2008 was the tenth season for the American Le Mans Series. The rules for the championship were the same as those used at the legendary 24 Hour of Le Mans. This meant 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. LMP2 cars 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.

Petit Le Mans was the penultimate round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series. This was the eleventh 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 at Road Atlanta on the twelve turn 2.54-mile road course.

There were only two GT1 entries - both from Corvette Racing. The Corvettes lead the Grand Touring field into corner one on the first lap. At the front of this group is Johnny O’Connell in the pole-winning No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R. Immediately behind, O’Connell is the sister car driven by Olivier Beretta. Following the two Corvettes are sixteen GT2 competitors.
Allan McNish fought for the LMP1 pole position with Stephane Sarrazin in the Peugeot - Sarrazin proved to be quicker. McNish and his teammates, Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro, would start second. Unfortunately, McNish crashed the car just before the race and the team started the contest after the green flag was given. By the fifth hour the team was back in contention and with thirty minutes remaining, McNish took the lead and victory.
Penske Porsches occupied the top three spots in LMP2 qualifying. Quickest of the trio was the No. 5 driven by Australian, Ryan Briscoe. Sharing the Porsche Spyder RS with Briscoe was Helio Castroneves. The pair swapped the overall lead with the Audi and Peugeot teams but in the end, they finished where they started – fourth overall and first in class.
During qualifying, the top of the GT2 leader chart was constantly changing but by the end of the session, Jaime Melo was the quickest in the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT. Melo shared the Ferrari with Mika Salo. Melo drove the opening stint and during the contest, the Ferrari shared the class lead with the Flying Lizard and Farnbacher Loles Porsches. Salo was first in GT2 during final hour and never relinquished the lead.
In the GT2 qualifying, Jorg Bergmeister was the first to lay down a pole-winning lap. But the competition upped their game and by the end of the session, he was fourth. Sharing the Flying Lizard Motorsports entry with Bergmeister was Wolf Henzler and Marc Lieb. The No. 45 Porsche had its turn leading the race but was second in class when the checkered flag was given – just 2.317-seconds behind the winning Ferrari.
The battle for the LMP1 pole was between the Peugeot of Stephane Sarrazin and Allan McNish in the Audi. In his final attempt, Sarrazin beat McNish by 0.085-seconds. Sharing the Peugeot 908 HDI FAP with Sarrazin was Christian Klien and Nicolas Minassian. The trio took turns leading the contest but in the final thirty minutes, they were passed for the lead by McNish. They finished second – 4.512-seconds behind the winner.
Quickest of the non-Porsche LMP2 entries was the No. 26 Andretti Green Racing Acura ARX-01b – qualified by Franck Montagny. Indy driver, Tony Kanaan started the race – the driver line-up also included Marco Andretti. During the contest, Montagny was able to get in between the Penske Porsches and lead the class. Unfortunately for the team, an accident on lap-347 took them out of the running.
Roman Dumas was 0.088-seconds shy of beating his teammate, Ryan Briscoe, for the LMP2 pole position. Also driving the No. 7 Penske Racing Porsche Spyder RS was Timo Bernhard. The three Penske entries were always at the top of the lap chart - in fact, Dumas was the overall leader at the end of the second hour. At the conclusion of the event, the pair finished where they started – fifth overall and second in class.
Nicolas Minassian in the pole-winning Peugeot 908 HPI FAP leads a field of thirty-seven American Le Mans Series competitors into turn one on the first lap. In pursuit of Minassian, is the No. 2 Audi R10 TDI driven by Marco Werner and the Penske Racing Porsche Spyders of Ryan Briscoe and Timo Bernhard.
Johnny O’Connell handled the qualifying duties for the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette - which he would share with Ron Fellows and Jan Magnussen. O’Connell battled for the GT1 pole with Olivier Beretta and was successful. The two Corvettes traded the class lead but in the sixth hour, the No. 4 Corvette developed an engine issue which required an extended pit-stop. The No. 3 Chevrolet cruised to a comfortable victory.
As the qualifying session drew to a close, it was apparent that the overall and LMP1 pole was a contest between the No. 1 Audi driven by Allan McNish and the Peugeot of Stephane Sarrazin. The No. 2 Audi R10 TDI shared by Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner would start third. When the No. 1 Audi failed to take the starter’s flag, Audis best chance for an overall victory rested with Luhr and Werner. In the end, they finished third in class.
Completing a Penske Racing sweep of LMP2 qualifying was Sascha Maassen in the No. 6 Porsche Spyder RS. Also driving this Porsche were Patrick Long and Emmanuel Collard. The trio remained in contention during the contest and finished on the same lap as the overall and class winner. At the checkered flag, they claimed the final spot on the LMP2 podium.
Missing the GT2 pole position by just 0.057-seconds was second fastest qualifier Dirk Werner. Werner was sharing the Farnbacher Loles prepared Porsche GT3RSR Bryce Miller and Jorg Hardt. The No. 87 Porsche exchanged the class lead with several other GT2 competitors. In the fourth hour, Hardt was knocked off course by an LMP car. The team fell out of contention and eventually, retired on lap-277.
The third fastest qualifier in GT2 was the No. 71 Tafel Racing Ferrari F430 GT driven by Dirk Muller. Co-driving the Ferrari with Muller was Dominik Farnbacher. The pair was in contention early in the contest but could not maintain the pace of their competition. At the end of the event, they were two laps behind the class leaders – fifteenth overall and third in GT2.
Qualifying the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette was Olivier Beretta. Beretta and Johnny O’Connell traded the fastest times in GT1 and at the end of the session, O’Connell was quicker. The two Corvettes swapped the GT1 lead but in the sixth hour Oliver Gavin encountered an engine problem and an extended pit-stop was necessary. This took the Beretta/Gavin/Papis entry out of contention. They finished six laps behind their teammates.

1LMP1McNish / Pirro / CapelloAudi R10 TDI394-
2LMP1Minassian / Sarrazin / KlienPeugeot 908 HDi FAP394-
3LMP1Werner / LuhrAudi R10 TDI394-
4LMP2Briscoe / CastronevesPorsche RS Spyder394-
5LMP2Bernhard / DumasPorsche RS Spyder394-
6LMP2Collard / Maassen / LongPorsche RS Spyder392-
7LMP2Leitzinger / Franchitti / LallyPorsche RS Spyder391-
8LMP2de Ferran / Dixon / PagenaudAcura ARX-01b388-
9LMP2Dyson / SmithPorsche RS Spyder384-
10GT1O'Connell / Magnussen / FellowsChevrolet Corvette C6.R365-
11GT1Beretta / Gavin / PapisChevrolet Corvette C6.R359-
12GT2Melo / SaloFerrari F430 GTC358-
13GT2Bergmeister / Henzler / LiebPorsche GT3RSR358-
14LMP1Watts / PlaGinetta-Zytek 07S355-
15GT2Muller / FarnbacherFerrari F430 GTC355-
16LMP2Kanaan / Montagny / AndrettiAcura ARX-01b347Accident
17GT2Jonsson / Krohn / van de PoeleFerrari F430 GTC346-
18GT2Aucott / Kaffer / DaoudiFerrari F430 GTC344-
19GT2Law / Pechnik / NeimanPorsche GT3RSR339-
20GT2Figge / TafelFerrari F430 GTC331-
21GT2Pilet / Van OverbeekPorsche GT3RSR311Accident
22GT2Cocker / Turner / DraysonAston Martin V8 Vantage GT2294Mechanical
23GT2Pastorelli / Basseng / PastorelliPorsche GT3RSR291Accident
24GT2Lazzaro / Pilgrim / PappasFord GT-R291-
25GT2Milner / HandPanoz Esperante GTLM Ford282-
26LMP2Fernandez / Diaz / JourdainAcura ARX-01b281Accident
27GT2Feinberg / HallDodge Viper Competition Coupe280Did Not Finish
28GT2Werner / Miller / HardtPorsche GT3RSR277Mechanical
29GT2Murry / Robertson / RobertsonFord GT-R263Engine
30LMP1Lewis / Hines / ForgeoisLola B07/17 Judd237Accident
31LMP1Field / Berry / FieldLola B06/10 AER160Mechanical
32LMP1Simpson / Primat / Campbell-WalterCreation CA07 AIM138Transmission
33LMP1McMurry / Burgess / WillmanLola B06/10 AER122Accident
34LMP1Halliday / Hall / Stirling / Werner / MillerCreation CA07 AIM113Accident
35LMP1Mowlem / Johansson / JeannetteZytek 07S73Accident
36GT2Drissi / Gigliotti / GoossensChevrolet Corvette C637Mechanical
37LMP2Sharp / Brabham / FranchittiAcura ARX-01b16Mechanical

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