2008 was the tenth season for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The rules for the championship were the same as those used at the legendary 24 Hour of Le Mans. As a result, 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 factory supported diesel-powered Audi R10. Privateer teams were entered in cars such as the Lola B06/10 and Creation CA07. These machines were powered by a wide range of engines producing between 600-700 horsepower.
  • Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) – LMP675 class was introduced in 2001 for cars which 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 class included the Lola, Acura, Zytek and Porsche. The LMP2 caategory used smaller engines producing between 500-550 horsepower.
  • Grand Touring 1 (GT1) – This class included production-based vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R and Aston Martin DBR9. The cars were permitted to use 8.0-liter normally aspirated or 4.0-liter turbocharged engines which produced between 600-650 horsepower. These cars could weigh no less than 1,125-kilograms (approximately 2,480-pounds).
  • Grand Touring 2 (GT2) – The GT2s 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 Aston Martin DBRS9, Porsche GT3 RSR, Panoz Esperante GT-LM, Ford GT-R, Dodge Viper Competition Coupe and Ferrari F430 GT.

The 2008 ALMS schedule included eleven North American events. The season kicked off with the 56th edition of 12 Hours of Sebring. It was followed by a temporary street circuit at St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to St. Pete, the series was also competing at Long Beach, Miller Motorsports Park and Lime Rock Park. The remaining events were held at Mid-Ohio, Road America, Mosport, Detroit (Belle Isle), Road Atlanta and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

With half the 2008 season completed, ALMS teams traveled to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Acura Sports Car Challenge. Drivers would race around the thirteen-turn 2.258-mile road course for two-hours, forty-five minutes.

The No. 2 Audi R10 TDI shared by Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner had two overall and four LMP1 class victories in the first five rounds of 2018. Werner qualified the Audi at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and was first in his category and fifth overall. By the fifth lap of the race, Werner had passed the Acura of Gil de Ferran for the lead. Luhr drove the final stint and was first to the checkered flag – they led 107 of 111-laps.
Gridded seventh overall was the Audi R10 TDI driven by Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro. Despite their overall starting position, it wasn’t long before Capello and Pirro moved into second place - behind their teammates, Luhr and Werner. A decision to pit for fuel and tires may have cost them the race as their teammate’s final stop was just for fuel. They finished second – 7.717-seconds behind the winners.
Team principal, Gil de Ferran started on the overall and LMP2 pole in the No. 66 Acura ARX-01b. Sharing the Acura with de Ferran was Simon Pagenaud. The team made their series debut at Miller Motorsport Park where they finished third. De Ferran led the first five laps but disaster struck on lap-61 when Pagenaud stopped for fueling and left too early. The car caught fire severely burning one of the crew members.
There were only two GT1 entries, both from Corvette Racing. Starting on the class pole was Johnny O’Connell who shared the No. 3 Corvette with Jan Magnussen. The second entry was driven by Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin. Leaving the pit line during one of the stops, O’Connell and Beretta got into a bumping match and ignored the red light at the exit. They were both penalized but O’Connell made the winning pass.
The No. 7 Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder was driven by Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. They entered the Mid-Ohio round with an impressive record – two LMP2 wins at Mid-Ohio and two overall victories in 2008. Bernhard handled the qualifying and was third quickest. During the race, they battled for first in class with the No. 9 Acura. Their final pit-stop was better than the Acura team and they took the lead and victory.
Sharing the Intersport Racing Lola B06/10 were Jon and Clint Field and Richard Berry. The Lola started eleventh overall and third in LMP1. Unfortunately, the team suffered issues from the get-go. Clint Field drove the first stint and encounter electronic control unit problems on the reconnaissance lap and had to pit for repairs. The team lost a number of laps but it didn’t matter as they retired on lap-23 with an engine failure.
At Mid-Ohio, Tafel Racing's Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher won the GT2 category for the third time this season. Farnbacher qualified the Ferrari 430 GT fourth quickest in class. In the race, a perfectly timed pit-stop during a caution period allowed them to grab first place in GT2 – in fact, they gained a lap on the field. They were able to take a dominating victory winning the class by a margin of 64.135-seconds.
Despite a penalty for running over a fuel hose and a fuel vapour lock issue, Johannes van Overbeek and Patrick Pilet managed to finish tenth overall and second in GT2. The pair started fifth in class driving the No. 46 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. A better-timed pit-stop by the Tafel Ferrari took them and the other GT2 competitors out of contention for the victory. This finish equaled their best result to date.
Entering Mid-Ohio, Jorg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler were the GT2 class point’s leaders. The duo shared the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and were coming off two consecutive victories. At Mid-Ohio, the pair was gridded eighteenth overall and third in GT2 for the start. They maintained their position during the event and finished third in class – just 0.459-seconds behind their teammates.
The most significant threat the Porsche domination in LMP2 was the No. 9 Acura ARX-01b. Drivers, David Brabham and Scott Sharp had two class victories - including an overall win in the previous round at Lime Rock. In qualifying, David Brabham was second quickest. The race turned into a battle with the No. 7 Penske Porsche. They lost the lead on the final pit-stop and finished second in LMP2 by just 0.609-seconds.
Finishing fifth overall and grabbing the last spot on the LMP2 podium was the No. 15 Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01b driven by Luis Diaz and team principal, Adrian Fernandez. Fernandez qualified the Acura and was fifth quickest in class and gridded sixth overall. During the race, they maintained the pace of the LMP2 leaders (finishing on the lead lap) but were never contenders for the victory.

1LMP1Werner / LuhrAudi R10 TDI111-
2LMP1Pirro / CapelloAudi R10 TDI111-
3LMP2Bernhard / DumasPorsche RS Spyder111-
4LMP2Sharp / BrabhamAcura ARX-01b111-
5LMP2Fernandez / Diaz / JourdainAcura ARX-01b111-
6LMP2Maassen / LongPorsche RS Spyder111-
7LMP2Dyson / SmithPorsche RS Spyder111-
8LMP2Leitzinger / FranchittiPorsche RS Spyder111-
9GT2Mueller / FarnbacherFerrari F430 GTC104-
10GT2Pilet / Van OverbeekPorsche GT3 RSR104-
11GT2Bergmeister / Henzler / LiebPorsche GT3 RSR104-
12GT2Werner / WestbrookPorsche GT3 RSR104-
13GT2Melo / SaloFerrari F430 GT103-
14LMP2Matos / MontagnyAcura ARX-01b103Accident
15LMP1Lewis / FaulknerLola B06/10103Accident
16GT2Brix / FriesacherFerrari F430 GT102-
17GT2Milner / SutherlandPanoz Esperante GTLM Ford102-
18GT2Figge / TafelFerrari F430 GT101-
19GT2Pastorelli / PastorelliPorsche GT3 RSR101-
20LMP2Devlin / BonillaLola B07/4699-
21GT1O'Connell / MagnussenChevrolet Corvette C6.R98-
22GT1Beretta / GavinChevrolet Corvette C6.R98-
23GT2Cocker / DraysonAston Martin V8 Vantage GT294-
24GT2Murry / Robertson / RobertsonFord GT-R93-
25LMP1McMurry / WillmanLola B06/10 AER92-
26LMP2de Ferran / PagenaudAcura ARX-01b61Fire
27GT2Feinberg / HallDodge Viper43Mechanical
28GT2Neiman / PechnikPorsche GT3 RSR37Mechanical
29GT2Lazzaro / PappasFord GT-R27Electrical
30LMP1Field / Berry / FieldLola B06/1023Engine

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