The American Le Mans Series embarks on a journey into the past: On the legendary Road America, one of the oldest race tracks in the USA, round seven of the race series featuring the world’s fastest sports cars takes off on 18 August. Four Porsche customer teams face strong opposition on the legendary circuit close to Elkhart Lake in the US state of Wisconsin. In the fiercely-contested GT class, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) have their second win of the season firmly in sight with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports.
The four hour race on the legendary Road America track has been a regular fixture on the American Le Mans Series calendar since 2002.
Road America is one of America’s oldest race tracks and is regarded as the cradle of sports car racing in the USA. Since its foundation in 1955, the circuit layout has not changed much. The 6.514 kilometre track with its long finish straight and 14 corners lies near Elkhart Lake, two hours’ drive north of Chicago.
The Porsche drivers
Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long contest the race with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Flying Lizard Motorsports. In the traditionally well-supported GT class, the three-time Road America winners come up against renowned opponents like BMW, Chevrolet and Ferrari. Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler (Germany) shares driving duties with Bryan Sellers (USA) in the Falken Tire Porsche. Competing at the wheel of the second Flying-Lizard Porsche is Porsche works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and the American team owner Seth Neiman. Piloting the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Paul Miller Racing are Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Bryce Miller (USA).
The most successful GT race car of the last years in the American Le Mans Series is the top model of Porsche Motorsport’s customer racing vehicles. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which won the environmental “Michelin Green X Challenge” in 2010 as the GT vehicle with the best overall efficiency, headed into the new season with extensive modifications. Since the race in Laguna Seca, the car has received a new front splitter and is fitted with an adapted rear wing.
At races of the American Le Mans Series at Road America, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer with seven wins. Five victories in the GT/GT2 class went to Joerg Bergmeister, who triumphed with Timo Bernhard in 2002 and 2004, as well as with Patrick Long in 2005, 2006 and 2009. In 2007, Timo Bernhard und Romain Dumas snatched overall honours at the wheel of the Porsche RS Spyder.
The race in Elkhart Lake starts on Saturday, 18 August, at 14.30 hrs local time (21.30 hrs CEST) and runs over four hours. It is broadcast live on the internet under www.americanlemans.com. On Friday from 22.55 hrs CEST, the GT qualifying can be seen on www.porsche.com/alms-live.
Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “The level of competition in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series is incredible. In the last races only tenths of seconds decided the race outcome and I’m assuming it won’t be any different at Road America. In Mid-Ohio our teams recently put in a great effort. In close consultation with the tyre manufacturers they managed to find even better set-ups for their cars. This will also undoubtedly have a positive effect on the performance and competitiveness at Road America.”
Joerg Bergmeister: “Road America is my all time favourite track in the USA. A classic race track that offers everything a race driver could hope for – it’s very fast, very hilly and very demanding. It’s a challenge that I look forward to the whole year - and not only because I’ve celebrated many victories here over the past years.”
Patrick Long: “The race runs over four hours and that’s longer than most of the American Le Mans Series races. This puts more emphasis on the pit stops. Only those who don’t lose too much time in the pits can run amongst the front-runners. Luckily, our Flying Lizard boys do the quickest pit stops of them all, so we will be making the most of this here.”
Wolf Henzler: “As far as top speed is concerned, this here is the fastest race track that we have on the American Le Mans Series calendar. Thanks to the long straights there are some good opportunities to overtake because you can slipstream. The track is demanding and great fun to drive here. And that’s why I’m so pleased that the race is four hours long and I get two stints behind the wheel.”
Marco Holzer: “Last year was my first taste of the Road America track. My colleagues had raved about how great this circuit is - and they weren’t exaggerating. I’m very much looking forward to the race.”