Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bernhard, Dumas Reunited with Porsche RS Spyder for Next ALMS Races

August 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Motorsport News

Klaus Graf (left) and timo Bernhard (right) practice driver change in the Muscle milk Porsche RS Spyder at Road America.

ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. – August 16, 2010 — Fans of the American Le Man Series are getting the treat they thought would never be seen again after the successful Penske Racing run with the Porsche RS Spyders 2006 – 2008; Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) back in the United States reunited with the famous Weissach-built LMP prototype.

Bernhard will join the regular Muscle Milk/Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder driver Klaus Graf (Germany) for the upcoming race this weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., while Dumas will co-drive with Graf at Mosport International Raceway near Toronto the next weekend.

The duo will step in for Muscle Milk owner Greg Pickett who was injured in a testing crash recently at Mid-Ohio, suffering back and rib injuries, which have forced him out of the Muscle Milk car.

Round Seven of the American Le Mans Series at Road America will be telecast live by SPEED TV on Sunday, August 22, at 3:00 PM Eastern time. Live radio coverage will also be available as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 242. The ALMS web site also has live timing and scoring, plus press notes for all on-track sessions, as well as steaming video of the race’s qualifying session on Saturday.

“I’m very much looking forward to driving the RS Spyder again in the USA, and of all places at Road America, one of the most beautiful race tracks in America,” said Bernhard.

“Road America has all you can ask for as a race car driver. Quick corners, long and short, elevation changes, technical corners and flat out ones. I have good memories of that track since I won there two times in the GT class and two times in LMP2. My best memory, though, was the overall victory against the LMP1 cars with the Porsche RS Spyder and Team Penske.
At Road America, the setup is important since it is a challenging racetrack with all the elevations and heavy braking zones. But I’m very confident for the race. Klaus and the entire Muscle Milk Team CytoSport have had great performances this year. And with the Porsche RS Spyder we have the right tool to be successful,” he said

Timo has great memories of the classic 4.018-mile, 14-turn sports car circuit. In 2002, he celebrated his first-ever ALMS win in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS (with Joerg Bergmeister), and won again with Alex Job, Joerg and Porsche in 2004. In 2006, after stepping into the Maassen/Luhr Penske Porsche RS Spyder when Penske decided to separate Sascha and Lucas for maximum championship points, Bernhard and Maassen won the LMP2 class over teammates Luhr and Ryan Briscoe. In 2007, he celebrated a commanding overall victory at the wheel of the RS Spyder, defeating the more powerful LMP1 prototypes. In the RS Spyder, Bernhard has a total 16 wins and two championship titles (with Dumas) in the American Le Mans Series from 2006 to 2008. Also, while on loan to Audi for this year’s 24 hours of Le Mans, along with Dumas and former Porsche factory driver Mike Rockenfeller, Bernhard scored his first overall win at Le Mans. He also holds overall wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring (with Penske) and the 24 Hours at Daytona (with the Racers Group).

Entering the American Le Mans Series event at Road America sitting in second place in the points standings, Muscle Milk Team CytoSport will be counting on Bernhard’s expertise aboard the Porsche RS Spyder to help them close the gap to the Highcroft Racing Honda Performance prototype which has taken a 23-point lead following the team’s absence at Mid-Ohio. The Muscle Milk squad will also be searching for a tenth podium finish in as many starts since returning to the ALMS in 2009. Last season at Road America the team finished third in-class after starting fourth on the LMP2 grid and serving a one minute and 30 second stop-and-hold penalty. This year, the team boosts an LMP2 win at Sebring and an overall win at Lime Rock.

Geoffrey Carter, team manager for Muscle Milk Team CytoSport, is anxious to get back on the track after missing the event in Ohio. He credits both his Muscle Milk crew and Porsche Motorsport for getting the car rebuilt so quickly after the crash.

“We wish Greg a speedy recovery and can’t wait to have him back in the car. Until then, we have been very fortunate for the amazing support from our partners at Porsche. Not only have they been instrumental in helping us get our car back together, but they have given us access to Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas for the next two races. These guys have championship pedigree in the Porsche RS Spyder and should make a stellar combination with Klaus. It is not every day you get to call on two guys who won this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as your replacement drivers,” said Carter.

In GT, factory drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) will try to write another chapter in the thrilling story that has become the 2010 ALMS GT championship. As the front-runners in the fiercely-contested class, the pair wants to earn crucial points in their Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on the way to defending their 2009 title. With three races left on the calendar, the points’ leaders are facing immense pressure – but Joerg Bergmeister is staying cool and calm.

“When you have such strong opposition at every race from the likes of Ferrari, BMW and Corvette, you get used to the stress,” says the four-time Road America winner.

Understandably, Bergmeister has a soft spot for the sports car track nestled in the Wisconsin countryside.

“It’s my favorite circuit. Very fast, very hilly, very challenging. That’s just what race drivers love,” said Bergmeister.

So far this season, the Bergmeister/Long have won their races at Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Lime Rock, placing them eight points in front of the fastest Ferrari in the championship stakes. With BMW also as a contender for the title and Corvette improving at every race, the situation promises to be exciting and dramatic at Road America, where the smallest mistake costs a lot of time.

“Everything must run really smoothly, strategy included,” says Patrick Long. “We have to totally concentrate and we can’t afford to make one mistake – not in the pits nor on the track. If we can manage this, then we’ll still be on course for the title after this race.”

The points’ leaders expect support in helping Porsche with manufacturers points from two other Porsche 911 GT3 RSR racers. Darren Law (USA) and Seth Neiman (USA) pilot a Flying Lizard Motorsports entry, with works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA) manning the Team Falken Tire Porsche.

In the GTC class for matched Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, reigning Supercup champion Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) joins forces with Timothy Pappas (USA) at the wheel of a Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, with which they have already scored three victories in 2010. In a tight battle for the championship are the second and third-place teams: the TRG Porsche of Henri Richard and Andy Lally, and the Alex Job Racing Battery Tender entry of Bill Sweedler and Romeo Kapudija.

Source: Porsche Cars North America

Photos Courtesy PCNA