|The American Le Mans Series runs the same type of cars as race at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ultimate test of man and machine. It is auto racing with European style and American attitude. ALMS races are run under the rules of the Automobile Club de l`Ouest (ACO), the organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Teams that regularly compete in the ALMS events receive special consideration in the selection of the 48 car field for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The ALMS is recognized as the Global Leader in Green Racing. All cars in the series compete using one of five approved alternative fuels or energy sources: clean sulfur diesel, cellulosic E85 or E10, Isobutanol, and hybrid technology. The series has more automobile marques involved than any other major race series in the world as manufacturers develop technologies on the race track that transfer directly to the cars customers buy.
The Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) cars are purpose built closed wheel race cars and are among the faster race machines in the world. Examples include the Mazda Lola B12/66, the Audi R18, HPD ARX-03a, and the Lola/B12/60 Toyota. The Thetford?RACER Lola Mazda coupes are powered by the 2.0 liter turbo Mazda MZR-R engine prepared by Advanced Engine Research (AER).
LMP2 cars are smaller, less powerful prototypes, but are nimble, fast and competitive. Dyson Racing took the overall win at the Sears Point race in 2003 with this class of car and LMP2 cars won four of eleven races in 2008. The current rules have more of a performance separation between the two classes. Examples include the Lola B11/80, HPD AR-03b and the Morgan.
LMP Challenge Class, (LMPC) features the ORECA Courage FLM09 prototype. It has a minimum weight of 900 kilograms: similar to its LMP brethren, but its 450 hp is less than the LMP cars which range from 500-700 hp. The LMP Challenge car is an affordable entry to Le Mans prototype racing with engines that are designed to go the whole season without a rebuild.
The GT class features production based automobiles, but with extensive modifications for racing. That class is populated with Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, SRT Viper, and Corvette. There are more engine manufactures in the ALMS than NASCAR, NHRA, and the IRL combined.
The GT Challenge (GTC) class features the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. The GT3 cup car is based on the road-going Porsche 911 GT3RS and with 450 mph, is capable of speeds up to 150 mph.
2013 will see the series at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin TX for the first time. This will be a shared weekend with the WEC.
There are ten races scheduled for 2013. All of the ALMS races, with the exception of the Petit Le Mans, are based on time. They vary in length from the standard two hour and 45 minute endurance format to the four hour event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to the famous 12 Hours of Sebring. The Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is contested for 1,000 miles or ten hours, whichever comes first. For 2013, the ALMS will have four shared weekends: two with the IndyCar Series, and one each with Grand-Am, and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
ALMS races on eight natural road courses and the street courses in Long Beach, CA and Baltimore MD, which was successfully added in 2011. The road courses are the most competitive tracks in North America and include Road Atlanta, GA, Road America, WI, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, CA, Sebring, FL, Lime Rock, CT, Virginia International Raceway, Alton, VA, Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX, and Mosport, Ontario, Canada. These tracks have defined sports car racing in America for over fifty years.
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The Anatomy of a Pit Stop: Click Here
Behind The Wheel: Click Here
ALMS Heritage: Click Here
Leader Light System: Click Here
There are multiple drivers for each car: two per regular race and three and four for the longer events. This adds the element of team work and the excitement of driver changes during pit stops. It is a world class mix of drivers, with many from Europe and the United States, several having Formula One ties. Past drivers include names such as Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, A.J. Foyt, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Ickx, Derek Bell and Graham Hill. Current drivers include the Dyson Racing drivers, Chris Dyson and Guy Smith. Other drivers: Andrea Belicchi - Lola/Toyota; Oliver Gavin – Corvette; Jan Magnussen – Corvette; Marino Franchitti - HPD ARX-03b; Scott Sharp – Ferrari; Patrick Long - Porsche; Alan McNish - Audi; and Bill Auberlen – BMW. The 2008 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta saw the deepest field ever assembled in the American Le Mans Series. There were seven winners from past 24 Hours of Le Mans entered, as well as five drivers who won championships in either CART or IndyCar, plus five competitors who had won the Indianapolis 500.