The 2010 12 Hours of Sebring is already underway and BMW driver Dirk Muller already has already had enough drama to last him the entire weekend. The weekend started off on a high note after Muller set the fastest time in qualifying last Friday but because of some irregularities found on his BMW M3, his best time was reneged and he was forced to sit all the way down to the 13th place on the GT2 grid.
If that wasn’t enough, Muller ended up missing the recon laps before the start of the race because, earlier in the day, he ended up crashing his M3 into a wall.
With everything seemingly going against him heading into the start of Sebring 2010, Muller began the race on the pit lane and as soon as the race got underway, Muller showed why he was one of the dark horses to stake claim to the race as he maneuvered past a crowd of Porsches on his way to placing fourth in GT2 after an hour of racing.
Check out the video and see what Muller had to say about his rather eventful weekend so far.
This year, the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team is ready to take on the 2010 season of the American Le Mans Series at the 58th annual 12 Hours of Sebring on March 20th. This year, BMW has entered two M3s with a different combination of drivers. In the No 92 car they have drivers Bill Auberlen, Tommy Milner, and Dirk Werner and in the No 90 car they have Joey Hand, Dirk Muller, and Andy Prialux. The drivers will be competing in this 12 hour competition in the GT2 class. Last season, the Rahal Letterman Racing Team started off rough, but ended with 1 win, 5 more podiums, two poles, and 3 fast laps.
“We’ve essentially been preparing for this race for one year,” said Martin Birkmann, BMW of North America Motorsport Manager. “Gremlins struck last year at Sebring, but following a successful 12 hour simulation here in January and two excellent days at the recent Winter Test, I believe we are ready. Last year, the target was to take one checkered flag; this year the target is two.”
Check out the full story, official press release, and video featuring the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team after the jump.
Back in the early 1960’s Bill Ford wanted to go racing at Le Mans to settle a score with Enzo Ferrari after the Italian racer suddenly backed out of a deal where the FoMoCo would absorb the Scuderia, and with it all of their competition cars. Thus is the story if the legendary Ford GT-40, which eventually won the historic race twice around the clock four times in a row from 1966 to 1969, dethroning the Italian stallion and making names for driving greats like Dan Gurney, A.J. Foyt, Pedro Rodríguez and Jacky Ickx.
A modern day interpretation of the iconic Ford GT will once again represent the Blue Oval at 2010 running of the 24 hours of Le Mans thanks to the Matech Competition team. "This is great recognition for the whole team who have worked very hard on this Ford GT1 project. That our car has been considered for this 78th edition exceeds our wildest dreams. The 24 Hours of Le Mans are as much a legend as Ford’s adventure at Le Mans. Now we need to prove that both the team and the car are ready for the unique challenge that is Le Mans. We are equally pleased that our customer team, MarcVDS Racing, has also received an invitation to the race, and we look forward to providing them with our support as we do in the GT1 World Championship." While a four-peat may be difficult to do in the 21st century, the Matech Ford GT will definitely have history on its side when the green flag drops at the Circuit de la Sarthe this June.
Jaguar announced its return to the Le Mans 24 hours race, being one of the most successful British make in the race’s history with a total of seven wins between 1951 and 1990. The American Le Mans Series racing team RSR, headed up by long time Jaguar privateer racer Paul Gentilozzi will bring their 2010 XKR GT2 to la Sarthe for a race twice around the clock this June. The next generation Jaguar XK-R race car was designed as a joint effort between the American racing team RSR and Jaguar’s Advance Design Studio, which is headed by the automaker’s chief designer Ian Callum.
"Spirits will be high around Jaguar’s return to Le Mans but we must remember the incredibly high level of competition - a podium place in our category will not fall into our hands. That said, I can guarantee 100 per cent commitment from JaguarRSR and urge fans of Jaguar and Britain’s racing heritage to support the team whole heartedly," said Paul Gentilozzi who will drive the JaguarRSR XKR GT2 in the 2010 American Le Mans Series.
Speaking of ambitious car building efforts, when a team decides to go racing there is almost nothing that can sand in their way, not even having to build a complete race car from scratch. When Patrón Highcroft racing driver Scott Sharp totaled his Acura ARX-02a LMP1 car heading into turn 3 during a practice session for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the fun loving tequila drinking team was faced with that very task. After making sure that Sharp was still on point and stripping the wrecked Acura for whatever was still race worthy, all that the Acura racing team could do was wait.
The brand new carbon fiber tub arrived directly from Honda’s Performance Development center in California at the racetrack in Atlanta, Georgia at 9:30 AM on Friday morning and after 15 and a half hours of non stop wrenching, the ARX-02a’s 4.0 Liter V8 was fired at around 1:00 AM the next day. About six hours later the Acura took the shape of an LMP car and was on the track and race ready by 9:45 AM Saturday morning. It might have been a tall order, but remember what we said about how nothing can keep a racing team from competing.
If the Porsche racing drivers Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long can take home the checkered flag this Sunday at the upcoming round of the American Le Mans Series at Road America in Elkhart Lake, the pair will have won their sixth straight GT2 win in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The German Joerg Bergmeister said that: “Of course it would be great to continue our winning streak, … but it’s even more important for us to bring home as many points towards the championship as possible.”
Thanks to his American teammate Patrick Long, Bergmeister has already won as many races after just six rounds of competition than he did in the entire 2005 season when he won the championship behind the wheel of a Porsche. Jorg has already racked up 26 wins in the ALMS GT2 class, easily making him the most successful driver in the category. The fact that four of those wins came at Road America, more than any other driver, doesn’t hurt their chances at success. The German Porsche pilot Bergmeister has a very special relationship with the 14 turn 6.5 kilometer racing circuit. “This is my favorite track – it’s very fast, very hilly and very demanding,” and facing stiff competition from the likes of BMW, Chevrolet and Ferrari; he also said that: “If we want to do well here we have to give everything we’ve got.”
The ALMS race at Elkhart Lake will start on Sunday, August 16 at 3PM Eastern, but check your local listings for times, and will run for over 2:45 hours.
The GT field will look a little different in the 2010 Le Mans Series because a few teams will be both moving up and down in class. The Corvette Racing Team, hot off their GT1 win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be stepping down into the GT2 category in order to compete on the track with the same vehicles that the production car competes with in showrooms. Meanwhile, the Dutch super car builder Spyker, who has been competing in the GT2 category since 2002, has bigger dreams of entering their new C8 Aileron as a GT1 racecar.
The new C8 super car will make its production car debut at the Geneva Motor Show early next year, but on the racetrack the Spyker Squadron plans on entering two machines, while a privateer team will handle the older C8 Laviolette.
The C8 Aileron is powered by an Audi sourced 4.2 Liter engine that delivers 400 HP and will be available with two transmission options. The first is a 6 speed manual gearbox built by Getrag with a set of gear ratios perfectly matched to the FSI powered eight cylinder. If you want to shift your Spyker with paddles, you get a ZF 6 speed automatic. The Spyker C8 Aileron can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 4.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 187 MPH.
Things didn’t turn out as well as Dr. Ulrich and the rest of Team Audi would have liked, but at least an R15 made it onto the podium. It was a sight to see all three Peugeot 908s regroup for the final laps of the 24 hour race, in order for that oh so important photo finish after so many years of trying. Things didn’t turn out exactly as we predicted:
Like you saw in the video, a Peugeot 908 took the overall win as well as the LMP1 trophy.
In the smaller LMP2 category Team Essex’s Porsche RS Spyder took home first place in its category.
It is mid-June, the Nurburgring 24 has passed and the endurance race fans from around the world are gathering at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France. That is because this Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14 racing greats from around the world are competing in the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race twice around the clock includes vehicles from the ALMS as well as the LMS racing series which are made up of two classes of GT, production car based racers, and two classes of prototypes, this year’s race will include 20 of the big boy LMP1 machines all fighting each other as well as lapped traffic for an overall win.
The big battles lately have been between Audi’s and Peugeot’s endurance racing teams at these events. The German automaker is competing in their all new R15 racecar and Peugeot is bringing back their 908, except this time it has Formula 1 derived KERS. Reports from the racetrack say that the Audi camp has gotten a hold of some unfound speed from their previous entrant, the R10. The four ringed automaker has an excellent track record at the epic endurance race, with an Audi engine winning every year since 2000. 2003 was the only year that an Audi R chassis didn’t take home the victory, that year Audi’s factory efforts lent their services to fellow members of the Volkswagen family, creating the Bentley Speed 8. Ever since 2006 Audi’s racing team has been taking advantage of the rules regarding diesel powered race cars, a trend that has caught on with Peugeot.
This video was taken last weekend during the 1000 km of Spa, part of the 2009 Le Mans Series. The homologated road version, the Spyker C8 Laviolette LM85 is powered by a 4.2 Liter V8 producing 400 HP and the engine is mated to a manual six-speed Getrag gearbox. Perfect for taking down Porsches, Lamborghinis and even a few Ferraris.