2012 was the fourteenth season of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The 2012 ALMS schedule included ten North American events and was similar to the previous year’s calendar with two exceptions. The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event was moved from September to May and for the first time, Virginia International Raceway was added to the schedule. The season kicked off with the 60th edition of 12 Hours of Sebring. It was followed by Long Beach, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Lime Rock, Mosport Park, Mid-Ohio, Road America, Baltimore, Virginia International Raceway and the season finale at Road Atlanta.

Initially, the ALMS classes and rules were the same as 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. By 2011, there were five categories competing for class honours.

  • Prototype 1 (P1) – These are 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 B12/60, HPD ARX-03a and Lola B11/66. The prototype teams can choose from a number of different engine manufacturers. Typically, these motors produce between 600-700 horsepower.
  • Prototype 2 (P2) – LMP675 class was introduced in 2001 for vehicles 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 Prototype categories (P1 and P2) would be contending for the overall win. There are cars such as the Morgan LM P2, Lola B11/80 and HPD ARX-03b competing in this class. P2 cars use smaller displacement engines than P1 and produce approximately 500-550 horsepower.
  • Prototype Challenge (PC) – This is a spec class using the ORECA FLM09 chassis. The cars are powered by a Chevrolet LS3 engine which produces approximately 485-horsepower.
  • Grand Touring (GT) – This class includes production based vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, Porsche GT3RSR, BMW M3, SRT Viper GTS-R, Ferrari 458 Italia and Aston Martin Vantage GTE. 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 can weigh no less than 1,125-kilograms (approximately 2,480-pounds).
  • Grand Touring Challenge (GTC) – In 2009, the GTC class was introduced. This category is a spec class for Porsche GT3 Cup cars.

The championships are decided by awarding points to the top ten cars and drivers that completed at least 70-percent of their class winner's distance. To earn points, competitors are required to drive a minimum amount of time (45-minutes except Long Beach which was set at 30-minutes) and a minimum number of laps (dependent on the size of the racetrack).

Teams that enter the full season are awarded points towards team championships. The championship-winning teams in P1, P2 and GT earn an automatic entry to the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Round six of the 2012 American Le Mans Series was held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and marked the halfway point of the season. Competitors would race around the 2.258-mile thirteen-turn road course for two hours, forty-five minutes in an event presented by Tequila Patron.

Since round two, the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a piloted by Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr had dominated every race weekend. Mid-Ohio would be no different – the pair topped the timesheets in the two practice sessions and Luhr put the car on the overall and Prototype 1 pole in qualifying. During the race it was business as usual – they led almost ninety-percent of the contest and won by a one-lap margin.
Level 5 Motorsports entered two HPD ARX-03b Hondas in the Prototype 2 category. Team principal, Scott Tucker split his driving duties between both cars. Tucker shared the No. 055 HPD ARX-03b with Christophe Bouchut who was fourth quickest in qualifying and captured the class pole. A blocking penalty for the Conquest team gave Tucker and Bouchut the win – Tucker also finished third with Luiz Diaz.
Driving the No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen. The Porsche was gridded twenty-eighth overall and second in the Grand Touring Challenge category for the start of the event. A solid run by the duo resulted in a class victory which was Pappas’ first of the year and the second for Bleekemolen who was victorious at Laguna Seca.
The Racer’s Group entered a single Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In the previous round at Mosport, drivers – Spencer Pumpelly and Emilio Di Guida won the Grand Touring Challenge category. At Mid-Ohio, Pumpelly was paired with Al Carter. They were the third quickest in Grand Tour Challenge qualifying session and, in the race, they captured the runner-up position.
Corvette drivers, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, scored GT victories earlier in the season at Long Beach and Laguna Seca. The pair entered the Mid-Ohio event second in the Driver standings – the class leaders were their teammates, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. Milner recorded the sixth fastest time in the GT qualifying session. Despite their starting position, they won their class and took the lead in the title chase.
The first four-rounds of the Prototype Challenge category were dominated by Core Autosport. At Mosport, RSR Racing ended their streak and now it was time for another team to score a victory. That team would be PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports. Driving the PR1 Mathiasen entry was Rudy Junco and Marino Franchitti. Franchitti put the car on the pole and the pair won the class by a 16.156-second margin.
The Dyson Racing Team scored the overall and Prototype 1 victory in the season’s first race at Sebring. Since that event, the best they could do was finish in the runner-up spot to the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team. The outcome at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course would not be any different. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith were gridded second in the No. 16 Lola B12/60 and finished a lap down to the winners.
Level 5 Motorsports had dominated the Prototype 2 category until round five. At Mosport, Conquest Racing drivers, David Heinemeier-Hanson and Martin Plowman took the class win in a Morgan Nissan. The pair was on form at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car course – Plowman qualified second in Prototype 2. A stop-and-go penalty for blocking while leading the race ended their chances for a second victory.
Until round-five at Mosport, the Prototype Challenge category was dominated by the Oreca FLM09 of CORE Autosport. The team was determined to get back in the win column at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and enlisted drivers, Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel. Dalziel qualified the car twelfth overall and fifth in class. During the race, the pair made good progress and captured the runner-up spot in Prototype Challenge.
The top Grand Touring Porsche entry was the No. 45 Flying Lizards GT3 RSR shared by Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. They were victorious in race four at Lime Rock Park. Patrick Long performed the qualifying duties and put the Porsche seventeenth on the grid – third in class. As the race came to a conclusion, Bergmeister chased the race leader, Oliver Gavin but could not make the pass and finished second.
Qualifying on the Grand Touring Challenge category pole and twenty-seventh overall was the Green Hornet Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup shared by Damien Faulkner and Peter LeSaffre. The pair had a class victory earlier in the season at Long Beach. During the event, they slipped down the race order and finished fifth in their group – two-laps behind the class winning JDX Racing entry.
Just 0.238-seconds separated the five fastest Grand Touring cars in qualifying. Quickest of them all was Jorg Muller driving the No. 55 BMW Team RLL BMW M3. Sharing the BMW with Muller was BMW sports car veteran, Bill Auberlen. A terrific battle during the Grand Touring race saw them finish third in class when the checkered flag flew.
The Mid-Ohio round saw the debut of two factory-supported SRT Dodge Viper GTS. Sharing the No. 93 entry were Marc Goossens and Tommy Kendall. The second entry, driven by Kuno Wittmer and Dominik Farnbacher started last but produced the better results – finishing ninth in class and twenty-third. From the team’s perspective, it was important that both Vipers finished and this was the case.

1P1Luhr / GrafHPD ARX-03a Honda123-
2P1Smith / DysonLola B12/60 Mazda122-
3P2Tucker / BouchutHPD ARX-03b Honda121-
4P2Heinemeier Hansson / PlowmanMorgan LM P2 Judd121-
5P2Gonzalez / TuckerHPD ARX-03b Honda120-
6PCJunco / FranchittiOreca FLM09118-
7PCPopow / DalzielOreca FLM09118-
8PCDowns / MarcelliOreca FLM09116-
9P2Dempsey / Foster / CameronLola B12/87 Mazda116-
10PCDrissi / JunqueiraOreca FLM09115-
11GTMilner / GavinChevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1115-
12GTBergmeister / LongPorsche GT3 RSR115-
13P1Marsal / LuxLola B11/66 Mazda114Not Running
14GTMuller / AuberlenBMW M3114-
15PCEnde / RichardOreca FLM09114-
16GTSellers / HenzlerPorsche GT3 RSR114-
17GTHand / MullerBMW M3114-
18GTSharp / Van OverbeekFerrari 458 Italia113-
19GTNeiman / HolzerPorsche GT3 RSR113-
20GTBrown / CosmoFerrari 458 Italia112-
21PCBennett / BraunOreca FLM09112-
22GTMiller / MaassenPorsche GT3 RSR112-
23GTWittmer / FarnbacherSRT Viper GTSR111-
24GTSweedler / BellLotus Evora GTE109Not Running
25GTGoossens / KendallSRT Viper GTSR109-
26GTCPappas / BleekemolenPorsche GT3 Cup108-
27GTCCarter / PumpellyPorsche GT3 Cup107-
28GTCFaieta / HuismanPorsche GT3 Cup107-
29GTCMacNeil / KeenPorsche GT3 Cup107-
30GTCLeSaffre / FaulknerPorsche GT3 Cup106-
31GTGarcia / MagnussenChevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1105-
32PCBurgess / KovacicOreca FLM0988Not Running

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