Stuttgart. That was close: In the hotly-contested qualifying for the six-hour race in Laguna Seca/California, Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) missed a second row grid spot by just one-thousandth of a second. Piloting the Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which he shares with his works driver teammate Joerg Bergmeister for the eighth round of the American Le Mans Series on Saturday, Long set the fifth quickest time. Last year, the reigning GT champions won the classic in the dunes of Monterey.
“Our car’s balance is very good,” said Patrick Long. “Between the final practice and the qualifying we changed a couple of things on the car and that worked well. My quickest lap was perfect. We have an excellent set-up for the race.”
At the wheel of Falken Tire’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, the winning car at Mid-Ohio and Baltimore, Bryan Sellers (USA) posted the ninth quickest time. He contests the race with Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany). “We didn’t have an optimal set-up today, but we know that our car and the tyres will perform much better in the race than in the qualifying,” explained Bryan Sellers. Wolf Henzler added: “The circuit was very cold over the last days. Today we have sun and the asphalt temperatures were suddenly much higher. That changed everything. Our team still simply lacks the experience of reacting to such changes in a short timeframe.”
The innovative Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid 2.0, with which the Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) conduct further tests at Laguna Seca, did not take part in the qualifying. At its debut on the West Coast of the USA, the vehicle is not eligible for points and starts from the back of the grid. At the final free practice, however, it demonstrated its huge potential turning the third quickest lap of all GT vehicles.
“We’ve improved the car step by step,” said Romain Dumas. “It’s a shame that we weren’t permitted to join the qualifying, we could have done with the extra practice for finding a good set-up. I last drove the car at Road Atlanta. Compared to last year’s version, the 2.0 has made huge progress.” Richard Lietz commented: “Okay, we have to start from the back tomorrow, but that is not a decisive handicap over a six hour race. I’m looking forward to showing the fans in the States how much fun a hybrid car can be because it’s efficient and quick swift at the same time.”
The race starts on Saturday at 13.30 hrs local time (22.30 hrs CEST) and is broadcast live on http://www.americanlemans.com/live.
1. Joey Hand (USA), BMW M3 GT, 1:22.226 minutes
2. Oliver Gavin (GB), Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.898 seconds
3. Bill Auberlen (USA), BMW M3 GT, + 0.906
4. Guy Cosmo (USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 1.141
5. Patrick Long (USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.142
6. Johannes van Overbeek (USA), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 1.160
9. Bryan Sellers (USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.532
10. Sascha Maassen (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1.907
12. Seth Neiman (USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 5.603
1. Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1:27.850 minutes
Facts and Figures
This is the American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations correspond to those of the Le Mans 24 hour race.
GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers is traditionally extremely well supported: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,125 – 1,325 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 Cup).
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and an 825 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.
All classes start together but are classified separately. This ensures racing that is exciting and constantly changing with many overtaking manoeuvres. Points are awarded only for placings in each class.
SOURCE:Porsche AG Media Database