2003 was the fifth season for the American Le Mans Series. 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 vehicles could weigh no less than 900-kilograms. Audi supported two teams. Privateers entered cars manufactured by Riley & Scott, Lola, Dallara and Panoz.
  • Le Mans Prototype 675 (LMP675) – Introduced in 2001 was the LMP675 class for cars that could weigh no less than 675-kilograms. The rules for the vehicles were written so that the two LMP classes (LMP900 and LMP675) would contend 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 Ferrari 550 Maranello. The vehicles 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 a 1,100-kilogram weight rule. This category also included production-based vehicles. Competitors raced cars such as the BMW M3, Porsche GT3RS and Ferrari 360 Modena. Unlike the GTS entries, teams in this category could not use carbon fiber brakes.

The ALMS schedule included nine North American events in 2003. The opening round was the 12 Hours of Sebring. It was followed by the first of two races at Road Atlanta, Sonoma and the series second visit to Trois Rivieres. The second Canadian event was held at Mosport, next up was Road America, then Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the Miami street circuit.

The final race of the 2003 American Le Mans Series season was Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. This event would determine many driving, team and manufacturer titles. It was also a qualifying event for the 2004 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the class winners receiving automatic invitations to compete in the French classic.

Sebring would mark the opening race of the 2003 American Le Mans Series season. Drivers would compete for twelve-hours around the seventeen-turn 3.74-mile road course in the 51st Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.

With three consecutive victories at the 12-Hours of Sebring in would be difficult to bet against an Audi R8 not winning. Frank Biela was third quickest in qualifying but inherited the pole when the two Bentley Speed 8s were sent to the back of the grid for a rear diffuser issue. Sharing the Team Joest Audi R8 with Biela were Marco Werner and Philipp Peter. During the race, they battled with the Champion Audi but came out on top.
Three GT drivers beat the existing GT track record in qualifying. One of them was Sascha Maassen who was third quickest driving the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3RS. Maassen’s co-driver for the event was Lucas Luhr. During the race, the pair was challenged for the class lead by the White Lightning Racing Porsche. The duo was eventually able to pull away from the White Lightning team and won by a one-lap margin.
Claiming victory in the LMP675 category was the No. 20 Dyson Racing entry driven by Chris Dyson, Chad Block and 2001 class champion, Didier de Radigues. The team’s Lola EX257 would start fourth in class. During the race, the trio encountered a number of problems which included returning to the paddock for repairs to the suspension. But in the end, they had fewer issues and completed more laps than their competition.
The defending race winners, Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell along with Frank Freon won this year’s GTS category by a comfortable sixteen-lap margin. Ron Fellows performed the qualifying duties for the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C5.R and was second in GTS. Early in the race, their teammates and the No. 80 Ferrari battle for the lead. Mechanical issues took the two main combatants out of contention and gave the No. 3 Corvette the victory.
The Bentley Team became the favourites to win when they set the quickest time in the opening practice session – two-seconds faster than the defending race winners from Audi. The two Bentley Speed 8s qualified first and second, however, they were sent to the back of the grid after their rear diffusers failed technical inspection. The two entries drove through the field with the No. 8 Bentley finishing third overall and first in LMP GTP.
The DBA4-03S competed in the LMP675 category. Driving the car during qualifying was John Nielsen who was fifth fastest but would start second in class. Sharing the DBA4-03S with sports car veteran, Nielsen was Japanese driver, Hayanari Shimoda. Nielsen inherited the lead on lap-6 when James Weaver encountered problems. However, their race only lasted four hours. They finished third, despite suffering a mechanical issue.
The White Lightning Racing Porsche GT3RS shared by Johnny Mowlem, Nic Jonsson and Craig Stanton started fourth in the GT category. After twelve hours of competition, the trio finished second in class. However, they failed the post-race technical inspection. It was alleged that the fuel capacity of the car exceeded 100-liters. The team appealed and were reinstated after the procedure for measuring the fuel cell was challenged.
Another contender benefitting from Team Bentley’s technical infraction was Champion Racing. The No. 38 Audi R8 shared by J.J. Lehto, Emanuele Pirro and Stefan Johansson would start second. During the twelve hours, the trio traded the top spot with the Team Joest Audi R8. An early pit-stop in the final ninety-minutes put them behind their competition. Unable to close the gap, they finished second – 13.493-seconds behind the winners.
The German team, Seikel Motorsport winners of the 2001 24-Hours of Le Mans entered two Porsche GT3RS. The quicker of the pair was No. 53 Porsche shared by Gabrio Rosa, Andrea Chiesa and former Formula One driver, Alex Caffi. They were gridded forty-third overall and eighteenth in the GT category. The trio ran a consistent pace and relatively trouble-free race. At the checkered flag, they were third in class.
There were three Ferrari 550 Maranellos entered in the GTS class but they were no match for the Corvettes. The quickest in qualifying was the No. 80 Ferrari shared by Darren Turner, Kelvin Burt and Anthony Davidson. They were gridded eighteenth overall for the start. During the race, the team fought the No. 4 Corvette for first in class. A series of issues took them out of contention and resulted in a runner-up place finish.
American Viperacing which had campaigned two Dodge Viper GTS.R the last couple of seasons was scaling back to one Viper but entering the new Pagani Zonda. Competing in the GTS category, the Zonda is manufactured at the Pagani factory in Modena, Italy. The car is powered by a V12 Mercedes-Benz engine. Unfortunately, the Zonda did not have an impressive debut. Drivers, Mike Hezemans and Anthony Kumpen, retired after six laps.
Sharing the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5.R were Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim. Gavin grabbed the GTS pole with the team started fifteenth overall. Early in the event, the team swapped the class lead with the No. 80 Ferrari. They were able to ‘shake off’ the Ferrari and their teammates to build a comfortable lead. Unfortunately, the trio retired with a transmission failure but completed enough laps to finish third.
Dyson Racing made their LMP675 debut at Mosport last season. The new Lola EX257 proved to be quick but unreliable. Despite the Lola’s lack of dependability, drivers of the No. 16 car, James Weaver, Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger were favoured to take the class win. In qualifying, Weaver won the LMP675 pole. He jumped into the lead but on lap-6 a steering rack issue resulted in a lengthy repair and took the team out of contention.
Timo Bernhard captured the GT pole driving an Alex Job Racing-prepared Porsche GT3RS. Sharing the Porsche with Bernhard was Jorg Bergmeister. The No. 24 car jumped into an early lead - followed by their teammates and the White Lightning entry. After just two hours into the race, they pitted with a transmission oil cooler problem. They lost over thirty-minutes for repairs but were able to return to the race and finish fifth in class.

1LMP900Biela / Werner / PeterAudi R8Infineon Team Joest367-
2LMP900Lehto / Johansson / PirroAudi R8Champion Racing367-
3LMPGTPHerbert / Brabham / BlundellBentley Speed 8Team Bentley363-
4LMPGTPSmith / Capello / Kristensen Bentley Speed 8Team Bentley362-
5LMP900Beretta / Jeannette / PapisPanoz LMP 01JML Team Panoz352-
6LMP900Salo / Kane / McCarthyAudi R8Audi Sport UK351-
7LMP900Theys / Lienhard / van de PoeleDallara SP1Doran Lista Racing336-
8GTSFellows / O'Connell / FreonChevrolet CorvetteCorvette Racing332-
9LMP900Maxwell / Graham / LeuenbergerPanoz LMP 01JML Team Panoz324-
10GTMaassen / LuhrPorsche GT3RSAlex Job Racing320-
11GTMowlem / Stanton / JonssonPorsche GT3RSWhite Lightning319-
12LMP900Lewis / Drissi / CosmoRiley & Scott MKIIIC American Spirit Racing318-
13GTSTurner / Burt / DavidsonFerrari 550Prodrive316-
14GTRosa / Caffi / ChiesaPorsche GT3RSeikel Motorsport312-
15GTGregoire / Babini / PescatoriFerrari 360 GTJMB Racing 311-
16LMP900Andrews / Keen / ObertoLola B2K/10Taurus Sports Racing307-
17GTBernhard / BergmeisterPorsche GT3RSAlex Job Racing307-
18LMP675de Radigues / Block / DysonLola EX257Dyson Racing306-
19GTGleason / Wagner / BuntingPorsche GT3RSThe Racer's Group299-
20GTBarff / Hay / StantonTVR Tuscan T400RDeWalt Racesport 297-
21GTBuckler / Pace / SalazarPorsche GT3RSThe Racer's Group293-
22GTFitzgerald / Policastro / PolicastroPorsche GT3RSOrbit Racing292-
23GTPumpelly / Lally / IvankovichPorsche GT3RSZip Racing290-
24GTRice / Ehret / SchromPorsche GT3RSThe Racer's Group288-
25LMP900Matthews / Goossens / MagnussenRiley & Scott MKIIIC Jim Matthews Racing284Mechanical
26GTSGavin / Collins / PilgrimChevrolet CorvetteCorvette Racing283Mechnical
27GTEarle / Manfredi / GarbagnatiFerrari 360 GTJMB Racing 283-
28GTSBelloc / Weickardt / AltenburgDodge Viper GTS-RCarsport America280Mechanical
29GTLloyd / Collin / ShepPorsche GT3RSSeikel Motorsport278Transmission
30LMP675Field / Dayton / DurandLola EX257Intersport Racing266-
31GTForgeois / Clark / VancePorsche GT3RST2M Motorsport263Suspension
32GTSKonrad / Nearn / SeilerSaleen S7.RKonrad Motorsport249-
33GTSDavies / Kox / EngeFerrari 550Prodrive245Clutch
34GTFranchitti / McGarrityFerrari 360 GTRisi Competizione243Accident
35GTDonaldson / Hayden / FiskenPorsche GT3RSP.K. Sport240-
36GTZacharias / Lewis / DavisFerrari 360 GTACEMCO Motorsports233Transmission
37GTSaid / Jones / de QuesadaBMW M3Alegra Motorsports141Engine
38GTFoster / Nyberg / SkeltonPorsche GT3RSHyper Sport125Driveshaft
39GTSimon / Hugenholtz / van SchooteSpyker C8 12RSpyker Squadron103Engine
40GTSErdos / Chaves / PickeringSaleen S7.RGraham Nash Motorsport97Transmission
41GTLiddell / Masarati / WarnockPorsche GT3RSP.K. Sport74Engine
42LMP675Shimoda / NielsenWR LMP-02RN Motorsports73Mechanical
43LMP900James / Roussel / ZiegelmanNorma M2000-2Sezio Florida Racing Team71Transmission
44GTDaoudi / Lechner, Jr. / FomenkoPorsche GT3RSRWX-Yukos Motorsport70Engine
45GTSNaspetti/Cecotto/SchiattarellaFerrari 550Team Olive Garden59Transmission
46GTMurry / Jackson / CunninghamPorsche GT3RSJ-3 Racing57Mechanical
47LMP675Devlin / Workman / PatersonLola B2K/40Marshall Cooke Racing50Engine
48GTBorcheller / Kelleners / LazzaroFerrari 360 GTRisi Competizione39Wheel
49LMP675Weaver / Leitzinger / WallaceLola EX257Dyson Racing39Steering
50LMP675Willman / Bucknum / McMurryPilbeam MP91Team Bucknum37Electrical
51GTBaron / Lieb / HinderyPorsche GT3RSOrbit Racing26Engine
52LMP900Dumas / Herta / StirlingReynard 01QTeam Nasamax14Engine
53LMP900Campbell-Walter / McKellar, Jr.Lister Storm LMPLister Storm Racing10Engine
54GTSHezemans / KumpenPagani Zonda GRCarsport America6Engine
55LMP900Field / Sutherland / MacalusoLola B2K/10Intersport Racing196Disqualified

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