Stuttgart. Porsche has taken off into the second half of the American Le Mans Series season with a double victory. In Lime Rock, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) snatched back the GT class points’ lead with their third win of the season in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. And at the wheel of the Porsche RS Spyder, Klaus Graf (Germany) and Greg Pickett (USA) claimed their first overall win in the race series featuring the fastest sportscars in the world.
The race on the short 2.480 kilometre circuit set amongst forests and meadows in the US state of Connecticut ran over 2:45 hours – but in the end only seconds lay between victory and defeat. With the 911 GT3 RSR of Flying Lizard Motorsports, Patrick Long crossed the finish line just 1.495 seconds ahead of the fastest BMW. After a thrilling finale, Klaus Graf brought home the greatest success in the American Le Mans Series of his Muscle Milk Team Cytosport in the RS Spyder with a 29.573-second advantage. Moreover, the RS Spyder won the Michelin Green X Challenge environmental award as the most efficient vehicle in the field.
Already during the very wet qualifying, Patrick Long made the most of the grip advantage of his 911 GT3 RSR’s rear-engine configuration to achieve the first GT pole position since the season-opener in Sebring. With a convincing performance and the right team strategy, he and Joerg Bergmeister held off the strong opposition from BMW, Ferrari and Chevrolet. In high summer temperatures, fans, who traditionally make themselves comfortable on the grassy hills around the track, witnessed fierce fights for positions in the excellently-supported GT class and many changes in the lead. In the final lap, as Patrick Long defended his narrow lead from his pursuers’ vehement attacks, hardly an on-looker was left sitting in his camping stool.
“After our hard-earned victory in Laguna Seca I thought things couldn’t get much closer, but I was wrong,” said Patrick Long. “We had to give 100 percent until the last lap to beat the BMWs. And the Ferrari wasn’t far behind either. Our pit strategy helped put us ahead. Then it was up to Joerg and me to make the most out of the situation and bring the car home safe and sound. Our Michelin tyres worked perfectly both in the wet qualifying and the dry race.”
For the title defenders this success marks the third win of the season after Long Beach and Laguna Seca. Joerg Bergmeister set a new record: “If someone asked me how you go about winning in Lime Rock five times straight I’d say just one word: patience,” he said. “On the short track there are so many cars competing in different classes that you have to wait for the right moment to overtake or make room for faster competitors. The BMWs were faster than us on the straights, but the straights are very short and we had the better grip. Thanks to our extra pit stop in the earlier caution phase we had a little more fuel at the end. This stop didn’t cost us any positions. The way Patrick fought off Bill Auberlen in the last lap – that was brilliant.”
The victory for Klaus Graf and Greg Pickett, who held off the LMP sports prototype points’ leader Honda despite a stop-and-go penalty in the final phase, was the first for the privately-run team with the Porsche RS Spyder in the American Le Mans Series. With this, the Muscle Milk Team Cytosport squad continues its success streak this season, which began with a clear class win at the Sebring 12 Hours, followed by podium results at all subsequent races. “During the first 45 minutes of the race, Greg kept up with the leaders and that was great,” said Klaus Graf. “For me it was clear that I had to keep our rivals under constant pressure during my two-hour stint. Our team’s pit stops were fantastic. The key to our success was most certainly the support from Porsche and Michelin.”
After posting second in qualifying at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Falken Tire, Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA) secured eighth in the GT class. In the second 911 GT3 RSR run by Flying Lizard Motorsports, Americans Darren Law and Seth Neiman saw the flag in seventh.
Round 6 of the American Le Mans Series takes place on 7 August in Lexington in the US State of Ohio.
Source: © 2010 Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AGEmail This Post