2007 was the ninth season for the American Le Mans Series. A couple of the more notable news stories for the year was an agreement with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council to use ethanol fuel in the entries powered by gasoline. Secondly, there were some significant changes to the schedule. In 2006 there were ten race weekends; this season, there would be twelve. The series would drop Portland International Raceway and add venues at St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Belle Isle.

The championship kicked off with the 55th edition of 12 Hours of Sebring. It was followed by one of the newest stops on the calendar - a temporary street circuit at St. Petersburg, Florida. After St. Petersburg, the teams traveled to California for an event on the streets of Long Beach. The series then headed to Texas for a race weekend at Reliant Park. In May, the championship returned to a traditional road course, Miller Motorsport Park in Utah. The series took a break in June to allow some of the teams to compete at the 24-Hour of Le Mans. In early July, competitors returned to North America to participate in the New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, which is followed by the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America and Mosport International Raceway. On Labour Day weekend, the teams return to another temporary circuit, Belle Isle, in Detroit. The penultimate round is Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and the season finale is held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The championship rules were unchanged from 2006. The series is guided by the regulations used at the legendary 24 Hour of Le Mans. This meant four categories are competing for class honours.

  • Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) – These are the purpose-built race cars powered by a 6.0-liter normally aspirated or 4.0-liter turbocharged engine. The cars can weigh no less than 924-kilograms (approximately 2,040-pounds). Competing in the series was the factory-supported diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI. Privateer teams were entered in cars such as the Lola B06/14, Creation CA06/H and Zytek 07S. These cars are powered by a wide range of engines producing between 600-700 horsepower.
  • 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 are written so that the two LMP classes (LMP1 and LMP2) would be contending for the overall win. Manufacturers producing cars for this class included Acura, Lola, Radial and Porsche. LMP2 cars use smaller displacement engines producing between 500-550 horsepower.
  • Grand Touring 1 (GT1) – This class includes production-based vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, Saleen S7.R and Aston Martin DBR9. The cars are permitted to use 8.0-liter normally aspirated or 4.0-liter turbocharged engines, which produce between 600-650 horsepower. These cars could weigh no less than 1,125-kilograms (approximately 2,480-pounds).
  • Grand Touring 2 (GT2) – The GT2 cars were also restricted to a 1,125-kilogram weight rule and had similar engine limitations as the GT1 class. These are also production-based machines, which include vehicles such as the BMW M3, Porsche GT3RSR, Panoz Esperante GT-LM and Ferrari F430 GT.

Round seven of the American Le Mans Series was held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Teams would compete in on the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course in an event titled the Acura Sports Car Challenge.

The leaders enter the ‘Carousel’ at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the first lap of round seven. Leading the way is the pole-sitter, Timo Bernhard driving the No. 7 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder. Behind Bernhard is the other front row starter and his teammate, Sascha Maassen. Trailing Maassen is the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Lola B06/43 of the third-place starter, Adrian Fernandez.
Penske Racing’s, Timo Bernhard, grabbed the pole position after a terrific battle with his teammate, Sascha Maassen. Sharing the No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder with Bernhard was Romain Dumas. Bernhard led the race until lap-7 when he was passed by the Audi of Emanuele Pirro. After all the pit-stops were completed, Dumas was in front and led the remaining forty-two-laps to score the duo’s third overall victory of the season.
In the GT2 category, the Porsches were not a fast as the Ferraris. The three Ferraris entered qualified in the top-four positions. The quickest Porsche was the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports GT3RSR piloted by the points leader’s, Johannes van Overbeek and Jorg Bergmeister. Bergmeister and van Overbeek chased the two fastest Ferraris until they knocked themselves out of contention. The pair would capture the class victory.
At Mid-Ohio, it appeared that the Audis were no match for the quicker LMP2 cars. The No. 2 Audi R10 was qualified by Emanuele Pirro, who could only manage the eighth fastest time. However, Pirro is acknowledged as a great starter and the Audi was in first place by lap-7. His co-driver, Marco Werner, had his turn leading, but the additional time required to refuel the car resulted in a third-place finish – first in LMP1.
Faster of the two LMP1 Audis was the No. 1 entry shared by the reigning champions, Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish. Capello qualified first in their category but fourth overall. On the opening lap, he tangled with the Highcroft Racing Acura of Stefan Johansson in the ‘Esses.’ Capello lost a lap due to the incident. McNish drove the final stint and was able to un-lap himself. He finished fifth overall and second in class.
The battle for the pole position was between the Penske Racing teammates, Timo Bernhard and Sascha Maassen. Maasen missed earning the top spot by 0.245-seconds and would start on the outside of the front row. For most of the race, Maassen and his co-driver, Ryan Briscoe, chased the first place, Penske Porsche. At the checkered flag, they were 2.360-seconds behind the winners – second overall and in LMP2.
Jaime Melo qualified the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT on the GT2 class pole. Co-driving with Melo was Mika Salo. They kicked off the season with four consecutive victories. In round six at Lime Rock, there was contact between Salo and the Ferrari of Tomas Enge. It happened again at Mid-Ohio, but this time Salo retaliated, which resulted in a second-place finish – albeit two-laps behind the class winners.
Sharing the No. 15 LMP2 entry were Mexican’s Luiz Diaz and team principal, Adrian Fernandez. Fernandez qualified the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Lola B06/43 third fastest, just 0.463-seconds slower than the pole time. In the race, Fernandez maintained contact with the leaders and was the last driver to pit during the final round of pit-stops, which put him in first place for four laps. Diaz brought the car home third in class.
Since round two at St. Petersburg, the only entries in GT1 were from Corvette Racing. Sharing the No. 3 Corvette C6.R was Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen. O’Connell out-qualified his teammate, Oliver Gavin in the second Corvette. Unfortunately, O’Connell’s car failed the post-qualifying tech inspection and would start last. Gavin and his co-driver, Olivier Beretta, would earn the class victory.
Co-driving, the second Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT was Gianmaria Bruni and Eric Helary. Bruni qualified twentieth fastest and was fourth in the GT2 category. Their race was uneventful compared to that of the other two Ferraris. They benefitted from the incident between Mika Salo and Tomas Enge. Bruni and Helary finished sixteenth overall and earned the final spot on the class podium.
Dyson Racing entered two Porsche RS Spyder. The quicker of the two was the No. 16 Spyder driven by Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. Leitzinger handled the qualifying and would start fifth overall and fourth on LMP2. Unfortunately, they were no match for the front-runners and despite moving into second place during the first round of pit-stops, the team was one-lap behind the leaders at the end of the race.
Tomas Enge entered Mid-Ohio on probation – the result of contact with the Ferrari of Mika Salo at Lime Rock. Enge qualified the No. 31 Ferrari F430 GT, he would share with Dirk Mueller, second fastest in GT2. In the race, Enge was trailing Salo when he hit him entering the ‘Esses’. Salo retaliated at the ‘Carousel’ and both drivers were penalized. This second incident led to Enge’s dismissal from the PM/WLR team.

1LMP2Dumas / BernhardPorsche RS Spyder134-
2LMP2Maassen / BriscoePorsche RS Spyder134-
3LMP1Pirro / WernerAudi R10 TDI134-
4LMP2Diaz / FernandezLola B06/43134-
5LMP1Capello / McNishAudi R10 TDI134-
6LMP2Leitzinger / WallacePorsche RS Spyder133-
7LMP2Dyson / SmithPorsche RS Spyder133-
8LMP2Johansson / BrabhamAcura ARX-01a132-
9LMP1Graf / PickettLola B06/14128-
10LMP2Franchitti / HertaAcura ARX-01a126-
11GT1Gavin / BerettaChevrolet Corvette C6.R125-
12GT1Magnussen / O'ConnellChevrolet Corvette C6.R125-
13LMP2Pecorari / van der SteurRadical SR9120-
14GT2Bergmeister / Van OverbeekPorsche GT3RSR118-
15GT2Melo / SaloFerrari F430 GTC116-
16GT2Bruni / HelaryFerrari F430 GT116-
17GT2Pechnik / NeimanPorsche GT3RSR114-
18GT2Enge / MuellerFerrari F430 GT114-
19GT2Pappas / BorchellerPorsche GT3RSR114-
20LMP1McMurry / WillmanCreation CA06H97Mechanical
21LMP1Berry / Field / FieldCreation CA06/H96Mechanical
22GT2Lux / WilsonDodge Viper95-
23GT2Milner / KellenersPorsche GT3RSR92-
24GT2Henzler / LiddellPorsche GT3RSR83Mechanical
25GT2Tafel / FarnbacherPorsche GT3RSR80-
26GT2Auberlen / HandPanoz Esperante GTLM49Engine
27LMP2Devlin / BachLola B07/4619Engine

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