Posted by: porschebahn | July 18, 2009

Preview of American Le Mans Series round 5 at Lime Rock

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Porsche factory drivers, customer teams look for fourth 2009 GT2 win

With the break for the June Le Mans race finally over, Porsche Motorsport customer teams are eager to continue their early-season success in the American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, July 18.

The Northeast Grand Prix, round five of the American Le Mans Series, takes the checkered flag on Saturday at 2:05 PM EDT, and will last two hours, 45 minutes. SPEED TV will begin its live coverage at 2:00 PM EDT, and will stay on the air until 5:00 PM EDT.

At the wheel of their #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports 911 GT3 RSR, Porsche factory drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) will be striving for their fourth straight GT2 win. The last time the pair secured four wins in a row was in 2005 – before going on to claim the GT2 championship title in the Petersen/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

A new chassis for continued success

Bergmeister has a good record at Lime Rock of the short 1.53-mile track, having won the GT2 class there each of the last three years in a Porsche. This year, with Patrick Long with whom he pursues his third American Le Mans title this year after wins in St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Salt Lake City, Joerg is not over-confident.

“The track certainly has its appeal, but it’s still not one of my favorites,” said Bergmeister. “The traffic is often quite chaotic and you need a little bit of luck to get through safely. With the many caution phases, which occur quite often, smooth pit stops are imperative. But we don’t have to worry about that because Flying Lizard is a team that can do pit stops with their eyes closed.”

This weekend, Bergmeister/Long will compete with a new chassis. The old one got a battering in a collision at Sebring, but after the season-opening event, there was not enough time to immediately construct a completely new car. This was only possible during the Le Mans break, but, as far as far as Patrick Long is concerned, nothing will change with the new tub.

“Our car was fast during the whole season and I’m assuming this will continue to be the case,” said Long.

The RSR – an impressive machine and a fun car to drive

In Farnbacher Loles Racing’s #87 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) – who won at Lime Rock last year with Joerg Bergmeister and went on the claim the title – hopes to finally make the breakthrough. Henzler has started two races from pole position so far this season with Dirk Werner (Germany), and with his works driver colleague Marc Lieb he recently pocketed second place in Salt Lake City – but he is still waiting for his first win of the season.

Because Werner will be at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama this weekend, where he leads the Rolex Grand-Am GT class with Leh Keen in a Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche, the team has invited Bryce Miller (Summit, NJ) to drive with Henzler.

“I am excited to get back behind the wheel of an RSR – it is an impressive machine and a fun car to drive. I am really happy team owner Greg Loles has given me the opportunity to drive his car again and to do it with Wolf Henzler leaves little up for discussion. Wolf has been a good friend and mentor going back to 2006. Working with him has always been a pleasure and a success, so I am ready to do it again. It is always nice to come back to my home track, Lime Rock. I have not driven the reconfigured circuit yet, but I can look to Wolf to help accelerate the learning of that new segment for me,” said Miller, son of 1980’s IMSA racer Paul Miller.

911 GT3 Cup in the ALMS Challenge class

For Lime Rock, the Flying Lizard Motorsports team will field a second 911 GT3 RSR driven by Johannes van Overbeek (San Francisco, Calif.) and Seth Neiman (Hillsborough, Calif.), while the VIICI Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will be driven by Johannes Stuck (Austria) and Richard Westbrook (Great Britain).

Also, after the successful premiere in Salt Lake City, the ALMS Challenge Class will feature Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entries – including Salt Lake winners Martin and Melanie Snow (Sandy, UT) – who will take part in this new class, which runs as a fifth class below GT2.

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