Alex Job Racing and Lotus Motorsports have teamed up to compete in the American Le Mans Series GT class for 2012. The new team has been named Lotus Alex Job Racing and will be a factory-supported effort focused on North America. The car will be a 2012 Lotus Evora GTE, which those of you who watched Petit Le Mans last year will be familiar with. While Lotus AJR will be skipping the ALMS/WEC season opener at Sebring next month, they promise that they will have a full fledged effort for the rest of the season starting with the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix the weekend of April 14th.
We’re glad to see more teams entering the American Le Mans Series as there has been some question as to how long the series will last with some of the big players being split between ALMS and the World Endurance Championship. Though the European Lotus Evoras didn’t have much luck at Petit Le Mans last year, the fact that this effort is factory backed might result in some additional competition for BMW, Ferrari, and Porsche. The driver lineup has not yet been announced but there is at least one rendering of the Lotus AJR Evora with the name B.Senna on the door.
Full Lotus AJR Racing press release after the jump.
Photo: Zerin Dube
Peugeot has announced that it has suspended all endurance racing programs effective immediately. Citing tough economic conditions in Europe, Peugeot stated “Peugeot has chosen to concentrate resources on its sales performance in 2012.” Peugeot was the overall winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009 and won the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup title last year, besting Audi’s efforts with the new R18. While 2012 and 2013 will see its share of new competitors including the new Toyota and Porsche LMP1 entries, we are sad that we won’t get to see the powerhouse French and German teams battling it out again this year in the World Endurance Championship.
Update: Speaking of Toyota and their new LMP1 program, @ToyotaPR (Head of Toyota and Lexus PR for the UK) tweeted this photo of their new racecar.
Photo: Audi Sport File Photo
The second full day of testing ahead of the 14th annual Petit Le Mans was held yesterday during a four hour testing session. Romain Dumas set the fastest time of the session during his second to last lap in the #1 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 TDI with a lap time of 1:08.394.
2011 24 Hours of Le Mans Live Coverage
We will be doing real-time flag to flag coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Twitter under our new live motorsports coverage account, @SpeedSportLive , or you can follow along here with our Cover It Live widget. Don’t forget to download the 2011 Le Mans Spotters Guide from Spotterguides.com
In our opinion the best place to listen to the broadcast of the race is RadioLemans which offers a live stream worldwide, flag to flag. These guys are the best motorsport commentators out there and do an incredible job covering the race year after year. Live timing of the race can be found on the Lemans.org website at http://www.lemans.org/en/races/24h-du-mans/live-2011/live-timing.html
For those of you who are in the U.S., the race will be aired on SPEED. While SPEED is doing flag to flag coverage, they will be alternating between a live TV broadcast and streaming video on their website for the hours they go off-air on TV. Their schedule is as follows:
STREAMING: Click Here To Watch (SPEED.com: Saturday 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET; 8-11 p.m. ET)
TELEVISION: SPEED: Saturday 8:30-11:30 a.m. ET; 3:30-8 p.m. ET; 11 p.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (Saturday p.m. through Sunday a.m.).
AudiSport also has announced that they will be delivering a full live stream of the entire 24 Hours of Le Mans via the internet, complete with in-car telemetry. The Audi Live Racing site will also offer a summary of the race every two hours, as well as commentary by former Audi Sport driver Emanuele Pirro. The live feed can be found at http://www.audi-microsites.com/lemans
We like to be social and interactive during the race so please drop us a line in the comments or via twitter. Let us know who you are cheering for and feel free to make jokes at our expense while watching.
The grid has been set for tomorrow’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with two Audi R18 TDIs occupying the front row. The #2 Audi R18 TDI (Tréluyer / Lotterer / Fassler) sits on pole position with a time of 3:25.738 set by Benoit Tréluyer in the last minutes of the final qualifying session. Next to them in P2 is the #1 Audi R18 TDI (Bernhard / Dumas / Rockenfeller) with a time of 3:25.799.
The Peugeot Sport 908s had a strong showing as well and sit just behind the leading Audis with the #9 Team Peugeot Total 908 ( Bourdais / Pagenaud / Lamy) in P3 with a 3:26.010 and the #8 Peugeot Sport Total 908 ( Sarrazin / Montagny/ Minassian ) in P4 with a 3:26.156. The #3 Audi R18 TDI (Kristensen / Capello / McNish) and #7 Peugeot 908 (Davidson / Gene / Wurz) round out the 3rd row. Only a mere .534 second separate the P1 and the P6 qualifying times.
Getting tired of drag racing the same old straight 1,320 feet? Is autocrossing around cones in a parking lot, racing against the clock, not doing it for you anymore? What if I told you about a place where you could compete head to head against similar cars with similar modifications in a drag race format on two mirrored autocross courses? Does the idea of blasting away from a drag race Christmas tree and then barreling into a tight turn interest you? How about coming out of that turn and seeing your competitor out of the corner of your eye, sideways, coming out of his turn just a few feet ahead of you over on the other track? You’ll need to push harder and run the next corner even faster if you plan on being the first car across the finish line. Sounds pretty crazy doesn’t it? It is absolutely fantastic competition. It’s called Pro Solo, and it’s drag racing with corners.