American Le Mans Series, round 6 in Mid-Ohio, USA
The winning streak of Porsche sports cars continues in the American Le Mans Series: At the sixth race of the season on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) celebrated their fifth GT2 class win in a row with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Flying Lizard Motorsports. With this successful start into the second half of the season, they further extend their points’ lead in the race series with the world’s fastest sports cars.
Gallery after the jump!
‘It just gets better and better. Neither Patrick nor I have ever won five races in succession,’ said Joerg Bergmeister after the win that was not made easy for them. ‘The Corvettes and BMWs were very strong – it was not a walk in the park. Moreover, I had two critical situations. At one point a competitor nudged my rear wheel, but luckily my tyre held out. And then the engine of a car in front of me exploded. Suddenly my windscreen was covered in oil. Again I was lucky.’
On the challenging circuit in the Mid-West of the US, Joerg Bergmeister took the lead from pole position and held on to it until coming in to pit. His teammate Patrick Long rejoined the race in third and needed only one lap to snatch back the lead position. Whilst his rivals later used a caution phase to make a pit stop, he remained out on the track and continued driving for a total of 1:20 hours without refuelling. The strategy of the Flying Lizard crew worked – albeit not without risk. At the flag, the winner had just two litres of fuel left in the tank.
‘In the final lap the fuel lamp suddenly came on, but I was sure that we’d made the right choice with our strategy,’ said Patrick Long. ‘The key to our success today was not coming in to refuel shortly before the end.’ Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long were already champions with Porsche in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series back in 2005. Prior to this weekend’s Mid-Ohio race, the pair had already claimed wins in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Salt Lake City and Lime Rock.
At the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR run by Farnbacher Loles Racing, Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Porsche junior driver Martin Ragginger (Austria) finished in sixth place.
It was with great anticipation that the comeback of the Porsche RS Spyder was expected in the American Le Mans Series. The successful sports prototype from Weissach, which won all championship titles in the LMP2 class from 2006 to 2008, was run by the US customer team Cytosport for the first time and they celebrated a perfect start: Klaus Graf (Germany) and Greg Pickett (USA) put in a strong drive to secure second place, just ten seconds behind the class winner.
‘That was one of my best races, we couldn’t have done much better than that,’ said Klaus Graf, who will also drive the RS Spyder in Elkhart Lake, at the Petit Le Mans as well as in Laguna Seca. ‘The car was sensational. Congratulations to the team, to Porsche and to Michelin. We exceeded all expectations and are absolutely thrilled.’
With the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Martin and Melanie Snow (USA) claimed their second win of the season in the ALMS Challenge, a new category behind the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series. With this, the duo further extended their lead in this category.
Round 7 of the American Le Mans Series takes place on 16 August on the Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake in the US State of Wisconsin.
Statistics: 6th of 10 races of the American Le Mans Series in Mid-Ohio, OH
Result GT2 class
1. Bergmeister/Long (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 108 laps 2. Magnussen/O’Connell (DK/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 108 3. Müller/Milner (D/USA), BMW E92 M3, 107 4. Berretta/Gavin (MC/GB), Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 107 5. Melo/Kaffer (BRA/D), Ferrari F430 GT, 107 6. Henzler/Ragginer (D/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 107
Points’ standings GT2 class
1. Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Porsche, 120 points 2. Jamie Melo, Pierre Kaffer, Ferrari, 83 3. Dominik Farnbacher, Ian James, Panoz, 62 4. Wolf Henzler, Porsche, 50 5. Dirk Müller, Tommy Milner, BMW, 47 6. Seth Neiman, Porsche, 46
1. Porsche 120 points 2. Ferrari 83 3. Panoz 62 4. BMW 59
1. Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche, 120 points 2. Risi Competizione, Ferrari, 83 3. Panoz Team PTG, Panoz, 62