The 15th and final season of the American Le Mans Series draws to a close this weekend at Road Atlanta for the annual Petit Le Mans. FOX Sports’ SPEED Blog continues its team-by-team preview with analysis GT class contenders for the 1,000-mile/10-hour enduro.
GT (11 Entries)
Corvette Racing (Corvette C6.R): After a dominant season that has seen five class victories, the factory Pratt & Miller squad has already clinched the teams’ and manufacturers’ championships for Chevrolet. With a 16-point lead, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia can walk away with the drivers’ title with a seventh place finish or higher on Saturday. The duo will be joined by recently crowned GRNAD-AM DP champion Jordan Taylor, with Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Richard Westbrook in the No. 4 Corvette.
BMW Team RLL (BMW Z4 GTE): While still holding a chance of taking the drivers’ title, BMW Team RLL’s Dirk Mueller will essentially need the No. 3 Corvette to hit trouble in order to have a chance of taking the title. The German will be joined by John Edwards and Bill Auberlen in the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE, while Uwe Alzen, Maxime Martin and Joerg Mueller handle driving duties of the black-liveried No. 55 entry.
SRT Motorsports (SRT Viper GTS-R): One year after its breakout performance, the Bill Riley-led SRT squad returns to Road Atlanta with a chance of ending the season with a win. The No. 91 Viper GTS-R of Dominik Farnbacher, Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel, along with the Jonathan Bomarito, Kuno Wittmer and Tommy Kendall-driven No. 93 entry could be contenders, depending if anyone else in the ultra-competitive production-based ranks up their game for the ALMS finale.
Risi Competizione (Ferrari F458 Italia): Coming off a breakthrough first win of the season at VIR, the Houston-based squad will be looking for two in a row in what’s been one of its most challenging years to date. Matteo Malucelli and Olivier Beretta are joined by rapid Scot Robin Liddell, who brings some much-needed new blood into the organization for the final ALMS race. While no doubt expected to be one of the quickest cars in the class, can it stay out of trouble?
CORE autosport (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR): Following a season-high second place result at VIR, CORE autosport will conclude its customer Porsche program at Road Atlanta, looking to potentially break through for the win. Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and Colin Braun, who has impressed at the wheel of the 2012-spec 911 GT3 RSR, lead the lineup again, along with Porsche Junior driver Michael Christensen. Look for the entry to challenge for the podium.
Team Falken Tire (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR): Carrying a new livery, the No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has been nicknamed “Falkenstein” for it being a combination of the Derrick Walker-led organization’s 2010 and 2012-spec cars after its primary car was heavily damaged in the start line accident at Baltimore. Nick Tandy rejoins Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler, hoping to bring some good luck with him as the team has yet to return to the podium since Sebring.
Paul Miller Racing (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR): The Porsche stalwarts have had a rough few races but haven’t given up just yet. Porsche factory driver Marco Holzer and Bryce Miller are joined by Emmanuel Collard to make a solid and steady lineup that could result in a top-five finish if attrition takes its toll.
Team West/AJR (Ferrari F458 Italia): In what’s likely to be the final race for the West/AJR partnership, the team’s Yokohama-shod Prancing Horse boasts a dynamic lineup featuring Leh Keen, Bill Sweedler and Johnny Mowlem. Not likely to set the world on fire, the addition of the Briton, in the final ALMS race, is fitting and also should help bring the car some extra speed.