WHAT: Now in its third year, the American Le Mans Series will make the third stop of its nine-race series at Sears Point Raceway, July 20-22, for The X-Factor Grand Prix of Sonoma, presented by ACDelco and Foster's Lager. Top racing teams, manufacturers, and drivers will be featured in a 2 hour, 45 minute endurance race around the twisting 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course on July 22.
WHERE: Sears Point Raceway, Highways 37 & 121, Sonoma.
WHEN/COURSE: July 20-22, 2001; 12-turn, 2.52 mile road course.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Fans will see exotic, sleek sports cars traveling at well over 150 mph through the twists and turns of Sears Point Raceway. Audi has won the first two races of the ALMS season at Texas and Sebring (Fla.) and should be the favorite in the Le Mans Prototype (LMP) class at Sears Point. Audi is also the defending champion at Sears Point and turned the fastest lap in the track's 33-year history last year at 112.440 mph behind driver Allan McNish, McNish has since moved on to become a test driver in Formula One. Top drivers from Audi include Rinaldo Capello, Emanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen. The Audi will be tested by Panoz and drivers David Brabham and Jan Magnussen, as well as Cadillac.
Many of the top manufacturers will be featured during the weekend, including Audi, Cadillac, BMW, Porsche, Panoz, Saleen and Dodge. The cars are actually separated into four classes that all race at the same time. It would be similar to having the NASCAR Winston Cup, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on the track at the same time. The ALMS classes include Le Mans Prototype (LMP) 900, LMP 675, Grand Touring Series (GTS), and Grand Touring (GT). Top drivers include: Ron Fellows (Corvette, GTS), Sascha Maassen (BMW, GT), JJ Lehto (BMW, GT), David Brabham (Panoz, LMP 900), Terry Borcheller (Saleen, GTS), Hans Stuck (BMW, GT), Lucas Luhr (Porsche, GT), and Dirk Muller (BMW, GT).
IN ADDITION: An exciting addition to the weekend at Sears Point will be the popular Trans-Am Series, America's oldest road-racing series. The series, which returns to Sears Point for the first time in six years, will feature competition between points leader Paul Gentilozzi and 2000 Trans-Am Champion Brian Simo. Former Le Mans driver Tommy Archer will also compete. In addition, the weekend will see the debut of the new Historic IMSA GTP Series, featuring many of the great Prototypes of the 80's and 90's in a 30-minute contest prior to the start of the ALMS race on Sunday, as well as the Speedvision World Challenge.
SCHEDULE: Trans-Am: Qualifying, Friday, July 20, at 2:20 p.m., with the main event set for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ALMS: Qualifying, Saturday, 4:55 p.m., with the main event set for Sunday at noon. Speedvision World Challenge: Qualifying, Saturday, 10:15 a.m., with the main event set for Sunday at 3:15 p.m.
TICKETS: Tickets are $5 on Friday, $25 on Saturday, and $40 on Sunday at the gate. Parking is free. A three-day pass is available for $55 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free. For more information, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.searspoint.com or www.tickets.com.
Grand Prix of Sonoma History
Sears Point Records: LMP 900: Allan McNish (Audi) 1 minute, 20.683 seconds (112.440 mph), 2000 LMP 675: To be established GTS: Olivier Beretta and David Donohue (Dodge Viper GTS) 1 minute, 30.621 seconds (100.10 mph), 1999 GT: Dirk Muller (Porsche 911) 1 minute, 35.707 seconds (94.789 mph), 2000
2000 Grand Prix of Sonoma Winners: Prototype: Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello (Audi R8) GTS: David Donohue and Tommy Archer (Dodge Viper GTS-R) GT: Dirk Muller and Lucas Luhr (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Current Points Standings: LMP 900: Rinaldo Capello (Audi) 59 Tom Kristensen (Audi) 54 Emanuele Pirro (Audi) 50 Frank Biela (Audi) 49 Andy Wallace (Audi) 42 Dorsey Schroeder (Audi) 41 Laurent Aiello (Audi) 31 Michele Alboreto (Audi) 31 Ralf Kelleners (Audi) 24 Guy Smith (Audi) 23
GT: Sascha Maassen (Porsche) 56 Lucas Luhr (Porsche) 55 Randy Pobst (Porsche) 47 Christian Menzel (Porsche) 47 Boris Said III (BMW) 41 Hans Stuck (BMW) 41 Jörg Müller (BMW) 40 JJ Lehto (BMW) 39 Christophe Bouchut (Porsche) 34 Emmanuel Collard 30
LMP 675: Steven Knight (Lola) 26
GTS: Terry Borcheller (Saleen) 52 Ron Fellows (Corvette) 50 Johnny O'Connell (Corvette) 49 Andy Pilgrim (Corvette) 43 Kelly Collins (Corvette) 43 Tom Weickardt (Viper) 39 Joe Ellis (Viper) 39 Franz Konrad (Saleen) 30 Oliver Gavin (Saleen) 30 Franck Freon (Corvette) 26