News From The American Le Mans Series - Lime Rock Park 2013
BMW T H E Z4 ATTACK
IS ALREADY A WINNER Introducing a new car to a major race series, especially one as closely competitive as the American Le Mans Series GT class, is not the work of a moment. The design, engineering, construction and pre-season testing devour thousands of man-hours and success is typically fleeting until after a full season of testing, refinements and real world racing. It simply takes time and miles to identify the areas for improvement required to deliver the speed, consistency and reliability required to win against competitors with tens of thousands of miles of development in their current race cars. That certainly was the view when the new BMW Z4 GTE hit the track for the first time on February 12th, barely four weeks before the 2013 ALMS season opener, the Twelve Hours of Sebring. Back then, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said, “all of us at BMW and BMW Team RLL are very curious to see how the first few races pan out with the new BMW Z4 GTE.” A ‘wait and see’ approach made sense considering that the cars were just being completed and testing was limited.
In addition, a switch to Michelin meant gaining experience with the new tires and establishing new baseline set-ups. Perhaps the rest of Jens Marquardt’s comment should have gained more attention.
“We are setting out on a development year, but we are very confident we have once again developed a car that has the potential to win races and titles in the form of the new BMW Z4 GTE.” The results of the first three races suggest that the folks at BMW and BMW Team RLL didn’t subscribe to the ‘write-off a year for development’ theory. Consider: • A BMW 1-2 finish at just the second race of the season, the Long Beach Grand Prix, won by Bill Auberlen (pictured above) and Maxime Martin with Dirk Müller and Joey Hand taking second. • Dirk Müller currently leads the ALMS GT driver championship
over defending champions Corvette‘s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. • BMW Team RLL trails Corvette Racing by just 4 points in the GT Team championship. • BMW trails Chevrolet by just seven points in the GT Manufacturer championship. In hindsight, there were plenty of reasons why BMW’s confidence was not misplaced. BMW and BMW Team RLL had won the 2010 ALMS GT Manufacturer and Team championships while Joey Hand and Dirk Müller added the GT driver title in 2011. While the BMW Z4 GTEs are new, the level of preparation, drivers and race strategies remains high. Following the team’s 1-2 finish at Long Beach, BMW Team RLL leader Bobby Rahal said, “We were able to run more than one stint on the MICHELINs and that was crucial to making our strategies work.” Taking his first Long Beach victory, driver Bill Auberlen said, “the MICHELIN tires were an absolute pleasure to drive on all day.” And with that came the realization that the 2013 ALMS Championship battle with the defending champions and 2013 Sebring winning Corvette Racing team was fully joined.
The high speed dance of the scorpions featuring the 2011 ALMS P1 champions from Dyson Racing and the 2012 champions from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing resumes here at Lime Rock Park. With two ultra-competitive and highly successful teams both accustomed to success, advantages are difficult to gain and often shortlived. As a result, races often become sparring matches as drivers, pit crews, engineers and strategists match speed, counter-moves and wits as the race unfolds. Both teams have tasted success in the Northeast Grand Prix at the 1.5mile 7-turn Lime Rock Park circuit. The home race advantage brings much support for the Poughkeepsie, NY-based Dyson Racing team that is celebrating their 30th year in professional racing. Many of the teamâ€™s milestones have occurred at Lime Rock including tasting victory here in 2011. The team will celebrate its 30 years of racing with a Fan Forum/Roast for Rob Dyson on Friday evening. But Lime Rock Park has also been good to the Benicia, Californiabased Muscle Milk squad. The team scored its first ever ALMS overall race victory
here in 2010 and rolled off another victory in 2012. Yet, despite the close competition on the track, the rivalry between the two teams is friendly and respectful as befits the style of the two founding generals, Rob Dyson and Greg Pickett, both successful businessman and sportsmen with lengthy records of success in motorsports. The opening rounds of the 2013 ALMS season have not been so kind to the Dyson squad as the team has struggled with a frustrating series of mechanical gremlins. The recent seven-week schedule break for the 24 Hours of Le Mans may have been just what the doctor ordered for the team to sort issues and prepare for a track that team
leader Chris Dyson has been visiting since he was old enough to wear ear plugs. The Muscle Milk Pickett Honda team and drivers Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf arrive at Lime Rock Park looking for their third consecutive victory of the season and have built a substantial lead in the ALMS P1 championship. That leaves the Dyson Lola Mazda squad and drivers Chris Dyson and Guy Smith, with a simple option, go for the win. With the merger of the ALMS and GRAND-AM series combining in the United Sports Car Racing series in 2014, this is likely the last Lime Rock go round for the big LMP1 class cars before the new era begins. It was Audiâ€™s ace, Allan McNish who once described racing a P1 class prototype here at Lime Rock as the equivalent of flying jet fighter planes in your living room. Despite rules and track changes to slow the cars, lap times remain in the 45-second range. So the two premier teams will roll out at Lime Rock to renew both their battle and their friendship, fighting hard, but fair and entertaining all who have come to savor the dance.
IT’S MILLER TIME
While many people and companies fear true competition, their pride too great or skills too limited to accept what it may reveal, others like Paul Miller and Bryce Miller embrace it. In 2013 motorsports, there are few places more competitive than the American Le Mans Series GT class, where factory teams from BMW, Corvette and SRT Viper are joined by factory affiliates like Ferrari’s Risi Competizione and top independents like AJR/West Racing Ferrari and the Falken and CORE autosport Porsches. And yet, right there in the midst of the battle is precisely where you will find New Jersey’s Paul Miller Racing #48 Chopard/TOTAL Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Bryce Miller and young (age 24) Porsche factory ace Marco Holzer. A former racer and now a successful mega-dealer with a number of prestigious franchises including Porsche, Audi, Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Bentley and BMW, the senior Miller knows about competition and the importance of attention to detail and meeting expectations.
By teaming with Porsche and this season moving to a technical partnership with Michelin, the Millers, now in their third season of ALMS GT competition, appear to have chosen the platforms upon which to build their program. Holzer also appears to be a piece of that puzzle.
“I’ve been watching Marco since he and Bryce drove together in 2009 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Spa,” said the senior Miller, himself a successful racer. “I expect he and Bryce will be a strong team, fast and reliable.” That has certainly been the case through the first three races of the 2013 ALMS season as the team has posted three consecutive sixth-place finishes. Holzer set the fastest time in the opening practice at Long Beach where despite starting last, the
Miller Porsche team was the highest finishing Porsche. That kind of ground work sets the stage for a prospective top-five here at Lime Rock Park, a result that would be especially satisfying in front of many friends and fans at the team’s home track. “I am happy with where we are as a team at this point early in the season,” said Bryce Miller (pictured above). It is an axiom of sports that to be the best, one must beat the best. That is where, unlike Paul and Bryce Miller, many climbing the ladder of competition take an early exit and seek lesser challenges. Yet, for those with the commitment to take on the top challenge, the rewards of competing against the best can be significant. Iron sharpens iron and racing against the best hones skills, develops the entire team and raises everyone’s game. And succeeding in direct competition against the best makes each step in the journey and every victory along the way especially sweet, especially for a father and son that travel the road together.
The 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans produced another difficult, exciting and historic race. Close fights in every class carried to the final minutes as intermittent rains, spins and guardrail repairs prompted a record 11 safety car periods. A race long battle of the hybrids between Audi and Toyota saw Audi’s Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval capture Audi’s 12th Le Mans victory and the 16th consecutive overall race win for Michelin.
In GTE-PRO competition, Porsche prevailed in a see-saw battle with Aston Martin Racing as former ALMS champion Romain Dumas co-drove with Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz in the new Porsche 911 RSR. Finishing second were Porsche teammates and former ALMS champions Joerg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard with Patrick Pilet. A strong bid by Americans Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Porsche factory driver Patrick Long fell just short of the podium as the Dempsey
Del Piero-Proton Porsche finished fourth in GTE-AM. The race and podium ceremonies were dimmed by the death of Aston Martin GTE-AM driver and class leader Allan Simonsen of Denmark. His third place GTE-PRO finishing Aston Martin Racing teammates lifted his country’s flag rather than their trophies on the podium in tribute and countryman Tom Kristensen dedicated his record breaking ninth Le Mans win to Simonsen’s memory.
DID YOU KNOW “It made our problems seem so small and insignificant. I have to say that, the stint right after I had been told that he had passed was probably the first time ever in my career that racing felt like work.” Jan Magnussen on the death of fellow Dane Allan Simonsen at Le Mans.
The new Lime Rock
THANKS A MILLION
Lime Rock Park circuit is set to undergo a significant transformation with paddock and pit lane updates planned for 2014. The existing Lime Rock Park pit lane will be lengthened significantly. The new pit-in will begin under the Bailey Bridge (at the top of the Downhill); the new pit lane will accommodate 45 pit boxes. Both the primary and the secondary paddocks will be enlarged and paved. The new upgrades are planned for next year to coincide with the debut of the United Sports Car Racing series.
By mid-race at Le Mans, Michelin and its technical partner teams had passed a significant milestone, their One Millionth Le Mans Race Mile since the current Michelin overall race win streak began in 1998. At the old 1.54-miles per lap distance here, that would be 649,350 race laps at Lime Rock Park.
Alley Live www.michelinalley.com Keep up to date with the latest in the American Le Mans Series with Michelin Alley online - featuring race insights, interviews, videos, photos and highlights from all 2013 ALMS events.
Racing with Passion The Risi Ferrari team holds many ALMS records, including wins in six consecutive major endurance races, but the Monterey race saw a dubious new record. GT class pole-winning driver Matteo Malucelli and co-driver Olivier Beretta combined for seven penalties in the four-hour race. The rap sheet included passing under the yellow, pit lane speeding tickets and penalties for avoidable contact. Dyson Racing, BMW Team RLL and Paul Miller Racing all call Lime Rock Park their ‘Home Track’. Actually, Porsche could claim that honor with its stellar record at Lime Rock. During the past eight ALMS races at Lime Rock, Porsche has claimed 10 class wins including an overall victory. Porsche is well represented in the GT class with CORE autosport, Paul Miller Racing and Team Falken.
Easy money As Patrick Long was heading to the pits for a mid-race stop and change to co-driver Patrick Dempsey at Le Mans, the team radioed; “Our pit will be easy to spot. It’s filled with cameramen and photographers. Five bucks for each one you hit!” Long’s response was, “Easy money!” He didn’t hit any as he stopped, but did ease a few over-anxious lens men away from the door as he tried to exit the car and help Dempsey get aboard.
Catch the ACTION American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix broadcast and digital schedule: Live streamed coverage of the American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park and qualifying can be viewed on ESPN3.com with TV coverage on ESPN2, Saturday, July 6 at 3:00 pm (EDT). The full broadcast will be available on demand on ESPN3.com for three weeks and on ALMS.com after that.
Weekend Schedule Friday, July 5, 2013 10:00 am - 10:40 am Qualifying - Lamborghini Series 10:55 am - 11:55 am Practice #1 - ALMS (All Classes) 12:10 pm - 1:25 pm
Race #1 - World Challenge GT/GTS
2:15 pm - 3:05 pm
Race #1 - Lamborghini Series
3:20 pm - 4:20 pm
Practice #2 - ALMS (All Classes)
4:35 pm - 4:50 pm
Qualifying - ALMS (GTC)
4:55 pm - 5:10 pm
Qualifying - ALMS (GT)
5:20 pm - 5:35 pm
Qualifying - ALMS (PC)
5:40 pm - 5:55 pm
Qualifying - ALMS (P1/P2)
Saturday, July 6, 2013 9:00 am - 9:40 am
Race #3 - World Challenge TC/TCB
9:55 am - 10:20 am Warm Up - ALMS (All Classes) 10:35 am - 11:50 am Race #2 - World Challenge GT/GTS 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm ALMS Autograph Session 1:05 pm - 1:55 pm
Race #2 - Lamborghini Series
3:05 pm - 5:50 pm
American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix Race for ALMS (Round 4) - 2 Hours 45 Minutes
2013 ALMS Schedule 16 March
Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sebring, FL
Long Beach Grand Prix, CA
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA
Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, CT
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Canada
Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
Baltimore Grand Prix, Baltimore, MD
21 September Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX 5 October
Virginia International Raceway, Danville, VA
Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, GA
ALMS TV and Online Schedule Fri. July 5
ESPN3.com Live Qualifying (4:25 pm – 5:55 pm EDT)
Sat. July 6 ESPN3.com Live Streamed Race Coverage (2:45 pm – 5:50 pm EDT) Sat. July 6 ESPN2 Televised Race Coverage (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm EDT)
Fan Favorites HPD - HONDA
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Sharp/Cosmo van Overbeek/Brown Michelin Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b
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Check out this video of ESM’s recent visit to see the Patrón NHRA team in action.
HPD - HONDA
Graf/Luhr Michelin Muscle Milk Pickett Racing • HPD ARX-03a
Dyson/Smith Michelin Dyson Racing Lola B12/60 Mazda
Long/Kimber-Smith Michelin CORE autosport • Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Magnussen/Garcia Michelin Gavin/Milner Corvette Racing • Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
Henzler/Sellers Falken Team Falken • Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Auberlen/Martin Michelin D.Müller/Edwards BMW Team RLL • BMW Z4 GTE
Michelin North America, Inc • One Parkway South, • Greenville, SC 29615 • TEL: 1-800-458-5000 www.michelin.com • Printed in USA, May 8, 2013 • Volume 7, Issue 4 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2013 Michelin North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SRT - VIPER
Goossens/Farnbacher Michelin Wittmer/Bomarito SRT Motorsports • SRT Viper GTS-R
Miller/Holzer Michelin Paul Miller Racing • Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Malucelli/Beretta Michelin Risi Competizione • Ferrari F458 Italia
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