2006 was the eighth season for the American Le Mans Series. The only significant change to the championship involved this year’s schedule. There would no longer be two events at Road Atlanta. The Road Atlanta date would be replaced by a race weekend at Houston’s Reliant Park. Also, Infineon Raceway was dropped in favour of a new venue in Salt Lake City called Miller Motorsports Park.

The rules for the championship were the same as those used at the legendary 24-Hour of Le Mans. This meant there were four categories competing for class honours.

  • Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) – 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 924-kilograms (approximately 2,040-pounds). Competing in the series was the new factory supported diesel-powered Audi R10. Privateer teams were entered in cars such as the Lola B06/10, Creation CA06/H, MG-Lola EX257 and Zytek 06S.
  • Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) – LMP675 class was introduced in 2001 for vehicles that could weigh no less than 675-kilograms. In 2004, this became the LMP2 class and the minimum weight was set at 775-kilograms (approximately 1,708-pounds). The rules were written so that the two LMP classes (LMP1 and LMP2) would be contending for the overall win. Manufacturers producing cars for this category included Courage, Lola, Radial and Porsche.
  • Grand Touring 1 (GT1) – This class included production-based vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, Saleen S7-R and Aston Martin DBR9. The cars were permitted to use 8.0-liter normally aspirated or 4.0-liter turbocharged engines. These vehicles could weigh no less than 1,125-kilograms (approximately 2,480-pounds).
  • Grand Touring 2 (GT2) – The GT cars were also restricted to a 1,125-kilogram weight rule and had similar engine limitations as the GT1 class. These were also production-based machines, which included vehicles such as the BMW M3, Porsche GT3RSR, Panoz Esperante GT-LM and Ferrari F430 GTC.

The 2006 American Le Mans Series schedule includes ten North American events. The season kicks off with the 54th edition of 12 Hours of Sebring. It is followed by a new venue - the temporary street circuit at Houston’s Reliant Park. At the end of May, teams travel to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Then the championship takes a break in June to allow some teams to compete at the 24-Hour of Le Mans. In early July, competitors return to North America to participate in the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. The series then heads to the West Coast for race weekends at the new Miller Motorsports Park and Portland International Raceway. After the West Coast swing, events are held at Road America and the series only Canadian stop, Mosport International Raceway. The penultimate round is a visit to Road Atlanta for Petit Le Man. Class winners at this event earn an automatic invitation to next year’s 24-Hours of Le Mans. In October, the 2006 season comes to a close with a 4-hour contest at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Round 8 of the 2006 American Le Mans Series was held at Mosport International Raceway. The Labour Day Weekend Grand Prix of Mosport was a two-hour, forty-five-minute contest around the ten-turn 2.459-mile road course. Torrential rain during the scheduled qualifying period resulted in the cancellation of the session. The starting grid was determined by the times set during the practices.

Starting on the pole and leading the field into Mosport International Raceway’s first turn is Butch Leitzinger in the Dyson Racing Lola B06/10. Behind Leitzinger is the LMP1 points leader, Rinaldo Capello, who was gridded on the outside of the front row. Following the leaders are the second entries from Audi Sport North America and Dyson. Between these two LMP1 competitors is the LMP2 class Penske Porsche RS Spyder.
The LMP1 point leaders, Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello, were gridded second. Though out the contest, the No. 2 Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI battled with the two Dyson Racing Lola B06/10. But the diesel Audi got better fuel mileage and spent less time in the pits. The pair won by a margin of 2.794-seconds and Capello earned the LMP1 Driver’s championship with two events remaining.
The LMP2 pole went to the No. 7 Penske Motorsports Porsche RS Spyder piloted by Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas. In addition to their teammates, Timo Bernhard and Sascha Maassen, there was only one additional LMP2 entry - Intersport Racing. The Penske Porsches were on different pit-strategies. After two-hours, forty-five minutes of racing, the Luhr/Dumas was Porsche was fifth overall and first in class.
Starting thirteenth overall and first in GT2 was the No. 62 Ferrari F430 GTC shared by Stephane Ortelli and Johnny Mowlem. Ortelli drove the first stint and lost a position as the result of the GT1 pace lap incident. After this initial setback, the duo had a relatively trouble-free event. There were several incidents that removed many of the faster GT2 cars from contention and allowed Ortelli and Mowlem to cruise to the victory.
The Labour Day Weekend Grand Prix of Mosport podium for the GT2 competitors. Standing on the top step are Johnny Mowlem and Stephane Ortelli. This was the first victory of the year for pair but their Ferrari had two wins with drivers, Jaime Melo and Mika Salo. The second-place finishers, Toni Vilander and Maurizio Mediani, are on the left side of the rostrum. Completing the podium are Marc Lieb and Johannes van Overbeek.
A pace lap incident resulted in a stop-and-go penalty for the No. 007 Aston Martin and No. 3 Corvette. With such a competitive GT1 field, the race was primarily between the No. 009 Aston Martin driven by Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin and the Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta. The Aston Martin, which started on the class pole, pulled away from the Corvette and won by a one-lap margin.
Piloting the No. 20 Dyson Racing Lola B06/10 were Chris Dyson and Guy Smith. Dyson drove the first stint. Issues during his time behind the wheel prevented him from maintaining contact with the front runners but he remained on the lead lap. Smith chased down the leading Audi and moved the Lola into contention. However, the Audi team had shorter pit-stops - Dyson and Smith had to settle for the runner-up position.
After the GT1 pace lap penalties, just two cars were in contention for the victory – the Lamy/Sarrazin Aston Martin DB9 and Gavin/Beretta Chevrolet Corvette C6.R. Performance adjustments and a Pirelli tire that worked better in the cool conditions gave the Aston Martin team the advantage. Lamy and Sarrazin lost the top spot during pit-stops but were able to control the race. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta finished second.
For the second consecutive race, Risi Competizione entered their No. 61 Ferrari F430 GTC. At Mosport International Raceway, the Ferrari was driven by Toni Vilander and Maurizio Mediani. Vilander drove the first stint but an aggressive pass, which included contact, resulted in a stop-and-go penalty. This may have removed the duo from contention but attrition during the race allowed them to capture a second-place finish.
The American Le Mans Series GT1 podium for round eight at Mosport International Raceway. In the center are the winners from Aston Martin Racing are Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin. This was their second victory of the season, their first was at Lime Rock. Standing on the left side of the rostrum are the runner-ups and class point leaders, Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta. Completing the podium are Peter Kox and Tomas Enge.
At Road America, Penske Motorsports changed its driver pairings for the remainder of the season. This was to increase their chances of winning the LMP2 championship. The No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder was piloted by Timo Bernhard and Sascha Maassen. They started behind their teammates at Mosport International Raceway in the fifth position. This duo won the previous round but finished second in class at Mosport.
Johannes van Overbeek, the GT2 points leader, had a new co-driver this weekend. Marc Lieb replaced Wolf Henzler, who was racing in a Grand Am event. The No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3RSR started fifth in class but Lieb moved into an early lead. During his stint, van Overbeek had contact with one of the Audis and had to pit to replace a flat tire. Despite the setback, he finished third and retained first place in the title chase.
The quickest LMP1 competitor after three practice sessions was James Weaver driving the No. 16 Lola B06/10. His co-driver, Butch Leitzinger, started the race and battled with the Audi R10s of Rinaldo Capello and Emanuele Pirro. He led a total of fifty-four-laps before handing the Lola over to Weaver. During their pit-stop, the team was delayed by a faulty airgun. Weaver was able to remain on the lead lap and finished third overall.
Sharing the No. 007 Aston Martin DB9 was Peter Kox and Tomas Enge. Enge’s regular co-driver, Darren Turner, had another racing commitment in the United Kingdom. Kox started second in GT1 but his starting line incident with the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette resulted in a stop-and-go penalty. The Aston Martin duo was no longer in contention for the victory but was able to finish in third place - one lap behind their teammates.
The LMP2 podium for round eight at Mosport. In the center are the winners, Romain Dumas and Lucas Luhr. Standing on the left are their Penske Motorsports teammates and the runner-ups, Timo Bernhard and Sascha Maassen. The final position on the rostrum is occupied by Liz Halliday and Clint Field. The third-place finishers struggled to complete 70% of the race, a requirement to score points after their Lola had major brake issues.

1LMP1McNish / CapelloAudi R10 TDI133-
2LMP1Smith / DysonLola B06/10133-
3LMP1Weaver / LeitzingerLola B06/10133-
4LMP1Biela / PirroAudi R10 TDI132-
5LMP2Dumas / LuhrPorsche RS Spyder131-
6LMP2Maassen / BernhardPorsche RS Spyder131-
7GT1Sarrazin / LamyAston Martin DBR9124-
8GT1Gavin / BerettaChevrolet Corvette C6-R123-
9GT1Kox / EngeAston Martin DBR9123-
10GT1Fellows / O'ConnellChevrolet Corvette C6-R122-
11GT2Mowlem / OrtelliFerrari F430 GTC116-
12GT2Vilander / MedianiFerrari F430 GTC116-
13GT2Lieb / Van OverbeekPorsche GT3RSR116-
14GT2Jeannette / MilnerPanoz Esperante GTLM115-
15GT2Auberlen / HandBMW M3 E46115-
16GT2Bergmeister / LongPorsche GT3RSR113-
17GT2Neiman / PechnikPorsche GT3RSR112-
18GT2Rockenfeller / TiemannPorsche GT3RSR112-
19LMP2Halliday / Field / FieldLola B05/40101-
20LMP1McMurry / Lewis / GrahamLola B01/609Accident
21GT2Marks / SellersBMW M3 E468Accident
22GT2Maxwell / BrabhamPanoz Esperante GTLM7Accident

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