ALMS Long Beach GP field one of biggest ever

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Thirty-five cars will compete in the American Le Mans Series race at Grand Prix of Long Beach next month, the ALMS announced today. That makes it one of the largest fields for any event during the GP’s 36-year history.

“We were blessed with a fantastic field of world-class competitors at Sebring, and they certainly did not disappoint,” Scott Atherton, Series President and CEO, said in a release. “As we move on to the biggest and most strategic market for our series – southern California – we have been overwhelmed by entries, both the quantity and quality. There is no question we will have a record-breaking field for our fourth-annual event through the streets of Long Beach. I am confident that the tens of thousands of spectators in attendance at America’s premier street race will witness a great race among the world’s best sports cars, teams and drivers.”

This is great news, at least for me, because I worked out a deal with the official Powers that Be to go this year. Look for me in my F1B shirt and… well, I haven’t decided on a hat yet.

Here’s some more details, especially for those F1B readers in or near Southern California:

The Series’ fourth consecutive visit to the 11-turn, 1.968-mile historic Long Beach track will boast a number of new features. First and foremost is the debut of the Series’ combined LMP class. Five separate marques will fight for overall victory – Aston Martin, Lola, Mazda and Porsche. Adding to the mix is the inclusion of two exotic closed-top prototypes: Drayson Racing’s E85-powered Lola-Judd and Aston Martin Racing’s Lola-Aston Martin with its screaming V12 production-based engine.

Another new addition to Long Beach is the first-year LMP Challenge class featuring ORECA’s FLM09 prototype. Seven FLM09s are entered after a successful opening race last weekend at the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, where the ORECA-built racers passed their debut with flying colors.

Among the highlights on the entry list are two cars for Level 5 Motorsports, the class winner at Sebring, and G-Oil’s Green Earth Team Gunnar. There is one new entry – PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports for prototype expert Johnny Mowlem and Tom Papadopoulos.

The GP runs the weekend of April 15-16. The ALMS race, the second round of the 2010 season, gets the green lights at 4:40 p.m. Pacific time on Sat., April 15. In America, coverage will be on SPEED from 8 to 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

The feature race, of course, is IndyCar.

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