Posted by: porschebahn | April 5, 2012

Preview for 2012 American Le Mans Series round 2 in Long Beach

Four Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in star-studded dream setting

Stuttgart. It is one highlight after the other in the American Le Mans Series: After the thrilling season-opening twelve hour classic in Sebring, the race series featuring the world’s fastest sports cars heads to the famed circuit carved out of the streets of Long Beach in California on 14 April. The race takes off at 16.30 hours local time (01.30 hrs CEST). Porsche’s factory pilots Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA), who have already won the prestigious race in the “Monaco of the USA” twice, compete for Flying Lizard Motorsports with the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

The race

The race with the Long Beach waterfront as the stunning backdrop was first run in 1975 and is one of the most storied street races in the world. The flag drops after just two hours – making it the shortest race on the American Le Mans Series calendar along with Baltimore. Another very popular US series, IndyCar, is also contested in Long Beach on the same weekend. With Hollywood just around the corner, this event attracts many stars and starlets.

The circuit

Sun, sea and palms: The 3.167 kilometre circuit is no less appealing than Monaco. Even the construction of the track, taking around 60 days, is comparable: Along the circuit five kilometres of fences are erected and 1,400 concrete blocks each weighing ca. four tonnes are laid. At particularly critical places, 16,000 car tyres serve as a buffer in front of the walls.

The Porsche drivers

The Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, winners of the Long Beach race in 2009 and 2010, start in the GT class with the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Flying Lizard Motorsports. Their factory pilot colleague Wolf Henzler (Germany) shares the cockpit of the Falken Tire 911 with Bryan Sellers (USA). Manning the second Flying-Lizard Porsche is Porsche works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and the American team owner Seth Neiman. Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Bryce Miller (USA) drive the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Paul Miller Racing.

The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

As the top model of Porsche Motorsport’s customer racing vehicles, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR heads into the 2012 racing season with extensive modifications. Particularly noticeable is that the width of the body has grown by 48 millimetres. The aerodynamic concept is complemented by a new ducting of the intake air. The particularly efficient six-cylinder boxer engine, with a mandatory air-restrictor, generates 460 hp (338 kW) and drives the 310 millimetre wide rear wheels. The diameter of the front wheels has increased to 680 millimetres.

Porsche successes

On the time-honoured city circuit, Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long celebrated class victories in 2009 and 2010 with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. With the winning racer from Weissach they also won the environmental “Michelin Green X Challenge” as the most efficient GT vehicle in 2010. With the RS Spyder sports prototype, Porsche claimed a triple victory in 2007 at Long Beach.

The schedule

The race in Long Beach starts on Saturday, 14 April, at 16.30 hrs local time (01.30 hrs Sunday CEST) and is broadcast live in internet on The GT qualifying can be seen live on in the early hours of Saturday at 02.05 hrs.

Comments leading up to the race

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “The spectators at Long Beach will surely experience an exciting race. The narrow street track with its walls and fences plus the tough competition especially in the GT class will make sure of that. Of all our customer teams at the season-opener in Sebring, Paul Miller Racing performed the best, the others were impeded through no fault of their own. In Long Beach, Flying Lizard Motorsports and Falken Tire will also show their true potential with the new 911 GT3 RSR and give the strong opposition a run for their money.”
Joerg Bergmeister: “In the past, we were always very competitive in Long Beach. I’m interested to see where we stand this year. Things didn’t go perfectly for us in Sebring, but a city race like Long Beach is a law unto itself. You’re always at the limit, there is no time to rest, the entire time you’re steering, changing gears, braking. It’s hard but it’s great fun.”
Patrick Long: “A fascinating race with its very own flair. Overtaking on the tight circuit between walls and fences is very difficult. A good grid position is the key to success. Drivers can’t afford to make the slightest mistake, and neither can the team: Because the race is so short, every second you lose in the pits is twice as painful.”
Wolf Henzler: “The season-opener in Sebring underlined very clearly that the way to success for our team is through the tyres. If they run better in Long Beach our performance will also improve. I really like city races, alone for practical reasons. The hotels are right next to the track and when you want to go out for dinner there are real restaurants and not just fast food places.”
Marco Holzer: “This is my first race in Long Beach. I only know this famous circuit from videos. So I can’t wait to finally get the chance to tackle this difficult track. It will undoubtedly be a very interesting experience.”

The American Le Mans Series

The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) was created in 1999 for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The field is divided into five classes that start together but are classified separately:
GT class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers traditionally receives the most support: Slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
GTC class: This class is reserved for vehicles from one-make race series like the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp and a 900 kg minimum weight.
LMPC class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

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