SportsCars: 2013 Petit Le Mans PC Preview

The 2013 edition of is ready to roll. (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 continues its team-by-team preview with analysis of the Prototype Challenge 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

PC (7 Entries)

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports: Heading into the season finale with a 11-point lead, PR1/Mathiasen’s Mike Guasch will need a fourth place finish or higher to be crowned PC drivers’ champion. The accomplished gentleman driver will be joined by longtime coach Dane Cameron and David Cheng in the No. 52 entry, which is currently tied for the lead in the teams’ championship with CORE autosport.

CORE autosport: While team owner Jon Bennett sits 12 points out of the lead, his CORE autosport team heads into Petit Le Mans neck and neck with the Bobby Oergel-owned PR1 squad. A runner-up finish at VIR helped get the team back on track following a technical infraction at COTA which wiped their points away from the Texas round. Tom Kimber-Smith and Mark Wilkins complete the driver lineup this weekend.

BAR1 Motorsports: Still within a shout of the title, the Brian Alder-owned team could mathematically walk away with both the drivers’ and teams’ championships but will need both PR1 and CORE to hit trouble. However, on the heels of back-to-back class wins, look for the No. 8 Oreca FLM09 of Kyle Marcelli, Chris Cumming and Stefan Johansson to be on the top of their game. The No. 7 car will feature the driving strength of Tomy Drissi, Rusty Mitchell and James French.

Performance Tech: Still soaking up its maiden win on the streets of Baltimore, Performance Tech could be a potential sleeper for a podium on Saturday. Full season pilots Tristan Nunez and Charlie Shears lead the driving charge in the No. 18 machine. Nunez, who currently sits 5th in the title race, holds an outside chance of the title should PR1, BAR1 and CORE fail to finish.

RSR Racing: After being forced to miss the last round at VIR, the Paul Gentilozzi-led squad returns with a stout lineup in its Oreca FLM09. Bruno Junqueira and Duncan Ende, two-time winners this year, will be joined by open-wheel rising star Gustavo Menezes, who will be making his sports car racing debut. A podium finish is likely to be in the cards for this non-championship contending entry.

8Star Motorsports: The Enzo Potolicchio-owned squad makes its debut with a lineup filled with youth and experience. Sports car racing veteran Ozz Negri teams with IMSA Prototype Lites points leader Sean Rayhall. It’s one of the few two-driver lineups in the field for the 1,000-mile enduro but also a learning experience for all involved as 8Star plans a full-season PC assault in 2014.