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.

Petit Le Mans was the penultimate round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series. This was the tenth running of the event that was conceived to be a smaller version of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race length was set at 1,000-miles or 10-hours, whichever came first. The contest was held on the twelve turn 2.54-mile road course at Road Atlanta.

The GT1 pole-winning Maserati MC12 driven by Didier Theys leads fourteen Grand Touring entries into corner one on the first lap. Behind the Maserati are the two GT1 Corvettes with Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen behind the wheel for the opening stint. The Maserati’s first place in class was short lived as Theys was passed by both Corvettes before the end of the first hour.
The Dindo Capello / Allan McNish Audi R10 TDI started from the second position on the grid. Capello drove the first stint and was able to lead the first hour. As the race came to a conclusion the battle for the overall win was between the No. 1 Audi and the No. 7 Porsche. A final pit-stop allowed the Porsche to take first but a late race caution bunched the field. Capello caught a passed the Penske car on lap-379 of 394 to take the victory.
The Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GTC was at the top of the GT2 timesheets for many of the practice sessions. By the conclusion of the qualifying session, Jaime Melo was the quickest in the class. The Risi team were the class leaders for much of the first four hours of the event. An electrical issue with the brake lights, requiring two pit-stops and took them out of contention. They finished sixth in GT2 – twenty-three laps behind the class winner.
At the end of the first practice, the quickest car was the No. 7 Penske Racing Porsche Spyder driven by Romain Dumas. During qualifying, Dumas swapped fastest lap times with the Audis. When the session ended, he was second overall and first in LMP2. The race turned into a battle between the No. 7 Porsche and No. 1 Audi. During the final stint, Dumas was unable to hold off the Audi and finished second. He shared the car with Patrick Long and Timo Bernhard.
The Maserati MC12 was not compliant for the ACO but met the rules for IMSA. In the practice sessions, the team trailed the Corvettes but come qualifying they were the fastest GT1. Sharing the driving duties of the Doran prepared Maserati were Didier Theys, Fredy Lienhard and Andrea Bertolini. After the No. 3 Corvette retired from the race they were a comfortable second.
The Corvettes dominated the GT1 practice sessions but the Maserati took the GT1 pole. Sharing the No. 3 Corvette was Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen. Magnussen qualified the car started third in class. Unfortunately, the team’s race ended early – just twenty minutes - when Magnussen was cut-off by the Acura of Bryan Herta. The Corvette was severely damaged when it hit a concrete barrier.
Starting at the back of the field was the No. 88 Creation CA07 – this was attributed to the wrong tire choice for qualifying. Performing the driving duties were – Jamie Campbell-Walker, Harold Primat and Christophe Tinseau. The team was not without their challenges during the contest but they were not as great as some of the other LMP1 teams. They finished seventeen laps behind the winner but were second in class.
The Highcroft Acura ARX-01a driven by Robbie Kerr went off track in the morning practice on Friday. The team succeeded in repairing the car and David Brabham qualified fifth overall and third in LMP2. In addition to Kerr and Brabham, the car was also driven by Stefan Johansson. The Acura could not match the pace of the LMP2 Porsche Spyders and the trio finished sixth in class.
Qualifying third in GT2 and nineteenth overall was Jorg Bergmeister in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3RSR. Sharing the Porsche with Bergmeister was Marc Lieb and Johannes van Overbeek. By the fifth hour, the very quick trio was always at the top of the GT2 leader board. Not facing any serious problems during the event - they won the category and finished two laps ahead of their closest rivals.
Quicker of the two Corvette Racing entries was the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Max Papis. Gavin was the fastest at the beginning of the GT1 qualifying session but had to settle for second behind the Maserati. Gavin drove the first stint and took the class lead in the first hour. The Maserati was never a threat in the race and when the No. 3 Corvette retired - the team cruised to a class win.
Starting ninth overall and third in LMP1 was the Team Cytosport Lola B06/14. Performing the driving duties were – Memo Gidley, Klaus Graf and team principal, Greg Pickett. The team had some on-track incidents and fell out of contention early in the event. But they were still running at the conclusion of the contest and finished fourteenth overall and third in class.
Dirk Mueller handled the qualifying duties for the No. 31 Peterson Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Ferrari F430 GTC and was the second quickest in GT2. Sharing the car with Mueller was Peter Dumbreck. The Ferrari led the class but was eliminated from the race in the fourth hour when it suffered severe damage while lapping a back marker. Dumbreck was passing the Robertson Panoz when the two cars made contact.
During the first practice session, Emanuele Pirro in the No. 2 Audi lost control and damaged the car. Pirro went off the track a second time on Friday. Despite these mishaps, Marco Werner won the class and overall pole position. Medical staff discovered Pirro had a slight concussion and he was replaced by Lucas Luhr. The car started from the rear of the field but was in the lead after the first hour. An incident in the third hour took the car out of contention.
The No. 71 Tafel Porsche was fifth quickest in GT2 qualifying. Sharing the Porsche were Wolf Henzler and Dominik Farnbacher. The Porsche was in contention but during a late race stop, Henzler pitted for new tires. However, the team was not able to remove one of the wheels. Competing with one well-used tire, they dropped to third but a spin by the No. 18 Porsche allowed them to take a second in class.
Guy Smith and Chris Dyson did not have a particularly strong qualifying effort. The No. 20 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder started twelfth overall and seventh in LMP2. A steady performance by the team and some misfortune for their competition allowed the duo to finish third overall and second in class.
Racing the No. 5 Zytek Motorsports Zytek 07S in the LMP2 category was Danny Watts, Stefan Mucke and Jan Charouz. During the event, the team suffered a series of minor setbacks – such as alternator problems, contact, pit lane infractions - but none as serious as most of their competitors. At the checkered flag, the trio finished fifth overall and third in LMP2.
Starting twentieth overall and fourth in the GT2 category was the No. 18 Porsche GT3RSR driven by Tommy Milner, Graham Rahal and Ralf Kelleners. Milner was chasing the class leading Flying Lizards Porsche in the seventh hour when he had to make an unscheduled pit-stop for a flat tire. The team lost a lap and second tire failure removed any chance of them winning their category. At the finish, they were third in class.
Starting behind the pole-sitter in third place was the No. 6 LMP2 Penske Racing entry driven by Sascha Maassen, Ryan Briscoe and Emmanuel Collard. The Porsche Spyder RS was in contention until the late stages of the contest when an extended pit-stop was required to address a number of issues – the most serious being a steering rack issue. The car returned to the race and finished seventh overall – fifth in class.

1LMP1Capello / McNishAudi R10 TDI394-
2LMP2Bernhard / Dumas / LongPorsche RS Spyder394-
3LMP2Dyson / SmithPorsche RS Spyder386-
4LMP2Watts / Mucke / CharouzZytek 07S383-
5LMP1Campbell-Walter / Primat / TinseauCreation CA07 Judd377-
6LMP2Leitzinger / Wallace / LallyPorsche RS Spyder372-
7LMP2Maassen / Briscoe / CollardPorsche RS Spyder370-
8LMP2Brabham / Johansson / KerrAcura ARX-01a365-
9GT1Gavin / Beretta / PapisChevrolet Corvette C6.R364-
10GT2Bergmeister / Van Overbeek / LiebPorsche GT3RSR353-
11GT2Henzler / FarnbacherPorsche GT3RSR351-
12LMP2Bach / Devlin / MatosLola B07/46 Mazda350Transmission
13GT2Kelleners / Milner / RahalPorsche GT3RSR350-
14LMP1Graf / Pickett / GidleyLola B06/14 AER346-
15GT2Basseng / Pappas / BorchellerPorsche GT3RSR342-
16GT2Neiman / Law / PechnikPorsche GT3RSR341-
17LMP1Werner / LuhrAudi R10 TDI330-
18GT2Melo / SaloFerrari F430 GTC330-
19GT1Theys / Lienhard / BertoliniMaserati MC12314Accident
20LMP1Lewis / McMurry / WillmanCreation CA06/H Judd304-
21GT2Hand / Auberlen / Kimber-SmithPanoz Esperante GTLM302-
22LMP1Chilton / ManningZytek 07S298Fuel Pressure
23GT2Jonsson / Krohn / TurnerFerrari F430 GTC279Oil Pump
24GT2Muller / DumbreckFerrari F430 GTC123Accident
25GT2Murry / Robertson / RobertsonPanoz Esperante GTLM106Mechanical
26LMP2Fernandez / DiazLola B06/43 Acura87Wheel
27LMP1Field / Field / BerryLola B06/10 AER60Accident
28LMP2Herta / Meira / KanaanAcura ARX-01a50Accident
29GT2Swartzbaugh / Tafel / NielsenPorsche GT3RSR28Accident
30GT1Magnussen / O'Connell / FellowsChevrolet Corvette C6.R15Accident

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