Sunday, April 17, 2011

ALMS at Long Beach 2011 - 12 cyl. power gives new meaning to muscle at "Muscle Milk"

Muscle Milk collected its first American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón win under the Aston Martin Racing banner Saturday as Lucas Luhr made an opening-lap pass on Dyson Racing’s Chris Dyson. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

Tequila Patron ALMS At Long Beach - Rounnd 2
12 cylinder power gives a new meaning to the muscle at "Muscle Milk"

In qualifications, the lead for the start of the race changed eight times between the two fastest cars in the American Le Mans Series 2011 season and the only two cars in the LMP1 classification.

At race start the race was ended with a first lap pass by the Muscle Milk Aston Martin driven by Lucas Luhr on the series points leading Dyson Racing Mazda/Lola driven by Chris Dyson. After a long caution period which started soon (lap #3) after the turn #6 pass for the lead, the lead never change as the Muscle of the 12 cylinder engine of the Aston Martin pulled ahead by nearly a lap before a race ending crash with about eight minutes left had the race end on a Yellow Flag while the field took the Checkered Flag in parade behind a safety car.

Behind the two LMP1 class cars the story was very different, in that, the GT class was in a pitched battle in the first 31 laps as the Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW's, the Corvette, and Patrick Long in the Flying Lizard factory Porsche duked it out while being as hooked-up as a train.

“My eyes were popping out of my head but that’s how street racing is,” said Joey Hand, driver of the RLL BMW M3 GT at the post race. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)

Full Audio Of Post Race Press Conference

(moderated by Bob Dickinson - ALMS Vice President Public Relations/Media Services - Running Time: 34min. 52sec.)

This excerpted and edited The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón -

Opening lap pass gives Luhr/Graf win while BMW makes it two in a row in GT

Shortly after Luhr’s pass for the lead, attention turned to a furious GT battle led by Joey Hand in the BMW Team RLL BMW M3 GT. While leading the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Patrick Long and the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Hand was caught out by teammate Bill Auberlen, who spun in Turn 2 just before the 30-minute mark and blocked the course as the GT leaders came back around. Gavin seized the moment, promoting his Corvette into the lead on lap 44.

“My eyes were popping out of my head but that’s how street racing is,” Hand said. “The incident with Bill was interesting. I went to the right and he went to the right. It wasn’t his fault because he couldn’t see me.”

GTC traffic came into play next when Long attempted to use one of the slower cars for a pick on Gavin in an attempt to take the lead 10 minutes later at Turn 7. Hand, who had fallen to third, anticipated the move and passed both Gavin and Long to move back into the GT lead. Long used the Porsche’s power to get back around Hand coming out of the final turn but that lead was short-lived. On lap 31 and after dispatching the Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia of Scott Sharp - which had just completed its first pit stop - Long made contact with the Turn 9 wall, damaging the suspension and sending the car to pit lane and an eventual retirement. Hand retook the lead, and a flawless pit stop for the BMW Team RLL ensured Dirk Mueller was in position to take the team’s second consecutive win.
The full-course caution came out with less than eight minutes remaining in the race after two GTC Porsches made contact on the backstretch, leaving a car stranded at Turn Nine and a trail of fluid on the course.

The No. 4 Corvette finished second in the hands Magnussen, who set a new GT race lap record of 1:20.552 . Third place went to the hard-charging Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia driven by Toni Vilander and Jaime Melo. The team was forced to start the car from the back of the grid after an accident in qualifying prevented Melo from entering a flying lap.

“If you don’t like ALMS GT racing, you don’t like racing,” Hand said of the thrilling GT race. “If I was a spectator, I’d love to see what is going on out there. At one point I was in third and Long was going to the inside of Gavin into a turn and I was thinking, ‘This isn’t going to work out for them.’ I race to put on a show for people watching at home, and I think that’s what we all did.”
In LMPC, polesitter CORE autosport faced off against Intersport Racing. The pivotal moment came on lap 56 when Gunnar Jeannette’s ORECA FLM09 passed Kyle Marcelli for the lead in Turn 1. It was the first win for the new LMPC team and defending Cooper Tires Prototype Lites championship team but the second in a row at Long Beach for Jeannette. Finishing third overall with Ricardo Gonzalez, Jeannette also set a new LMPC race lap record at Long Beach, a 1:18.620.

“I’m so happy to be up here for CORE autosport’s first win,” Jeannette said. “Ricardo did a fantastic job today and put in a monster first stint. We decided to take tires under green, and props to our guys for being able to do a four-tire change under green and get us out behind the Intersport car. I could catch him pretty easily and made the move. It’s never easy to win here at Long Beach and any street course in the ALMS. To have two wins here in a row, I have to pinch myself.”
Completing the LMPC podium with Intersport’s Marcelli and Tomy Drissi were Eric Lux and Elton Julian in the Genoa Racing ORECA FLM09.

Black Swan Racing, which had a rough debut at Long Beach last year, navigated the treacherous streets like veterans this year for its second straight GTC win of the season with Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen behind the wheel of their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry.
Level 5 Motorsports the LMP2 winner, though the team elected to park the Lola-Honda coupe piloted by Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut after 45 laps.

“We’re running Le Mans and going to the Test Day next Sunday,” team owner Tucker explained. “One of our goals here was bringing the coupe, which is leaving in two hours. We decided this was the best thing to do in the overall picture.”
MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge honors went to LMP1 winner Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing and GT winner BMW Team RLL.

The Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will be broadcast on ESPN2 from 5 to 7 p.m. ET on Sunday. Following the ESPN2 broadcast, the race will be available on demand at both and

The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón will take its traditional break for those teams preparing to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and return for Round 3, the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, on July 9. The race will be shown live and in its entirety on in the United States and internationally on starting at 1:05 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will provide television coverage from 1 to 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 10.

Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach
Long Beach street circuit, Long Beach, Calif.
Saturday’s results
1. (2) Lucas Luhr, Monte Carlo; Klaus Graf, Dornham; AMR/ Lola Coupe B08 62 (1, LMP1), 83.
2. (1) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, Bracken, Yorkshire; Lola B09 86/Mazda (2, LMP1), 83.
3. (3) Ricardo Gonzalez, Monterrey; Gunnar Jeannette, Salt Lake City, UT; Oreca FLM09 (1, LMPC), 81.
4. (4) Tomy Drissi, Los Angeles, CA; Kyle Marcelli, Barrie, ON; Oreca FLM09 (2, LMPC), 81.
5. (7) Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; Dirk Mueller, Monte Carlo; BMW M3 GT (1, GT), 81.
6. (8) Oliver Gavin, Yardley Hastings; Jan Magnussen, Roskilde; Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (2, GT), 81.
7. (28) Toni Vilander, Kankaanpaa; Jaime Melo, Milan; Ferrari F458 Italia (3, GT), 81.
8. (11) Wolf Henzler, Nuertingen; Bryan Sellers, Braselton, GA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (4, GT), 80.
9. (6) Eric Lux, Jacksonville, FL; Elton Julian, Santa Monica, CA; Oreca FLM09 (3, LMPC), 80.
10. (15) Tommy Milner, Leesburg, VA; Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo; Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (5, GT), 80.
11. (17) Jon Bennett, Fort Mill, SC; Frankie Montecalvo, Highlands, NJ; Oreca FLM09 (4, LMPC), 79.
12. (16) Bruno Junqueira, Brazil; Cristiano da Matta, Belo, Horizonte; Jaguar XKR (6, GT), 79.
13. (9) Bill Auberlen, Redondo Beach, CA; Dirk Werner, Kissenbrück; BMW M3 GT (7, GT), 79.
14. (26) Seth Neiman, San Francisco, CA; Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (8, GT), 78.
15. (19) Tim Pappas, Boston, MA; Jeroen Bleekemolen, Monte Carlo, ; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (1, GTC), 77.
16. (13) Ed Brown, Las Vegas, NV; Guy Cosmo, West Palm Beach, FL; Ferrari F458 Italia (9, GT), 77.
17. (20) Bill Sweedler, Westport, CT; Leh Keen, Dublin, GA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (2, GTC), 77.
18. (5) Miles Maroney, Topanga, CA; Alex Figge, Denver, CO; Oreca FLM09 (5, LMPC), 77.
19. (23) John Potter, Salt Lake City, UT; Craig Stanton, Long Beach, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (3, GTC), 76.
20. (21) Dominik Schwager, Eisenhofen; Nicky Pastorelli, Rijswijk; Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 (10, GT), 75.
21. (27) Scott Blackett, Avon, CO; Nick Ham, Evergreen, CO; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (4, GTC), 71.
22. (12) Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Ferrari F458 Italia (11, GT), 70.
23. (25) Brendan Gaughan, Las Vegas, NV; Dion von Moltke, Coral Gables, FL; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (5, GTC), 70.
24. (14) Sascha Maassen, Lontzen; Bryce Miller, Summit, NJ; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (12, GT), 68.
25. (29) Scott Tucker, Leawood, KS; Christophe Bouchut, Paris; Lola Honda (13, LMP2), 45.
26. (22) Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, CA; Spencer Pumpelly, Mason Neck, VA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (6, GTC), 36.
27. (10) Patrick Long, Bellaire, FL; Joerg Bergmeister, Langenfield; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (14, GT), 31.
28. (18) Paul Gentilozzi, Grand Ledge, MI; PJ Jones, Torrance, CA; Jaguar XKR (15, GT), 2.
29. (24) Bret Curtis, Valencia, CA; James Sofronas, Newport Beach, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (7, GTC), 2.
30. (30) Luis Diaz, Mexico City; Scott Tucker, Leawood, KS; Lola Honda (8, LMP2), 0.

Another great race for the books and history that is the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach event. Two open-wheel races (IZOD IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights) and two full-bodied multiple class races (Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series and Pirelli World Challenge Championships) make for a very memorable modern era rite of spring here in Long Beach during its 37th year of hosting this motor culture event icon.

... notes from The EDJE

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