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.

The final round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series took place at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The race was scheduled to be 4.0-hours in length on the eleven-turn 2.238-mile road course.

The American Le Mans Series field heads into Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s turn two on the first lap of the 2007 season finale. Leading the way is the pole-sitter, Sascha Maassen in the Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder. The first car behind Maassen is his teammate in the second Penske entry, Timo Bernhard. The two Audi LMP1 entries have already moved from the starting positions to run in third and fifth place.
The defending American Le Mans Series LMP1 champions, Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish started fifth but by the tenth circuit, McNish was in the lead. The pair led 102 of 157-lap contest. Capello moved into first place for the final time on lap-132. They beat the Penske entry driven by Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas by 0.410-seconds. This was their ninth victory of the season and gave the duo the LMP1 title.
In GT2, the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT swept the weekend. It started when Jamie Melo won the GT2 category pole position and during the race, he turned the fastest lap time. Along with his co-driver, Mika Salo the duo led the most laps and took the class victory by 26.775-seconds. This was their ninth win of the season and they captured the class championship by a healthy margin.
Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas shared the No. 7 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder. Bernhard was second quickest in qualifying and shared the front row his Penske teammates, Ryan Briscoe and Sascha Maassen. A late race caution allowed Dumas to close on the race leader, Dino Capello in the Audi R10 TDI. But he could not overcome the torque advantage of the Audi and finished first in LMP2 and second overall.
As usual, there was only two GT1 entries both of which were from Corvette Racing – the Compuware sponsored Chevrolet Corvette C6-Rs. The No. 4 Corvette qualified seventeenth overall and second in class. The car was raced by Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin. During the event, the pair passed the pole-winning Corvette and took the class victory by a comfortable 28.487-second margin.
The second Audi R10 TDI entry was driven by Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner. Rockenfeller handled the qualifying duties and put the car in seventh grid position. Werner drove the last stint and was in a battle for third place with the Porsche RS Spyder of Ryan Briscoe, Adrian Fernandez in a Lola and an Acura driven by Tony Kanaan. He was able to hold off the three challengers and captured the runner-up spot in LMP1.
Troubles continued for the Petersen White Lightning Ferrari F430 GT. Despite a victory at Utah, they failed to finish at Saint Petersburg and the penultimate round at Petit Le Mans. At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Peter Dumbreck and Dirk Mueller were gridded twentieth overall and second in the GT2 category. But disaster struck again - Dumbreck was driving when the transmission failed – they were the first team to retire.
The Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Lola was the quickest in the final practice session but it was the Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder driven by Sascha Maassen that topped the qualifying results. Maassen shared the Penske entry with Ryan Briscoe. Maassen led the first ten laps of the race before surrendering the lead to Allan McNish. Unable to match the pace of the leaders, he and his teammate finished fourth overall and second in LMP2.
The No. 71 Porsche GT3 RSR driven by Wolf Henzler and Dominik Farnbacher failed to record a qualifying time. A gearbox issue relegated the pair to the back of the grid for the start. The two drivers had a tremendous race and moved through the field. At the end of the event, they were battling with Rahal Letterman Porsche for second in class. When their rivals pitted for gas, two-laps from the end, they secured second in GT2.
Jan Magnussen put the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C6-R on the GT1 pole and sixteenth overall. Magnussen and his co-driver, Johnny O’Connell battled for the class victory with their teammates, Olivier Beretta and Tommy Milner. Their rivals got the ‘upper hand’ leaving Magnussen and O’Connell to take the runner-up spot in GT1. The pair finished a distant second to Milner and Beretta in the Driver standings.
Adrian Fernandez was the quickest driver in the final practice session. He shared the No. 15 Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Lola B06/43 with Luis Diaz and qualified the car sixth overall and fifth in LMP2. The pair was in contention for the overall victory – Diaz led for twelve laps. Fernandez was behind the wheel, in sixth place overall, as the contest drew to a conclusion. After a three-way battle, he captured the final spot on the LMP2 rostrum.
A new GT2 entry in 2007 was the open-wheel team, Rahal Letterman Racing. Before he was a successful Indy Car driver, team principal, Bobby Rahal raced Porsche 935s and 962s in the IMSA series. The team’s Porsche GT3RSR was driven by Ralf Kelleners and Tommy Milner. The duo qualified fourth in class for the finale and took the final position on the GT2 podium.
The No. 9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a was gridded fourth overall and in the LMP2 class. David Brabham qualified the car and was joined in the race by Stefan Johansson and Robbie Kerr. It was a short race for the team. On lap-89, Johansson was contacted from behind by the Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder driven by Butch Leitzinger. The Acura was the third retirement of the race and classified twenty-eighth overall.
There were seven cars entered in the LMP1 category. During 2007, the class was dominated by the two Audi R10 TDI. At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the ‘best of the rest’ was the Creation CA07 piloted by Jamie Campbell-Walter and Harold Primat. Campbell-Walter handled the qualifying and the car started twelfth overall and fifth in class. At the checkered flag, the duo earned the last position on the LMP1 podium.

1LMP1Capello / McNishAudi R10 TDI157-
2LMP2Bernhard / DumasPorsche RS Spyder157-
3LMP1Rockenfeller / WernerAudi R10 TDI157-
4LMP2Maassen / BriscoePorsche RS Spyder157-
5LMP2Diaz / FernandezLola B06/43 157-
6LMP2Herta / KanaanAcura ARX-01a157-
7LMP2Smith / DysonPorsche RS Spyder157-
8LMP2Wallace / LeitzingerPorsche RS Spyder156-
9LMP1Primat / Campbell-WalterCreation CA07154-
10LMP1Chilton / ManningZytek 07S153-
11GT1Beretta / GavinChevrolet Corvette C6-R150-
12GT1Magnussen / O'ConnellChevrolet Corvette C6-R150-
13GT2Melo / SaloFerrari F430 GTC146-
14GT2Henzler / FarnbacherPorsche GT3RSR146-
15GT2Kelleners / MilnerPorsche GT3RSR145-
16GT2Bergmeister / Van OverbeekPorsche GT3RSR145-
17LMP1Graf / PickettLola B06/14144-
18GT2Pappas / BorchellerPorsche GT3RSR143-
19GT2Hand / AuberlenPanoz Esperante GTLM139-
20GT2Law / Pechnik / NeimanPorsche GT3RSR139-
21GT2Krohn / JönssonFerrari F430 GTC136-
22GT2Feinberg / DucoteDodge Viper Competition Coupe136-
23GT2Murry / Robertson / RobertsonPanoz Esperante GTLM135-
24LMP2Devlin / BachLola B07/46133Mechanical
25GT2Nielsen / Tafel / SwartzbaughPorsche GT3RSR117-
26LMP2Shimoda / MückeZytek 07S112Accident
27LMP1Willman / Burgess / McMurryCreation CA06/H92Half Shaft
28LMP2Brabham / JohanssonAcura ARX-01a89Accident
29LMP1Field / BerryLola B06/1040Drive Shaft
30GT2Dumbreck / LuhrFerrari F430 GTC31Transmission

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