The Challenge is on. With four classes of cars all traveling at different speeds, the American Le Mans Series’ on-track action will be even more exciting in 2010.
After a successful debut in 2009 at five races, the Series is expanding the Grand Touring Challenge (GTC) class for all nine events this year in conjunction with the ACO.
The GT Challenge class features three specifications of Porsche’s 911 GT3 Cup car, which are based on the road-going Porsche 911 GT3 RS. The power for the 2010-spec car has increased over last year – about one to two seconds faster. The car also has an output of 450 bhp, a top speed of 150 mph, and a maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup also is featured in IMSA’s Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama, one of the sanctioning body’s premier development championships.
With the season about to get under way with the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, five new GTC teams have announced their entries, all of which will run on Yokohama’s environmentally friendly ADVAN ENV-R02 tires. Combining orange oil with natural rubber to form a new compound, Yokohama’s proprietary technology reduces petroleum by approximately 10 percent and increases recyclability while maintaining the high performance levels of previous race slick compounds.
New GTC entries for 2010 include:
•Werks2/P7 Racing – Running in its second year of Series competition with returning drivers Galen Bieker and Robert Rodriquez, who finished third in their debut race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
•GMG Racing – Competing for a full season after debuting at the 2009 season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Team owner James Sofronas will partner with Bret Curtis.
•Kelly-Moss Motorsports – Transitioning from the Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama, Kelly-Moss Motorsports will feature driver Darrell Carlisle in its Series debut.
•Alex Job Racing – One of the most successful teams in Series history will be returning with a two-car assault: The No. 23 car will be piloted by Bill Sweedler, who returns as an entry after racing consecutively from 1999-2006 in the GT2 class, along with Romeo Kapudija; the No. 81 entry will be driven by Juan Gonzalez and Butch Leitzinger, who was a standout for Dyson Racing in LMP with seven prototype victories and 83 starts in the American Le Mans Series.
•Velox Racing – returning after racing twice in the 2009 GT Challenge class with drivers Shane Lewis and Jerry Vento.
These GTC entries will compete among the most professional and elite drivers, teams and manufacturers in the world. On track, the GTC cars will have red markings on their rear-wing endplates, mirrors and windscreens, to help differentiate from the rest of the field.