2009 was the eleventh season of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Initially, the ALMS classes and rules were the aligned with those used by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest at the 24 Hour of Le Mans. Beginning in 2009, changes were made to the classes participating in the series. There were five categories 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 vehicles can weigh no less than 924-kilograms (approximately 2,040-pounds). Teams enter cars such as the Lola B06/10, Acura ARX 02a and Ginetta Zytek GZ09HS. Also competing in the series at selected events are the factory supported diesel-powered Audi R15 TDI and Peugeot 908 HDI FAP. These cars are powered by a wide range of engines producing between 600-700 horsepower.
  • Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) – The LMP675 class was introduced in 2001 for vehicles which could weigh no less than 675-kilograms. In 2004, this class was renamed LMP2 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) can contend for the overall win. Manufacturers producing cars for this class include Lola and Acura. LMP2 vehicles use smaller engines producing between 500-550 horsepower.
  • Grand Touring 1 (GT1) – 2009 would be the last year for the GT1 category. This class includes production-based vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette C6.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 and can weigh no less than 1,125-kilograms (approximately 2,480-pounds).
  • Grand Touring 2 (GT2) – The GT2 cars are also restricted to a 1,125-kilogram weight rule and have similar engine limitations as the GT1 class. These are also production-based machines which include vehicles such as the BMW M3, Porsche GT3 RSR, Panoz Esperante GT-LM, Ford GT-R, Dodge Viper Competition Coupe, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R and Ferrari F430 GT.
  • Grand Touring Challenge (GTC) – The GTC class is new for 2009 and these teams will only be invited to compete at certain events. This category is a spec class for Porsche GT3 Cup cars.

The 2009 ALMS schedule included ten North American events. The season kicked off with the 57th edition of 12 Hours of Sebring. After Sebring, the series competed on temporary street circuits at St. Petersburg, Florida and Long Beach, California. The opening rounds were followed by races at Miller Motorsports Park, Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America and Mosport Park. The season concluded with Petit Le Mans held at Road Atlanta and the finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Mosport Park hosted round eight of the 2009 American Le Mans Series. Nineteen entries would compete in the two-hour and forty-five-minute race around the 2.459-mile ten-turn road course in the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport.

Nineteen entries funnel into Mosport’s very quick turn one for the start of the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport. Getting the jump on the field is the second fastest qualifier, Gil de Ferran in the de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a. Next to de Ferran is the pole-sitting Acura ARX-02a of Scott Sharp. Trailing the front row in an LMP1 Lola B06/10 AER is the fourth place starter, Jon Field. Behind Field, are the two Dyson Lolas.
The battle for the overall and LMP1 pole was between the de Ferran Motorsports and Patron Highcroft Racing Acuras. Getting the ‘upper hand’ in qualifying was David Brabham driving the Patron Highcroft entry that he would share with Scott Sharp. Cold tires at the start of the race caused Sharp to lose a couple of positions. But when the team’s biggest threat, de Ferran Motorsports, encountered issues, they took the victory.
History repeated itself for Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen. In 1999, they were shared an LMP Panoz and took the victory at Mosport. The pair scored another win at this year’s Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport driving a GT class Chevrolet Corvette C6.R. Johnny O’Connell qualified the Corvette fourth in class. Magnussen drove the final stint and fought with the Ferrari of Pierre Kaffer for the victory.
In the GT qualifying session, the quickest driver was Dirk Muller driving the No. 92 BMW M3. In fact, it was a BMW front row as Joey Hand in the other Rahal Letterman entry recorded the second fastest time. Unfortunately, for the BMW team, the race did not go as well. Muller and Tommy Milner retired with an engine failure and contact with a Flying Lizard Porsche took Hand and Bill Auberlen out of contention.
The LMP2 point’s leaders, Adrian Fernandez and Luiz Diaz qualified sixth overall and third in class. Despite their qualifying performance, Fernandez and Diaz moved the Lowe’s sponsored Acura ARX-01b into contention and battled with one of the Dyson Lolas. When the Lola encountered engine problems, the pair took the class victory but more importantly, they secured the Drivers’ titled with two events remaining.
The LMP1 class podium for the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport. To the left are the runner-up’s Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud from de Ferran Motorsports. On the right, are father and son team and the third-place finishers, Jon and Clint Field. In the center, are the victors – scoring their third class win of the 2009 season – David Brabham and Scott Sharp. The victory gave Acura the LMP1 Manufacturer’s title.
The Dyson group proved to be the quickest LMP2 team in practice and qualifying. The No. 20 Lola B08/86 driven by Marino Franchitti that captured the class pole. Sharing the Lola with Franchitti was Butch Lietzinger. On lap-28, Franchitti grabbed the overall lead but lost the spot to the Highcroft Acura. For the remainder of the contest, the team battled with the Fernandez Acura until lap-118 when the engine failed.
The Risi Ferrari F430 GT missed the GT qualifying session as the result of an accident in practice. Driving the opening stint was Jaime Melo who charged through the field and battled the class-leading Corvettes. Melo’s driving partner was Pierre Kaffer who continued the fight with the Corvette of Jan Magnussen. Kaffer was unable to pass Magnussen and took the runner-up position in GT.
Sharing the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6.R were Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta. Gavin proved to be the quicker of the two Corvettes in qualifying and started third in the GT category. During the race, the pair took their turn in the class lead. But in the final hour, the victory would be decided between the Magnussen/O’Connell Corvette and Risi Ferrari. Gavin and Beretta captured the final spot on the class podium.
Topping the speed charts in the opening practice session was the de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a driven by Simon Pagenaud and team principal, Gil de Ferran. In qualifying, Pagenaud could not match the pace of the pole-sitter, David Brabham and would start on the outside of the front row. De Ferran led the first twenty-seven-laps but gearbox issues slowed the team. They finished second a lap behind the winners.
The van der Steur Radical SR9 showed great speed in the hands of Adam Pecorari. Pecorari was fifth quickest in qualifying and started second in the LMP2 category. He shared the Radical with the team owner, Gunnar van der Steur. The duo fell out of contention and at the conclusion of the event were tenth overall but later disqualified.
The father and son team of Jon and Clint Field drove the No. 37 Intersport Racing Lola B06/10 in the LMP1 category. The pair was gridded fourth overall and third in class for the contest. The senior Field moved into second place at the start but could not maintain the speed set by the two Acuras. At the checkered flag, they were fourth overall (six-laps behind the winners) and third in class.
The American Le Mans Series GT podium at Mosport Park. In the center of the rostrum from Corvette Racing are the winners, Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell who scored their first GT2 class victory of the season. On the left side are the runner-ups from Risi Competizione, Pierre Kaffer and Jaime Melo. Completing the podium and also from Corvette Racing are Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta.

1LMP1Sharp / BrabhamAcura ARX-02a131-
2LMP1de Ferran / PagenaudAcura ARX-02a130-
3LMP2Fernandez / DiazAcura ARX-01b127-
4LMP1Field / FieldLola B06/10 AER125-
5LMP2Franchitti / LeitzingerLola B09/86 Mazda118Engine
6GT2O'Connell / MagnussenChevrolet Corvette C6.R117-
7GT2Melo / KafferFerrari F430 GTC117-
8GT2Gavin / BerettaChevrolet Corvette C6.R116-
9GT2Henzler / MillerPorsche GT3 RSR116-
10GT2Bergmeister / LongPorsche GT3 RSR115-
11GT2James / FarnbacherPanoz Esperante GTLM115-
12GT2Neiman / LawPorsche GT3 RSR115-
13GT2Feinberg / HallDodge Viper113-
14GT2Auberlen / HandBMW M3110-
15GT2Murry / Robertson / RobertsonFord GT-R105-
16GT2Milner / MullerBMW M371Mechanical
17LMP1Willman / McMurryLola B06/10 AER63Mechanical
18UNCDyson / SmithLola B09/86 Mazda43Accident
19LMP2van der Steur / PecorariRadical SR9 AER116Disqualified

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