SportsCars: 2013 Petit Le Mans P1/P2 Preview

2013 P1/P2 Preview. (Photo: John Dagys)

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 concludes its team-by-team preview with analysis of the P1 and P2 class contenders for the 1,000-mile/10-hour enduro.

TV Schedule (Saturday, Oct. 19):
11 a.m. – Noon ET on FOX Sports 2
2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2

P1 (4 Entries)

Muscle Milk Pickett Racing (HPD ARX-03c): Having already clinched the P1 championship, the Greg Pickett-owned team chases after its 9th straight win to close out a near perfect year. Full-season drivers Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr are rejoined by Porsche factory driver on-loan Romain Dumas, who also completed the lineup at the Twelve Hours of Sebring. Luhr will be searching for his record-extending 50th victory.

Rebellion Racing (Lola B12/60 Toyota): The Anglo-Swiss squad makes its ALMS return after contesting the first rounds of 2013. Heading into Petit Le Mans as defending overall winners, the battle for top honors this year will likely come down to a Muscle Milk vs. Rebellion fight again. Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost are joined by Nick Heidfeld this year. The second half of Rebellion’s squad will be competing some 7,000 miles away in the FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji race in Japan this weekend, looking for wins two continents.

Dyson Racing (Lola B12/60 Mazda): In what’s expected to be a last hurrah for the team’s Mazda-powered Lola, Dyson Racing will be looking for a steady, trouble-free run and a bit of luck in order to stand on one of the two top steps of the podium. Gentlemen drivers Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry are joined by Chris Dyson in the prototype that showed rejuvenated pace last time out at VIR. Fighting for the win this time, however, is not in the cards unless both Muscle Milk and Rebellion hit trouble.

DeltaWing Racing Cars (DeltaWing DWC13): Following outings at COTA and VIR, the DeltaWing Coupe makes its endurance race debut, with the clear target of getting to the checkered flag. One year ago, its predecessor, the Nissan-powered DW12, finished an impressive fifth overall. Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge will handle driving duties of the chrome-liveried beast, as one of only a handful of two-driver squads this weekend.

P2 (4 Entries)

Level 5 Motorsports (HPD ARX-03b): Having wrapped up the teams’ championship at VIR, Level 5’s focus is clearly on the drivers’ title for team owner Scott Tucker. With a six-point lead over ESM’s Scott Sharp, a win or second place finish for the No. 551 car of Tucker, Ryan Briscoe and Marino Franchitti would seal the deal. Level 5’s No. 552 entry, which will again play a supporting role, features the driving strength of Guy Cosmo as well as Jonny Kane and Peter Dumbreck, both of whom make their ALMS P2 debuts.

Extreme Speed Motorsports (HPD ARX-03b): The fight for P2 class honors could be one of the closest yet, with the ESM squad having made consistent gains all season. With sports car racing veteran David Brabham returning to the saddle, teaming with Scott Sharp and Antony Lazzaro, the No. 01 entry could be a car to watch. Johannes van Overbeek, Ed Brown and Rob Bell complete ESM’s lineup in the No. 02 HPD, which will be looking for its second podium in the last three races.