The Last American Le Mans Race

[Photo by Jack Webster]

Well, Petit Le Mans was held at Road Atlanta on October 19. It marked the very last race under the American Le Mans banner and ALMS now gives way to the new Tudor Sports Car Championship next season.

Rebellion Racing, with their Lola Coupe, won the race overall and will be remembered for not only winning the last American Le Mans race, but for winning Petit Le Mans two years in a row. The 2013 driving crew of Neel Jani, Nick Heidfield and Nicholas Prost won the race easily, after the Muscle Milk Honda of Klas Graf, Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas faltered early with overheating problems.

Wet and dry conditions marked the first part of the race, with teams changing tires on a very regular basis to try and stay ahead of the ever changing track conditions. By late in the afternoon, things dried out for good and the many fans who lined the fences at Road Atlanta were able to finally dry out.

PhotoELF Edits:2013:10:19 — Batch Resized
PhotoELF Edits:2013:10:24 — Batch Resized
PhotoELF Edits:2013:10:24 — Batch Resized
PhotoELF Edits:2013:10:24 — Batch Resized
PhotoELF Edits:2013:10:24 — Batch Resized
PhotoELF Edits:2013:10:24 — Batch Resized
[Photos by Jack Webster]

The P2 class was won by Scott Tucker, Marino Franchitti and Ryan Bricose in their HPD ARX-03b which gave the P2 driver’s championship to Tucker – his fourth ALMS driver’s championship.

In LMPC, the ORECA FLM09 of Chris Cumming, Kyle Marcelli and Stefan Johansson both won the class and secured the series driver’s championship for Cumming.

In GT, it was a close battle as usual thoughout the entire race, but the Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 GT3 RSR came in first. The manufacturer’s championship had already been decided prior to Petit Le Mans in Corvette’s favor and by finishing 5th at Road Atlanta, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen secured the driver’s championship for Corvette as well.

In GTC, the Flying Lizard Porsche of Nelson Canache, Spencer Pumpelly and Maidson Snow came out on top, followed by the Dempsey Racing entry driven by Andy Lally, Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster. Enough cannot be said about the stirring drive put in by Andy Lally in getting the Dempsey car into second place, matching the team’s best ALMS finish. The team championship was secured by Flying Lizard, but the driver’s championship went to Alex Job Racing’s Jeroen Bleekomolen and Cooper MacNeil.

So the record books close on the American Le Mans Series and next season a new chapter opens in sports car racing in the US. As each day goes by, more questions are answered about the direction the new series will take and teams and drivers are anxious to get started.

So we bid a fond farewell to the American Le Mans Series and the P1 prototype class. Over the years we have seen some of the world’s best cars and drivers in the series and now are looking forward to what the future brings with the new Tudor Sports Car Championship.

As it said on the front of the Deltawing (the brainchild of American Le Mans founder Dr. Don Panoz), “Au Revoir ALMS”.

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