The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron finished its 2013 season and closed out its existence in great fashion at the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda race at Road Atlanta on Saturday evening. In a race that had a bit of just about everything; weather issues, mechanical failures and 10 hours of great racing it was a fitting end and great tribute to the ALMS before it joins forces for the 2014 season with GRAND-AM racing.
The ALMS is one of the most fascinating and exciting racing series to watch. Five different classes of race-car are on the track at the same time. Those classes range in top speed from about 160 mph to more than 200 mph. With 34 four cars across those five classes competing at Road Atlanta there was always going to be plenty of action on the track as the faster cars in each class looked to beat their opponents while driving and negotiating slower or faster traffic.
In the P1’s, Rebellion Racing repeated its success of 2012 at the Petit Le Mans by winning its class and the overall. Neel Jani, Nico Prost and Nick Heidfeld combined to complete the race in 9 hours and 37 minutes in a class that consisted of just four cars.
Disappointing for those fans that wanted to see the premier class go down to the wire was the fact that the series leader and Petit Le Mans race leader Muscle Milk car retired about 5 hours into the race. The other cars in the P1 class also retired so for Rebellion Racing it was a case of “last man standing”.
Having said that the team took considerable pride in being the overall winners of the last ALMS Petit Le Mans. Nick Heidfeld said after the race, “It’s great, before I even came here, everyone was telling me how it’s a fantastic race,” Heidfeld said. “Even though it’s not the oldest one on the calendar, it has a fantastic reputation and it’s one of the sports car races you want to win. And it’s the last ALMS race, and that makes it more special.”
The race in the P2 class was much closer as the Level 5 Motorsports #551 car driven by Scott Tucker, Ryan Briscoe and Marino Franchitti outdueled the Extreme Motorsports #1 car to win by just 1 ½ seconds.
In the GT class Team Falken Tire of Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers and Nick Tandy drove their Porsche 911 GT3 to victory beating the BMW Team in a Z4 into second place.
BAR1 Motorsports with Kyle Marcelli Chris Cumming and Stefan Johansson doing the driving took the Prototype Challenge class by 12 seconds over the 8Star Motorsports 25 car driven by Ozz Negri and Sean Rayhall.
In the GTC class, exclusively for Porsche GT3 cars, Nelson Canache Jnr drove with Spencer Pumpelly and Madison Snow to win.
Next year the ALMS will combine with GRAND-AM racing in a new series of races under the banner of United Sports Car Racing. IMSA will retain sanctioning overview of the sport.