Highcroft Racing comes from back to claim Laguna Seca ALMS win

Sounds like an exciting six hours happened today at Laguna Seca, where Highcroft Racing claimed the latest round of the American Le Mans Series in a Fernando Alonso-at-Monaco type performance.

After being penalized for not getting all the drivers enough time in the pre-race events, the Highcroft trio of David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti ended up taking an easy victory after their last competitor retired from the race with just under 30 minutes remaining.

Here’s the initial rundown from ALMS:

Patrón Highcroft Racing scored an exhausting victory Saturday in the American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patrón. The HPD ARX-01c of David Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti won an epic six-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the second straight victory for PHR.

Franchitti took the checkered flag in Round 3 of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. He and Dyson’s Guy Smith battled for the better part of the final two hours before the Dyson Mazda-powered Lola ground to a halt with 24 minutes remaining. The oil filter blew, which shut off the power to the Mazda engine.

Patrick Long took the lead for good on a restart with eight minutes left to win by 0.365 in GT for Flying Lizard Motorsports and Porsche. He and Jörg Bergmeister won at Mazda Raceway for the second straight season. Long passed BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s Joey Hand and his BMW M3 on the inside of Turn 11 just as the green flag flew, a legal move.

Hand had taken the class lead with 33 minutes left when Long pitted for fuel only. He and Dirk Mueller finished second, just ahead of Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta.

Level 5 Motorsports’ trio of Christophe Bouchut, Mark Wilkins and Scott Tucker won in the LMP Challenge class, repeating their victory from the opening round at Sebring. Bouchut crossed the finish line 7.105 seconds ahead of Genoa Racing’s Tom Sutherland. He drove with Tom Weickardt and Kyle Marcelli.

Black Swan Racing won its first Series race with brothers Jeroen and Sebastiaan Bleekemolen partnering with team owner Tim Pappas for a GT Challenge victory. The entry led all six hours and ended up a lap ahead of TRG’s Porsche of Andy Lally, Rene Villeneuve and Henri Richard.

For our American readers, I believe a truncated version of the race is on TV next weekend. Maybe CBS? I tried to see some of it live online, but had trouble. Anyone else experience the same issues?

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