2002 was the fourth season for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The rules for the series followed those of the legendary 24 Hour of Le Mans which meant there were four classes.

  • Le Mans Prototype 900 (LMP900) – These were the purpose-built race cars powered by a 6.0-liter normally aspirated or 4.0-liter turbocharged engine. The cars could weigh no less than 900-kilograms. Audi, BMW and Cadillac entered two factory supported cars. Privateer teams entered cars manufactured by Riley & Scott, Lola and Panoz.
  • Le Mans Prototype 675 (LMP675) – Introduced in 2001 was the LMP675 class for cars which could weigh no less than 675-kilograms. The rules were for the cars were written so that the two LMP classes (LMP900 and LMP675) would be contending for the overall win.
  • Grand Touring Sport (GTS) – This class included production-based cars such as the Dodge Viper GTS.R, Chevrolet Corvette C5.R, Saleen S7.R and Porsche 911 Turbo. The cars were permitted to use 8.0-liter normally aspirated or 4.0-liter turbocharged engines. These cars could weigh no less than 1,100-kilograms.
  • Grand Touring (GT) – The GT cars were also restricted to an 1,100-kilogram weight rule and had similar engine limitations as the GTS class. These were also production-based cars such as the BMW M3, Porsche GT3RS and Chevrolet Corvette C5-R. Unlike the GTS entries, competitors in this category could not use carbon fiber brakes.

The ALMS schedule included ten North American events in 2002. The opening round was the 12 Hours of Sebring. It was followed Sonoma, Mid-Ohio, Elkhart Lake and the inaugural National Grand Prix at Washington, D.C. After these weekends the championship headed to Canada with a stop at Trois-Rivieres and Mosport. The teams then travel west in September to compete at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The penultimate round will take place at the new Miami street circuit and the finale will be Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

The city of Trois-Rivieres had been hosting car races since 1967. The current, 1.521-mile eleven-turn layout was first used in 1994. This would be the American Le Mans Series first visit to the temporary street circuit.

Round six of the 2002 American Le Mans Series and twenty-six entries prepare to enter the front straight for the Starter’s green flag. Pacing the field is the pole-sitter, Emanuele Pirro in the No. 2 Audi Sport North America Audi R8. Sharing the front row with Pirro is another Audi R8 entered by Champion Racing and driven by Johnny Herbert. Behind the top qualifiers is the No. 51 Panoz and the Dyson Racing Riley & Scott.
An abbreviated qualifying session due to an accident prevented the driver of the No. 1 Audi R8, Tom Kristensen from getting a clean lap. As a result, Kristensen and his co-driver, Rinaldo Capello would start twentieth in the twenty-six car field. By lap-25 of the race, Kristensen was on the tail of the leaders. While the competition, encounter issues the pair had a relatively clean run and claimed their second victory of the season.
All season the GTS class battle was between the No. 3 Corvette of Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell and the No. 4 entry shared by Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins. At the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, the victory went to Pilgrim and Collins. This was their second win of the season. The pair started behind their teammates, Fellows and O’Connell but took the lead when O’Connell hit a tire barrier and lost valuable time.
John Field’s Intersport team and the new Lola EX257 were clearly the class of the LMP675 field. Field and his co-drivers had earned five poles in five starts. Unfortunately, the Lola was not reliable and many races became survival of the fittest. Team Bucknum Racing scored their first series victory at Mid-Ohio when the Intersport Lola failed. Jeff Bucknum, Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman survived Trois-Rivieres for another win.
The Alex Job prepared Porsches qualified first and second in the GT class. Leading the way was the No. 23 entry shared by Sascha Maassen and qualified by Lucas Luhr. Luhr was in first place during his stint but with twenty-five minutes remaining in the event, Maassen was passed by the other Job Porsche driven by Timo Bernhard. With just five minutes left in the contest, Bernhard went wide and Maassen retook first place and the win.
The American Le Mans Series podium for the GTS category at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. The winners for the second time this season is Corvette Racing’s, Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins. To the right are the second place finishers and the class point leaders, Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell. Completing the rostrum are Mimmo Schiattarella and Emanuele Naspetti drivers of the Team Olive Garden Ferrari 550 Maranello.
As it has been all season, the two Corvette Racing entries ran in tandem with the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C5.R shared by Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell leading the way. During the pit-stop, the team changed drivers and put O’Connell behind the wheel for the final stint. Shortly, after his return to the circuit, he failed to negotiate the Porte Duplessis turn and hit the tire barrier. The pair would have to settle for second in GTS.
The GT title chase was similar to that of the GTS category where the two Corvette entries would battle for the championship. In GT, it was the Alex Job Racing team with two Porsche GT3RS that would fight for class supremacy. At Trois-Rivieres, the No. 22 Porsche driven by Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister qualified second but led the middle portion of the event. An error by Bernhard cost them the victory - they finished second.
Drivers, Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, entered round six at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres with the points lead. The duo was victorious at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Pirro performed the qualifying duties this weekend and won the pole – almost a second quicker than the second place starter, Johnny Herbert. He and his co-driver, Biela dominated the race early but a series of errors cost them the victory.
The American Le Mans Series podium for the GT category at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. In the center and capturing their fourth victory of the season are the class point’s leaders from Alex Job Racing, Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr. Standing to their right are their teammates who took the runner-up position, Jorg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard. Completing the rostrum are The Racers Group, Kevin Buckler and Michael Schrom.
Johnny Herbert driving the Champion Racing Audi R8 qualified on the outside of the front row. At the start of the race, Herbert was hit by the LMP675 pole-sitter, Chad Block. Herbert had to make a stop to replace the damaged rear bodywork but over the next hour, he was able to catch the leaders. His teammate, Stefan Johansson drove the final stint but lost a lap when he received a penalty for a yellow flag incident, they finished third.
Archangel Motorsports entered Trois-Rivieres with five LMP675 podiums in five race weekends. After Road America, the team increased the Lola’s performance by reducing the car’s weight and modifying the Millington engine. With the retirement of the quicker Lola EX257s, drivers Ben Devlin and Marc-Antoine Camirand took the class lead but the motor failed with just two minutes left in the contest, they were classified second.
The factory Dodge Vipers, which dominated the GTS category in 2000, were now campaigned by a privateer effort, America Viperacing. The team entered two Vipers but, they were no match for the Corvettes. Sharing the No. 44 Dodge Viper GTS.R were team owner, Tom Weickardt and successful club racer, Kevin Allen. With less than an hour in the event, Allen was driving when the throttle stuck and he crashed in turn one.
The only team threatening the domination of Alex Job Racing in the GT category was Kevin Buckler’s team, The Racers Group. Buckler along with B.J. Zacharias was victorious at Mid-Ohio. At Trois-Rivieres, Bucker shared the Porsche with Michael Schrom and started fourth in class. Despite being hit by the Panoz of LMP900 competitor, Jan Magnussen the duo was able to continue and finish third in their class.
Making their American Le Mans Series debut at Trois-Rivieres was Canadian Formula Ford racer, Melanie Paterson and SCCA Trans-Am competitor, Paul Fix. The No. 19 Lola B2K/40 prepared by Essex Racing started twenty-third overall and fifth in the LMP675 category. Drivers, Paterson and Fix, were able to capitalize on the misfortunes of the other competitors and capture the final position on the class podium.
Team Olive Garden was making progress with their Ferrari 550 Maranello but still could not match the pace of the Corvettes. Their best results to date were a pair of third-place finishes at Road America and the Grand Prix of Washington, D.C. At Trois-Rivieres, drivers, Mimmo Schiattarella and Emanuele Naspetti started and finished third in the GTS category - albeit three laps behind the class-winning Corvette.
The American Le Mans Series podium for the LMP675 category at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres. In the center of the rostrum are the class winners for the second time this season Team Bucknum Racing drivers, Jeff Bucknum, Chris McMurry and Bryan Willman. Standing to the left of the victors are the runner-up’s, Ben Devlin and local racer, Marc-Antione Camirand. Completing the podium are the rookies, Melanie Paterson and Paul Fix.

1LMP900Capello / KristensenAudi R8Audi Sport166-
2LMP900Biela / PirroAudi R8Audi Sport166-
3LMP900Johansson / HerbertAudi R8Champion Racing165-
4LMP900Herta / AuberlenPanoz LMP01Panoz Motor Sports162-
5GTSPilgrim / CollinsChevrolet CorvetteCorvette Racing155-
6LMP900Brabham / MagnussenPanoz LMP01Panoz Motor Sports154-
7GTSFellows / O'ConnellChevrolet Corvette C5.RCorvette Racing153-
8GTSSchiattarella / NaspettiFerrari 550Team Olive Garden152-
9GTMaassen / LuhrPorsche GT3RSAlex Job Racing151-
10GTBernhard / BergmeisterPorsche GT3RSAlex Job Racing151-
11LMP900Dyson / WeaverRiley & Scott Mk IIIADyson Racing148-
12GTBuckler / SchromPorsche GT3RSThe Racer's Group147-
13GTVeilleux / DumoulinPorsche GT3RSThe Racer's Group146-
14LMP675McMurry / Willman / BucknumPilbeam MP84Team Bucknum Racing145-
15LMP675Devlin / CamirandLola B2K/40Archangel Motorsports142Engine
16LMP675Fix / PatersonLola B2K/40Essex Racing139-
17LMP900Macaluso / LallyLola B2K/10Intersport132-
18GTBaron / HinderyPorsche GT3RSOrbit117-
19GTSFranchitti / BuntingDodge Viper GTS-RAmerican Viperacing109-
20GTSWeickardt / AllenDodge Viper GTS-RAmerican Viperacing95Accident
21GTGleason / AssentatoBMW M3Alegra Motorsports87Engine
22GTGabel / de QuesadaBMW M3Alegra Motorsports64Mechanical
23GTSKonrad / BorchellerSaleen S7-RKonrad Motorsport49Engine
24LMP675Field / FieldLola EX257Intersport Racing29Mechanical
25LMP675Julien / MerzonPorsche GT3RSPorschehaus Racing25Mechanical
26LMP675Block / KnightLola EX257KnightHawk Racing0Mechanical

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