Preview: American Le Mans Series, Round 2 in Long Beach, USA
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 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.
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.
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 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 www.alms.com. The GT qualifying can be seen live on www.porsche.com/alms-live in the early hours of Saturday at 02.05 hrs.