti co-driving with David Brabham and Scott Sharp aboard the HighCroft No. 9, as the two Acura squad’s are locked in a fierce fight for the ALMS Championship.

While the No. 48 Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09HS Zytek piloted by Johnny Mowlem and “Stevie Johnson,” a.k.a. Stefan Johansson is a most interesting design, as this chassis features “Hybrid Synergy,” utilizing a KERS system and Hybrid technology, having made its debut at Utah earlier this year.

LMP2 (5)The LMP2 category is a fairly interesting affair, as I’m rooting for the underdog No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola/Mazda with Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti; having met Marino this summer at Silverstone, just fresh off his Le Mans outing. Marino, the younger Franchitti, seems pretty down to Earth and a very pleasant chap and hence the class’s choice is simple for me.

Adrian Fernandez Acura has been the dominant force all season long, but the Team “Sidle-sport (Team Cytosport) Porsche RS Spyder of Greg Pickett and the two Dyson cars should at least give Fernandez a run for his money, while the Van der Steur Racing’s Radical SR9 AER should keep everybody on their toes.

LMGT2 (14)
This by far is probably the hottest contested class with its mix of “Production-based” competitors featuring the likes of BMW, Corvette, Dodge Viper, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Panoz and Porsche…

Look for the two Factory Corvette’s to mix it up with Bobby Rahal’s (or Booby Ray-X according to Meesh…) fast improving two car squad of BMW’s, while the plethora of Porsches can never be counted out during an Endurance race.

Of interest is the entry of Rocketsports Racing’s lone Jaguar XKR. (#33) As although the drivers are listed as TBA, I’m assuming this is ‘Ol Trans Am gunslinger Paul Gentolozi’s outfit, (Remember him? The Dude who rann Trans Am into the ground and was one of the four Champ Car Mooseketeers…) which has been basically MIA since the demise of Champ Car and SCCA Trans Am.

But my sentimental favourite has to be the No. 40 Robertson Racing Ford GT-R piloted by David & Andrea Robertson and David Murry.

While sadly, there appears to be only one Ferrari F430 entered, but it’s a good ‘Juan, being the No. 62 Risi Competizione with Jaime Melo, Pierre Kaffer and future wanna be Stock Car star Mika Salo behind the keyboard.

You can catch all the action on SPEED, beginning at 8AM (PACIFIC) this Saturday.

Petit Le Mans Spotter guide