When the ALMS series heads to Petit Le Mans in October, the LMP2 class will take the penultimate step toward one of the most exciting team championship contests in recent memory. Penske Racing is leading the Patron Highcroft Racing team by only eleven points, 166 to 155. Penske drivers Romain Dumas and Timo Bernard will arrive at Road Atlanta with a mere four-point lead over PHRâ€™s David Brabham and Scott Sharp. The race for third place in the team championship is just as close, with Dyson Racing leading Andretti Green Racing 96 to 89.
After dominating last season, Penske Racingâ€™s Porsches have faced intense competition in 2008 from the Acuras. This pressure resulted in the Porsches gambling on fuel at Mosport; Dumas ran out of gas on the last lap as the Patron Acura took the class win and third place over all.
Things didnâ€™t improve for Penske Racing in Detroit, as Franck Montagny and James Rossiter of AGR took the overall victory and the Patron Acura finished second, leaving the Penske cars in fourth and fifth.
In spite of Lucas Luhr crashing is #2 Audi on the 22 lap, he and co-driver Marco Werner clinched the LMP1 title when the other Audi, driven by Marcel Fassler and Emanuele Pirro, was disqualified for failing to meet the minimum weight requirement at the post-race tech inspection. Lurh and Werner managed seven consecutive victories in 2008, so they certainly deserve the LMP1 title.
In Detroit the Porsches of Flying Lizard Motorsports finished first and second in the GT2 class to further extend their lead in the team championship. Last yearâ€™s GT2 winning Risi Competizione Ferrari is third in the team standings, behind Tafel Racingâ€™s Ferrari, which has 137 points after Detroit, 135 points behind FLMâ€™s 172.
But the class to watch at Petit Le Mans is certainly LMP2. Watch for coverage on SpeedTV the weekend of October 1-4.
Written by Scott Jones â€“ Photos by Scott Jones, www.turn2photography.com