By Mike Gillilan | August 10, 2013
We have reached the beginning of the end of the 2013 ALMS season. The Orion Energy Systems 245 held at Road America is Round 6 of the season. This is time of year when drivers and teams start to solidify their contracts for the next year. What is unique about this weekend is the fact that it’s a double header with Grand-Am Racing. Think of it as a prelude to next year’s combined United SportsCar Racing series. This will also be a good indication of how slow Grand-Am classes are compared to ALMS classes in roughly the same environment. We all know that the ALMS P1 class is going away, so the question is, just how much faster is P2 class compared to Grand-Am’s Daytona Prototype class? Grand-AM GT compared to ALMS GT? But, that’s a diversion to today’s article and probably a topic for a future article!
Running about 90 mins north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, surrounded by trees, trees, and yet more trees, is Road America. Road America is one of the longer tracks in North America with a length of 4.048 miles. Home to the “carousel” (turns 9~10) and the infamous “kink” (turn 11) right hand turn. Seriously, turn 11 is one of the coolest and scariest turns in racing. Hit it with the proper line and you can fly through there without lifting the throttle. Hit it with a few inches off the line…disaster. Those that can’t race there in-real-life should fire up Gran Tursimo / Forza 4 and try it for yourself!
What to watch for?
In P1. Umm.. Unless something happens, Muscle Milk will just walk away with this. There really isn’t any competition for them in this class now that Dyson Racing is just renting out their car, Rebellion Racing is staying in Europe, and the DeltaWing is still in development. Basically, this is a glorified, 2 hour 45 min, test session for Muscle Milk.
Moving on to P2. Expect A LOT of back and fourth between Level 5 and ESM. Level 5 my have the experience with P2 cars, but ESM has been around longer with it’s experience racing Ferraris in GT. What’s more, Level 5 has brought in Indy Car (and ex-P1 ALMS) driver Simon Pagenaud to help out this weekend. Making this hard to tell who’ll come out on top. Pit strategy will play a more important role for the winner. Marino Franchitti set a blistering to 1:54.806 to clench pole for Level 5 Motorsports.
GT. Ummm.. I’ve said it a thousand times before. GT is where it’s at! Some of the best racing in the world. These are production based cars, tuned for racing, some factory backed teams, some privateer teams. Ferrari, BMW, SRT Viper, Corvette, and Porsche are all represented. Always good for some really great racing action! Jonathan Bomarito piloted his #93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R to cross the start/finish line with a staggering 2:03.410 to grab the pole. That was 0.802 seconds ahead of the Corvette C6 ZR1 of Antonio Garcia! Not bad for a team that came to race at last years Road America race for the first time ever! The Porsches seemed to fair better this weekend then the last race at MoSport (er, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park). Where are the BMWs and Ferraris? Good question. Maybe sandbagging??
In GTC. Expect some more intense racing with the championship points heating up. Spencer Pumpelly picked up the pole in the #45 Flying Lizards Porsche 911. For our Utah readers, 17 year old local, Madison Snow, will be racing for his first time in ALMS GTC class along side Wisconsin local, Jeff Courtney in the No. 68 TRG Porsche. Jeff normally runs in Pirelli World Challenge series, while Madison can be seen ripping up the track in IMSA GT3 Challenge series – where he won the 2 IMSA GT3 races this weekend!
How to watch:
Well, this one IS NOT being streamed in the USofA. But there is live “flag-to-flag” coverage on ABC starting at 3pm ET on Sunday (8/11/13).
For those outside of the USA, point your browsers to ALMS.com.
[photo Mike Gillilan]