Farnbacher Loles Racing and Team Falken Tire are on the entry list with their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR’s but missing is VICI Racing.
American Le Mans Series, round 9 in Road Atlanta, USA
On the time-honoured race track of Road Atlanta, where the success story of the American Le Mans Series began back in 1999, the 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans race takes off this coming Saturday. The penultimate round of the season on this extremely demanding circuit in the US state of Georgia is regarded, after the Sebring 12 hour event in Florida, as the second long-distance classic in this attractive race series featuring the world’s fastest sports cars.
With the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports, Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) are determined to tackle this hurdle on the way to successfully defending the title. The Porsche factory pilots have celebrated five wins so far this season against strong competition from Ferrari, BMW and the Corvettes from Chevrolet, and have built up a comfortable points’ advantage in the particularly fierce battle for GT2 class honours. At the Petit Le Mans event of the last years, Joerg Bergmeister has set new standards: With Porsche, the German claimed five straight wins from 2003 to 2007. Last year he saw the flag in second.
‘This is a race that simply suits me,‘ says the reigning ALMS champion. ‘I like the very beautiful but extremely difficult track, which demands everything from you. And because of the long distance and many pit stops, strategy and teamwork play a decisive role. All these factors make Petit Le Mans a unique challenge.‘
Aside from the title favourites, who receive support from Porsche works driver Marc Lieb (Germany) for the second longest race of the year, Americans Darren Law, Seth Neiman and Johannes van Overbeek will compete in another 911 GT3 RSR from Flying Lizard Motorsports. The Farnbacher Loles Racing squad fields a 911 GT3 RSR with Wolf Henzler and Dirk Werner (both Germany). After their strong performance recently in Mosport, Porsche works driver Henzler is optimistic heading to Road Atlanta: ‘Petit Le Mans is a highlight of the year, a very thrilling race. It would be fantastic if we could continue to improve at this classic and perhaps even manage a win.‘
Klaus Graf (Germany) and Greg Pickett (USA) contest the LMP2 class with the Porsche RS Spyder of the US customer team Cytosport. Against strong opposition from Acura and Lola-Mazda, they hope to continue the successful comeback of the sports prototype from Weissach. In the two races contested to date, the Porsche duo have raised the bar for themselves. In Mid-Ohio, Graf and Pickett claimed second, in Elkhart Lake third. ‘So now we really need to win,‘ grinned Graf, whose confidence has also been boosted with the addition of Porsche works driver Sascha Maassen (Germany) as back-up for the team in Road Atlanta. ‘We have good chances with Sascha. He knows the RS Spyder inside out. That’s a bonus.‘
Petit Le Mans on the Road Atlanta race track starts on Saturday, 26 September, at 11.15 hours local time (17.15 hours CEST) and runs over 1,000 miles or ten hours.