American Le Mans Series, round 6 in Mid-Ohio, USA
On Saturday, the American Le Mans Series enters the second half of season with the race on time-honoured Mid-Ohio race track. Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) line up on the grid as the clear favourites in the GT2 class. At the wheel of a Flying Lizard Motorsports 911 GT3 RSR, the pair is keen to further extend their comfortable lead in the championship with the fifth straight victory.
After four wins on the street circuit of St. Petersburg and Long Beach as well as in Salt Lake City and Lime Rock, Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long are well on their way to claiming their second championship title together after winning in 2005. For Joerg Bergmeister this could mean his fourth title: In 2006 he became champion with Johannes van Overbeek (USA), and in 2008 with his factory pilot teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany). ‘Four wins from five races is a fantastic balance,’ he says, ‘but nothing is set in concrete. Our points’ advantage is not yet big enough to now ease off the throttle.’ Nevertheless, thanks to their comfortable lead, the two certainly don’t have to win races at any cost. Patrick Long says: ‘Of course it would be great to win as many races as possible, but in the end it’s the championship title that counts.’
The chances for the points’ leaders to notch up their fifth win of the season look good. In 2007, Joerg Bergmeister won on the demanding 3.621 kilometre circuit in the Mid-West. One year earlier a clutch problem cost him another possible victory. The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a race track with its very own character: ‘It’s very diverse,’ says the Porsche works driver, whose resume also includes two second places in Mid-Ohio (2004 and 2005). ‘There are fast straights and many corners, not to mention the constant roller coaster ride. For a driver it’s certainly not boring. You are always challenged.’
In the cockpit of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Farnbacher Loles Racing, Wolf Henzler is hoping for his first win of the series. In Mid-Ohio, Henzler shares driving duties with Porsche-Junior Martin Ragginger (Austria). The best result this season for the Porsche factory pilot is second place in Salt Lake City. As the best placed team in the GT2 class, Flying Lizard Motorsport runs the second 911 GT3 RSR with pilots Darren Law (USA) and Seth Neiman (USA). Vici Racing also intends racing one of the successful sports cars from Weissach.
Five Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers again contest the ALMS Challenge – a newly created category under the GT2 class in this season’s American Le Mans Series. After two races, Martin and Melanie Snow (USA) lead the classification.
The race starts on Saturday, 8th August, at 15.00 hrs local time (21.00 hrs CEST) and runs over 2:45 hours.