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 five, the Grand Prix of Utah, was held at Miller Motorsports Park. This was the series second visit to the facility. The race date was moved from July to May which provided more comfortable racing conditions for the drivers and crews. The track was a twenty-three turn 4.486-mile road course – the longest in North America.

The No. 6 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder Evo was driven by Ryan Briscoe and Sascha Maassen. They qualified second their teammates in another Penske Porsche. Briscoe was at the wheel when the leading Audi made its final stop for fuel. During the final stint, the team gambled on tires and fuel which paid off with an overall and LMP2 class victory. It was Briscoe and Maassen’s third straight overall win.
The No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C6-R was driven by Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta. The duo led GT1 qualifying but decided to accept the penalty for changing tires after qualifying and started from the back of the grid. Despite this setback, the pair was able to charge through the field and win the GT1 category.
Twenty-six starters take the green flag for Round five of the 2007 American Le Mans Series. The group funnels into the fast turn one for a late-afternoon 2-hour 45-minute race. At the checkered flag, twenty-one competitors were still running.
Quickest overall and in the LMP2 class was the Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder Evo of Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard. During the race, the pair set the fastest race lap but encountered on-track contact and received a stop-and-go penalty. They were third overall and second in LMP2 at the checkered flag.
Dino Capello qualified on the LMP1 class pole but was eighth overall almost 3-seconds behind the Penske Porsche’s. Capello started the car from the back of the grid when the team elected to take the penalty for changing tires. The new tires and some shock absorber adjustments improved the Audi R10 TDI that he shared with Allan McNish. At the checkered flag, the duo scored their fourth consecutive LMP1 victory.
At the 2006 Utah Grand Prix, Tomas Enge and Darren Turner won the GT1 class in an Aston Martin. In 2007, the pair joined the Peterson Motorsports/White Lightning Racing team driving a GT2 Ferrari F430GT. They qualified and finished first in class – one-lap ahead of the second place car. The results were especially satisfying for Enge, who returned after suffering serious injuries 2-months earlier at St. Petersburg.
Wolf Henzler started the No. 71 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 RSR from the fifth spot in GT2 but moved up to third before the end of the first lap. Henzler lost positions during a pit-stop but had moved back into third when he handed the driving duties over to teammate Robin Liddell. Liddell maintained the position and the pair earned the final spot on the podium.
Corvette Racing did not face the same challenges they had the previous year. Aston Martin withdrew from the American Le Mans Series and the only competition for the GT1 title was between the two team cars. Handling the driver duties on the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C6-R were veterans Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell. They finished second in GT1 just over 26-seconds behind their teammates.
The No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports entry qualified third but team strategist, Thomas Blam, elected to put fresh tires on the car and start from the back of the grid. Jorg Bergmeister did the first stint and worked his way through the field to third place. He pitted at the 90-minute mark and handed over the driving duties to Johannes van Overbeek. The team inherited a second place finish when the Risi Ferrari retired.
Emanuele Pirro shared the No. 2 Audi R10 TDI with Marco Werner. Pirro started eighth overall but at the drop of the green flag jumped into the lead. He and Werner were unable to maintain this position and dropped back down the order. They were sixth overall and second in the LMP1 class at the checkered flag.
The No. 16 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder Evo finished fourth overall and third in LMP2. This completed a sweep of the LMP2 podium for Porsche. The car driven by Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger qualified seventh overall and finished on the lead lap.
At the 18-minute mark the No. 22 Panoz Esperante GT-LM broke an axle and was stranded on the course - this brought out the race’s first caution. The car shared by Scott Maxwell and Bryan Sellers qualified twentieth overall and eighth in the GT2 class. They were the first car to retire and classified in the last position.
Finishing tenth overall and a distant third in LMP1 was the 5-liter V10Judd powered Creation CA06/H of Intersport Racing. The car was shared by team owner John Field, his son Clint and Richard Berry. The trio started from the eleventh grid position and finished six-laps behind the class winner.
The GT2 points leader was the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT. The driving duties were shared by Mika Salo and Jaime Melo. The car was the second fastest in the GT2 class. The team’s five-race winning streak would come to an end when the car broke a driveshaft with about an hour left in the contest. Salo and Melo did not receive any points as they did not complete 70-percent of the winner’s laps.

1LMP2Maassen / BriscoePorsche RS Spyder66-
2LMP1Capello / McNishAudi R10 TDI66-
3LMP2Dumas / BernhardPorsche RS Spyder66-
4LMP2Leitzinger / WallacePorsche RS Spyder66-
5LMP2Dyson / SmithPorsche RS Spyder66-
6LMP1Pirro / WernerAudi R10 TDI66-
7LMP2Diaz / FernandezLola B06/4361-
8GT1Gavin / BerettaChevrolet Corvette C6-R61-
9GT1Magnussen / O'ConnellChevrolet Corvette C6-R61-
10LMP1Berry / Field / FieldCreation CA06/H60-
11GT2Enge / TurnerFerrari F430 GTC59-
12GT2Bergmeister / Van OverbeekPorsche GT3RSR58-
13GT2Henzler / LiddellPorsche GT3RSR58-
14GT2Jönsson / HélaryFerrari F430 GTC58-
15GT2Aguas / MedianiFerrari F430 GTC58-
16GT2Milner / KellenersPorsche GT3RSR58-
17LMP1Lewis / WillmanCreation CA06/H58-
18GT2Pechnik / NeimanPorsche GT3RSR57-
19GT2Tafel / FarnbacherPorsche GT3RSR57-
20GT2Pappas / BorchellerPorsche GT3RSR55-
21LMP2Johansson / BrabhamAcura ARX-01a47-
22LMP2Devlin / BachLola B07/4644Mechanical
23GT2Melo / SaloFerrari F430 GTC35Mechanical
24GT2Auberlen / HandPanoz Esperante GTLM23Engine
25LMP2Franchitti / HertaAcura ARX-01a20Gearbox
26GT2Maxwell / SellersPanoz Esperante GTLM3Mechanical

Copyright Notice:
All content (photographs and text) appearing on this website are the exclusive property of © www.zoompics.com and are protected under International copyright laws. The subject matter on this website may not be reproduced, copied, stored or manipulated.

© Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

Return to home page.