View Full Version : [NEWS] 2005 American Le Mans Series Sebring event Fact Sheet

03-10-05, 02:39 AM
From WhoWon.com (http://www.whowon.com/):

Sebring International Raceway
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
2005 American Le Mans Series Sebring event Fact Sheet


SEBRING, Fla. --

53rd MOBIL 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
2005 American Le Mans Series Event
March 16-19 2005

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Opening race of the 2005 ALMS season

Sebring International Raceway (http://www.whowon.com/Results.asp?TrackID=484&StoryID=144541#)
Sebring, Fla.
3.7-mile road racing circuit (17 turns)

Saturday, March 19, 2005
10:30 a.m. (ET)

12 hours

Airtime 10:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. (ET)

MotorsTV (live) throughout Europe
(21 countries; 36 million households)

American Le Mans Series Radio Web (Live) 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m http://www.americanlemans.com (http://www.americanlemans.com/)

Four classes of American Le Mans Series sports cars; Le Mans Prototype LMP1; LMP2; Grand Touring GT1, GT2

(IMSA) International Motor Sports Association

Southern Vintage Race Association (SVRA)
Panoz Racing Series
Star Mazda Series
SPEED World Challenge

Online: http://www.sebringraceway.com; (http://www.sebringraceway.com;/)
Telephone: 863-655-1442

Bob Dickinson, Vice President/Media & Communications 706-654-2983 Ext.240;
Alex Thompson, Media Relations Mgr. 706-654-2983 Ext. 362;
Ryan Smith, Media Relations Mgr./Website Editor

Ken Breslauer, Communications Director, Sebring International Raceway, 863-655-1442, sebring12pr@aol.com, 863-655-1777 (f) Credential Requests to Ken Breslauer.

www.americanlemans.com (http://www.americanlemans.com/)
www.sebringraceway.com (http://www.sebringraceway.com/)

Grand Prix of Atlanta
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Road Atlanta - Braselton, GA
12:00 p.m. CBS Sports

10:30a.m. - 11:30a.m. Sanctioned ALMS Practice

10:05 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Sanctioned ALMS Practice
2:05 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Qualifying for GT1 and GT2
2:45 p.m . - 3:10 p.m. Qualifying for LMP1 and LMP2

10:25 a.m. - 11:25 a.m. Sanctioned ALMS Practice

7:50 a.m. - 8:10 a.m. Combined ALMS warmup (all classes)
10:45 a.m. Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

LMP1: Frank Biela ('02) Audi R8 1:48.09 = 123.30 mph
LMP2: Marino Franchitti ('04) MG Lola 2:01.71 = 109.92 mph
GT1: Ron Fellows ('04) Chevrolet Corvette 1:57.052 = 113.79mph
GT2: Timo Bernhard ('04) Porsche 911 GT3R 2:04.804= 106.73 mph

1. Allan McNish/Frank Biela/Pierre Kaffer, Audi R8 (P1)
2. JJ Lehto/Marco Werner/Emanuele Pirro, Audi R8 (P1)
3. Johnny Herbert/Jamie Davies/Guy Smith, Audi R8 (P1)
4. Ron Fellows/Johnny O'Connell/Max Papis, Corvette C5-R (GT1)
5. Joao Barbosa/Rob Barff/Martin Short, Dallara Judd (P1)
6. James Weaver/Andy Wallace/Butch Leitzinger, Lola EX257/AER (P1)
7. Tomy Drissi/Michael Lewis/Vic Rice, Riley & Scott MKIII/Elan (P1)
8. Timo Bernhard/Sascha Maassen, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (G2)
9. Christophe Bouchut/Jean-Luc Blanchemain/Roland Berville, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (G2)
10. Lucas Luhr/Romain Dumas/Marc Lieb, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (G2)

LMP1: Allan McNish/Frank Biela/Pierre Kaffer, Audi R8
LMP2: Ian James/Mike Borkowski/John Macaluso, Nissan Lola
GT1: Ron Fellows/Johnny O'Connell/Max Papis, Corvette C5-R
GT2: Timo Bernhard/Sascha Maassen, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

Super Bowl of American Sports Car Racing (http://www.whowon.com/Results.asp?TrackID=484&StoryID=144541#) at Sebring
Just Around the Turn

America's premier sports car race - and one of the world's most famous endurance tests - makes is 53rd and perhaps most competitive stop at Sebring International Raceway with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 19. The storied 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course annually serves as the season opener for the American Le Mans Series and this year will feature a "who's who" of the most prestigious manufacturers and elite drivers from the U.S. and around the globe.

Sebring is a place of legends and where legends are made - Mario Andretti (http://www.whowon.com/Results.asp?TrackID=484&StoryID=144541#), Juan Manuel Fangio, A.J. Foyt, Mark Donohue, Bruce McLaren, Phil Hill, Jacky Ickx, Dan Gurney, Bobby Rahal, Freddie DeLorenzo, Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner, Wally Dallenbach, Buddy Baker, Bill Elliott (http://www.whowon.com/Results.asp?TrackID=484&StoryID=144541#) and Terry Labonte (http://www.whowon.com/Results.asp?TrackID=484&StoryID=144541#) just to name a few. And there have been the "other" stars - Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, James Brolin, Gene Hackman, Walter Cronkite, Craig T. Nelson, Lorenzo Lamas, Dick Smothers, Bruce Jenner and Dan Pastorini. And let us not forget Ray Crawford, the only driver in the history of the event to complete the entire 12 Hours of Sebring solo, which he did in 1955.

Who will write the next chapter of world-class sports car racing folklore in the Super Bowl of American sports car racing? Here is an advanced look at some emerging stories that could well become the story in 2005.

Can He Make it a Record Four Wins?

Frank Biela (Nuess, Germany) can become the first driver in the long and prestigious history of the event to win four Sebring championships should he capture the title this year. He is one of only five drivers to post three (3) victories in the 52-year history of Sebring with wins in 2004, 2003 and 2000. The other four are Phil Hill, Mario Andretti, Hans Stuck and Olivier Gendebien.

Biela, a three-time Le Mans winner, has a strong team with which to accomplish that feat. He teams with Emanuele Pirro (Rome, Italy) and Allan McNish (Dumfries, Scotland) in Champion Racing's Audi R8 No.2, but they will have to hold off reigning American Le Mans Series titleholder Champion Racing's Audi R8 No.1 with JJ Lehto (Espoo, Finland), Marco Werner (Kreuzlingen, Switzerland) and Tom Kristensen (Hobro, Denmark). Kristensen has won Sebring twice as well as the 2002 ALMS driving title. Werner won in his first ALMS start in 2003, and Lehto won in 1999, the first race in the history of the American Le Mans Series.

Will the GT1 Class Be the Class to Watch?

Last year Ron Fellows (Mississauga, Ontario) and Johnny O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) ran away with the class in their C5-R, winning not only Sebring but five of nine races. O'Connell holds the Sebring record with six class victories. This year, however, Fellows and O'Connell are in a brand new, untested race car (http://www.whowon.com/Results.asp?TrackID=484&StoryID=144541#), the Corvette C6-R. Their '04 nemesis, the Saleen of Jeff Giagrande's ACEMCO Motorsports, has turned up the heat, running on Michelin tires for the first time. Veteran drivers Terry Borcheller (Gainesville, Ga.), Johnny Mowlem (London, England) and Ralf Kelleners (Dusseldorf, Germany) will be the first to extol the virtues of the newly invigorated Saleen.

But the biggest story of this class comes with the entry and emergence of two powerful and storied teams from Europe - Aston Martin Racing and Maserati Corse. Aston Martin, which has never run in the American Le Mans Series, brings not one, but two, powerful teams to Sebring under the direction of Prodrive Technical Manager George Howard-Chappell. The No. 57 Aston Martin DBR9 car will be piloted by David Brabham (Henley-on-Thames, UK), Darren Turner (Banbury, UK) and Stephane Ortelli (Monaco), while the No. 58 entry has Peter Kox (Eindhoven, Netherlands), Pedro Lamy (Lisbon, Portugal) and Stephane Sarrazin (Barjac, France) at the helm.

Maserati Corse is returning to factory racing after a 48-year American absence when Juan Manuel Fangio and Jean Behra won the 12-hour race in 1957 with a 450S. While Maserati has yet to announce its full team, the factory has indicated that veterans Andrea Bertolini (Italy), Fabio Babini (Italy) and Fabrizio De Simone (Rome, Italy) will pilot the primary race car under the watchful eye of IMSA. While the Maserati is fully homologated, it is not homologated by the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest), so IMSA has worked with the FIA and GT1 class competitors to create adjustment criteria allowing the Maserati to compete, although not for series points recognition. Nevertheless, Maserati is expected to be a formidable force and contender on the track at Sebring. Rest assured that Corvette, Viper, Saleen and Aston Martin will all be watching closely.

And Let's Not Forget the Emerging GT2 Class!

Ever so quietly, the news and noise coming out of the GT2 class has been becoming louder and louder. Last year, it was the emergence of the out-of-nowhere Flying Lizard privateer Porsche 911 GT3 RSR team. This year, the Lizards enter two solid teams to challenge class and Sebring champion Alex Job Racing. Lonnie Pechnik (Pacific Grove, Calif.), Seth Neiman (Burlingame, Calif.) and David Murry (Atlanta, Ga.) will pilot Flying Lizard No. 44 while teammates Johannes van Overbeek (San Francisco, Calif.), John Fogarty (Petaluma, Calif.) and Darren Law (Phoenix, Ariz.) will drive No. 45. The Flying Lizards placed second overall in the run for the ALMS GT2 championship last year, so Job could not rest this off-season.

While Job has put together a stalwart team of his own, it is the re-emergence of Belle Microproducts as one of Job's primary sponsors that has much of the class talking. Belle was intricately involved with IMSA during its Can-Am days, and its return to racing has not gone unnoticed even before the running of the first race. Job's talent driver pool includes defending GT champion Timo Bernhard (Dittweiler, Germany) and Romain Dumas (Ales, France) at the helm with third driver Sascha Maassen (Raeren, Belgium) providing endurance support in the No. 23. Maassen is the all-time ALMS career wins leader (22) and has four class wins at Sebring. Randy Pobst (Atlanta, Ga.), Ian Baas (Nobelsville, Ind.), and Brian Cunningham (Danville, Ky.) will drive AJR No. 24.

Yet another team to be heard from will be the Petersen/White Lightning group also in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. In addition to Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.), Jorg Bergmeister (Lanenfeld, Germany) and Lucas Luhr (Koblenz, Germany) at the helm, young factory hot shoe Patrick Long (West Lake Village, Calif.) has been signed for the season. Long, now 23, began his racing career at age 8 and is considered one of the world's up-and-coming drivers to watch.

The depth of this class keeps going deeper and deeper, however as one can't rule out serious runs from either Panoz' new two-car effort in the Panoz Esperante eGTLM with Bill Auberlen (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Robin Liddell (Edinburgh, Scotland) behind the wheel of its primary car or the BAM! Porsche with Tony Burgess (Toronto, Canada), Leo Hindery (New York City, N.Y.) and Martin Jensen (Smoerum, Denmark).

Florida on My Mind

Three of the four reigning Sebring and overall ALMS champions hail from Florida, giving Sebring some homegrown marquis to watch.

LMP1 features Champion Racing out of Pompano Beach. Champion's No. 1 team placed second overall and in class last year at Sebring and then went on to win the overall championship.

LMP2 front runner Miracle Motorsports is headquartered in Winter Haven. It features drivers John Macaluso (Winter Haven, Fla.), Chris McMurry (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Jeff Bucknum (Lake Havasu City, Ariz.), and will be running on Kuhmo tires, a Korean tire manufacturer new to the ALMS this season. Early results have been more than promising.

GT2 champion Alex Job Racing is located in Orlando. In addition to Sebring, AJR won a total of seven races last year, including the last six of the season to capture the seasonal crown.