Australia. The Penske Porsche RS Spyders finished the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in style at Laguna Seca last weekend, scoring their 11th LMP2 class win in the 12-race championship.
In addition to dominating the LMP2 class throughout the season, the Penske Porsche RS Spyders also scored eight outright wins in the world’s fastest sports car series, regularly beating the more powerful and highly fancied LMP1 class Audi R10 diesel racers which won the Le Mans 24 Hour.
Ryan Briscoe also enjoyed tremendous success in his debut season, scoring two outright and three LMP2 class wins with team mate Sascha Maassen.
The Australian rookie was also the fastest driver in 2007, registering more fastest race laps than any other driver.
“It’s been an incredible year,” said Briscoe, who finished second in the LMP2 class and fourth outright at the season finale in California.
“Porsche and Penske won all the championships on offer this season – for chassis, engine, teams and drivers – so to be a part of that in my first year is something very special,” said the 26-year-old.
“Personally, it’s been great to have a full-time drive as a ‘works’ Porsche driver with the Penske team and had (team mate) Sascha and I had a bit more luck with our #6 RS Spyder then we could have, and should have, won more races.
“I’d say we definitely had the fastest car this year in many of the races but were unable to turn that potential into wins, but that’s just the way motor racing goes.”
Briscoe and Maassen, who started from P1 in the season-ending race, flew home to take fourth place and second in class after a bad tyre choice dropped the #6 car down the field in the middle stages of the race.
“When we changed to the softer rubber the car was just flying,” said Briscoe. “I made up a bunch of places on the track with our speed and the racing up front between the Porsches and Audis was super fast and clean. That’s the sort of racing I enjoy. It was great fun out there today.”
Less than half of one second separated the race-winning LMP1 Audi and LMP2 Porsche after four hours of racing in a season that will be remembered as one where Briscoe – the new kid on the block – shone brilliantly, and the yellow and red Penske Porsche RS Spyders swept up all before them.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about what, and where, I will drive next year,” said Briscoe. “But the truth of the matter is nothing is finalised. If I were to stay with Porsche and Penske and run the RS Spyder in next year’s ALMS I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed!”
Overall results, Round 12 ALMS, Laguna Seca, USA1.
1. Allan McNish, Scotland; Rinaldo Capello, Italy; Audi AG/R10/TDI (LMP1), 157 laps.
2. Timo Bernhard, Germany; Romain Dumas, France; Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 157.
3. Mike Rockenfeller, Germany; Marco Werner, Germany; Audi AG/R10/TDI (LMP1), 157.
4. Sascha Maassen, Germany; Ryan Briscoe, Australia; Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 157.
5. Luis Diaz, Mexico; Adrian Fernandez, Mexico; Lola/B06-43/Acura (LMP2), 157.
6. Bryan Herta, Valencia, CA; Tony Kanaan, Brazil; Acura/ARX-01a (LMP2), 157.
7. Guy Smith, England; Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 156.
8. Andy Wallace, England; Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 156.
9. Harold Primat, Switzerland; Jamie Campbell-Walter, England; Creation CA 07/Judd (LMP1), 153.
10.Tom Chilton, Horely, UK; Darren Manning, England; Zytek Z07S/Zytek (LMP1), 153.