Sunday, August 7, 2011

Muscle Milk Aston Martin Triumphs in Stormy Mid-Ohio ALMS Round

Photo Credit: BMW Group USA

After the team started the season with a mechanical retirement in the American Le Mans Series opening round, the Muscle Milk Racing Aston Martin powered Lola has mounted an impressive domination in the 2011 LMP1 class. Winning three of the last four ALMS events with overall victory, the pairing of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr have been a top podium mainstay for a sports car category presenting fewer than a half-dozen runners in most 2011 events. Mounting a serious offensive against the Muscle Milk Aston Martin-Lola has been the Mazda-engined prototype fielded by Dyson Racing. Winning the Lime Rock event, the Dyson Racing car took pole for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge Saturday. In GT class, the Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing #56 BMW M3 GT car driven by Jorg Muller and Joey Hand led over their teammate's vehicle. 

Once the green dropped on the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Challenge for a 2 hour and 45 minute sprint event, the sports cars initially were confronted with a slippery 2.258-mile race course covered with race rubber left by the IZOD INDYCAR Series' Firestone tires. This early grip challenge caused the GT class leading BMW M3 GT to relinquish not just one but two positions as the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C6R ZR1 took over the category lead. At the front of the overall field for the Mid-Ohio event, the #16 Lola-Mazda pulled away to an advantage lasting for 37 laps.   
By halfway through the event, on track contact between many cars amounted to a slew of penalties being issued for avoidable contact. One incident of on-track collisions involved the GT class BMW M3s belonging Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan. Entering the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course's Keyhole turn, the teammates made contact resulting in the #56 car spinning. Incidents of contact on track would involve many other GT, Prototype and Challenge class machines. 
Shaping into a bizarre race with the high number of penalties, when the first caution flew for a stopped Prototype Challenge machine, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge event for the American Le Mans Series turned comical. During the caution period midway through the event, the Honda S2000 pace car withdrew due to a transmission problem. The Porsche Cayenne medical vehicle needed to fill in as the race's pace car.

In the last 40 minutes of the event, rain began to pelt the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course causing some dangerously slick conditions even for sports cars which pitted for wet weather tires. The late stage of the race in inclement weather proved costly for the Corvette Racing team. After first appearing to gain the upper hand by promptly swapping to rain tires, the #3 Corvette C6R ZR1 spun after making contact with a fellow GT competitor. Driven by Olivier Beretta and Tommy Milner, the #3 car had to fight its way back to 6th place in class. As for the #4 piloted by the pairing of Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen, their long-term leading the GT class would not include the important final laps. As the skies opened up to completely drench the circuit, the #4 Corvette briefly fought to retain control. This moment of correction by the #4 car, in the hands of Oliver Gavin, was just enough time for the #17 Team Falken Tires Porsche 911 RSR wheeled by Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler to take lead and the GT victory at Mid-Ohio. Finishing second, the Corvette driver Oliver Gavin later said, "Those last four or five laps were absolutely insane,".  
Due to three cars sliding off track in the midst of a major downpour, the American Le Mans Series ended the race under yellow with the #6 Muscle Milk Aston Martin-Lola taking the class victory for the fourth time this season in American Le Mans Series competition. Taking the race's lead for the final time at lap 62, the Aston Martin-powered Muscle Milk Motorsports effort sailed to an almost 1 minute and 10 second lead over the #16 car.  
In the LMPC class, a fight between Intersport Racing cars concluded with the #89 machine driven by Tomy Drissi and Kyle Marcelli taking class victory at Mid-Ohio. Spencer Pumpelly and Duncan Ende drove their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to GT Challenge class victory for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge. 

2011 American Le Mans Series
Lexington, Ohio 
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge
Race Results
  1. 6  LMP1  Klaus Graf/Lucas Luhr AMR/ Lola Coupe B08 62 
  2. 16  LMP1  Chris Dyson/ Guy Smith  Lola B09 86/Mazda 
  3. 89  LMPC  Kyle Marcelli /Tomy Drissi Oreca FLM09 
  4. 37  LMPC  Clint Field/ Jon Field  Oreca FLM09 
  5. 52  LMPC  Javier Echeverria  Oreca FLM09 
  6. 17  GT  Bryan Sellers/Wolf Henzler  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 
  7. 4  GT  Jan MagnussenOliver Gavin  Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 
  8. 55  GT  Bill Auberlen/ Dirk Werner BMW M3 GT 
  9. 56  GT  Dirk Mueller/ Joey Hand  BMW M3 GT 
  10. 01  GT  Johannes van Overb/ Scott Sharp Ferrari F458 Italia 
  11. 3  GT  Olivier Beretta/Tommy Milner  Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 
  12. 06  LMPC  Gunnar Jeannette/ Ricardo Gonzalez Oreca FLM09 
  13. 04  GT  Anthony Lazzaro/ David Murry Doran Ford GT 
  14. 63  LMPC Christian Zugel/ Eric Lux  Oreca FLM09 
  15. 48  GT  Bryce Miller/ Sascha Maassen Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 
  16. 45  GT  Joerg Bergmeister/Patrick Long  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 
  17. 05  LMPC  Frankie Montecalvo/ Jon Bennett  Oreca FLM09 
  18. 44  GT Darren Law/ Seth Neiman  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 
  19. 12  LMP1  Chris McMurry/ Tony Burgess  Lola B06/10 
  20. 98  GT PJ Jones/ Rocky Moran  Jaguar XKR 
  21. 99  GT  Bruno Junqueira/ Ken Wilden Jaguar XKR 
  22. 66  GTC Spencer Pumpelly/ Duncan Ende Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 
  23. 54  GTC  Jeroen Bleekemolen/ Tim Pappas Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 
  24. 77  GTC  Craig Stanton/ John Potter  Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 
  25. 18  LMPC  Anthony Nicolosi/ Jarrett Boon Oreca FLM09 
  26. 11  GTC  Chris Cumming/Nick Ham  Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 
  27. 62  GT  Jaime Melo/ Toni Vilander  Ferrari F458 Italia 
  28. 23  GTC  Leh Keen/ Bill Sweedler  Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 
  29. 40  GT Andrea Robinson/ Melanie Snow  Doran Ford GT/Elan 
  30. 34  GTC  Andrew Davis/ Peter Lesaffre Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 
  31. 68  GTC  Dion von Moltke/ Marc Bunting  Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 
  32. 02  GT Ed Brown/ Guy Cosmo Ferrari F458 Italia 
  33. 20  LMP1  Humaid Al Masaood/Steven Kane  Lola B09/86 Mazda 

No comments:

Post a Comment