Category - Speed:Sport:Life Racing

Speed:Sport:Life Race Report, April 13, 2008, Mid-Ohio: HALP!


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Story by Jack Baruth – Race Photography by Dave Everest

Rain. Today’s race day was defined by the rain – starting miserably and getting steadily worse. The previous day’s race had shown the occasional bit of dry pavement to my co-driver, Brian M., but for my race it’s forty-two degrees outside and almost Katrina-esque in the fury of the storm above. In the 8am practice, I spin the Green Baron Motorsports #187 PTE Neon and run off track at the bottom of the Esses, but have no problem getting back on. Not everybody else is as lucky; the wrecked cars are coming in two and three at a time. Trailers are fleeing Mid-O like the proverbial rats from the proverbial sinking ship. Race Group A, over seventy cars strong yesterday, fields thirty-three entries today…

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Speed:Sport:Life Race Report, April 12, 2008, Mid-Ohio: First race, first podium.


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Story by Jack Baruth – Workshop Photos by Jack Baruth – Race Photography by Dave Everest

That Mazda television ad is lying to you. You know, the one where they say… “There’s an old saying in racing. To build a great race car, start with a great street car” or something like that. What a crock. To build a great race car, everybody knows that you start with a Porsche LMP2, which is not a street car, not even in Dubai.

The saying is really this: “To build a cheap race car, start with one that’s already been rolled.” And without further ado, we present our new team – Green Baron Motorsports – and our new race car for the 2008 season – a 1994-build original Neon ACR. Sold as a Showroom Stock race car fourteen years ago, it’s been rolled, crashed, possibly set on fire, you name it – but it’s still one of those original race-only ACRs, and that means it’s, like, totally the Hemi ‘Cuda of 1994. So we invested a new Corolla’s worth of cash and hundreds of man-hours to bring it back on track, including a miserable four-day no-sleep final crunch to make sure it passed its first NASA tech inspection. It passed, it got a logbook, and today, in the hands of old pro Brian M., it took its first NASA podium in its first race.

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10th Annual Petit Le Mans Finish a Nailbiter

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The 10th Annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is done and in the books after one of the most exciting finishes of any American Le Mans races in recent memory.  After 1000 miles, it was just 0.923 seconds that put the LMP1 Audi R15 piloted by Dindo Capello and Allan McNish in front of the LMP2 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder driven by Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long.  This victory comes on the heels of a tough season for Audi where the Porsche RS Spyders have escaped them all year long.  The victory at Petit Le Mans is the first overall victory for Audi since the St. Petersburg race in March. 

The win for Audi wasn’t easy, as Dindo Capello had a seemingly insurmountable 30-second gap to close on Dumas with just a half hour of racing left.  Fortunately for Audi, a caution flag worked to Capello’s favor and allowed the R15 to work its way up through traffic.  With 15 laps to go, Capello took an amazing 8 minutes to pass Dumas and clinch the overall victory.  The victory gave Dindo Capello and co-driver Allan McNish their second consecutive LMP1 driver’s championship. 

#6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Maassen/Briscoe/Collard

#6 Penske Porsche RS Spyder of Maassen/Briscoe/Collard

In GT1, Oliver Gavin, Max Papis and Oliver Beretta took a class victory in their #4 Corvette Racing C6.R, escaping the fate of DNFs for the #3 Corvette Racing C6.R and the pole-sitting Lista Racing Maserati MC12.

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GT2 proved to be a great class to watch as the Porsches of Flying Lizard Motorsports battled it out with Wolf Henzler and Dominik Farnbacher in the Tafel Racing Porsches.  At the end of 1000 miles though, it was the team Jorg Bergmeister, Johannes van Overbeek and Mark Lieb in the #45 Flying Lizard 911 GT3 RSR that took a three lap victory over Tafel Racing.  The pole-sitting Risi Competizione Ferrari F430, driven by Jaime Melo, Mika Salo, and Johnny Mowlem, was the dominant car in GT2 until electrical problems took them out of contention. 

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All in all, this was the most exciting Petit Le Mans that we can recall in our minds.  Anytime a 10 hour or 1000 mile race comes down to a fraction of a second between first and second, you know the attendees got their money’s worth.   We hope next year’s race at Road Atlanta will be even better!

Petit Le Mans @ Road Atlanta Race result (Round 10 of 11 races of the American Le Mans Series)
1. McNish/Capello/Pirro (GB/I/I), Audi R10 (LMP1), 394 laps
2. Minassian/Sarrzin/Klien (F/F/A), Peugeot 908, 394
3. Werner/Luhr (D/D), Audi R10 (LMP1), 394
4. Briscoe/Castroneves (AUS/BR), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 394
5. Bernhard/Dumas (D/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 394
6. Maassen/Long/Collard (D/USA/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 392
7. Leitzinger/Franchitti/Lally (USA/GB/USA), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 390
8. de Ferran/Pagenaud (BRA/F), Acura ARX-01B (LMP2), 388
9. Dyson/Smith (USA/GB), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 384
10. O’Conell/Magnussen/Fellows (USA/DK/USA), Chevrolet Corvette (GT1), 365

Result LMP2 class
1. Briscoe/Castroneves (AUS/BR), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 394
2. Bernhard/Dumas (D/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 394
3. Maassen/Long/Collard (D/USA/F), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 392
4. Leitzinger/Franchitti/Lally (USA/GB/USA), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 390
5. de Ferran/Pagenaud/Dixon (BRA/F/NZ), Acura ARX-01B (LMP2), 388
6. Dyson/Smith (USA/GB), Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2), 384

Further class winners
LMP1: McNish/Capello/Pirro (GB/I/I), Audi R10
GT1: O’Connell/Magnussen/Fellows (USA/DK/USA), Chevrolet Corvette
GT2: Salo/Melo (FIN/BRA), Ferrari F430

Points’ standings
Drivers LMP2 class
1. Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Porsche, 189
2. David Brabham, Scott Sharp, Acura, 155
3. Patrick Long, Porsche, 121
4. Sascha Maassen, Porsche, 113
5. Butch Leitzinger, Marino Franchitti, Porsche, 102

Manufacturers LMP2 class – Engine
1. Porsche, 196
2. Acura, 188

Manufacturers LMP2 class – Chassis
1. Porsche, 196
2. Acura, 188

Teams LMP2 class
1. Penske Racing, Porsche, 196
2. Highcroft Racing, Acura, 155
3. Dyson Racing, Porsche, 116

Drivers GT2 class
1. Joerg Bergmeister, Wolf Henzler, Porsche, 181
2. Dominik Farnbacher, Dirk Müller, Ferrari, 150
3. Johannes van Overbeek, Patrick Pilet Porsche, 124

Manufacturers GT2 class
1. Porsche, 195
2. Ferrari, 190

Teams GT2 class
1. Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche, 198
2. Tafel Racing, Ferrari, 160