ALMS Brings Full Field to Long Beach
Fresh off a record-setting season opener at Sebring, a full grid from the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón heads west to America’s premier street racing festival. A total of 35 cars are set for the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, tying 2010’s field as the largest of any kind at Long Beach in more than 15 years.
The ALMS has become a staple of Long Beach’s Saturday activities. If you think variety is the spice of life, have we got a show for you. The ALMS grid features sexy, exotic prototype sports cars and the world’s best GT racers, ready to tackle the streets of Long Beach for a sixth consecutive year. There are 11 auto and chassis marques represented among the five classes … and that doesn’t count four tire manufacturers!
Purpose-built prototype cars – both open- and closed-top – are featured in three ALMS classes. At the head of the field, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing seeks its second-straight Long Beach victory a year after Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr won in a Lola-Aston Martin coupe. The team debuted its 2012 Honda Performance Development ARX-03a prototype last month at the 12 Hours of Sebring and finished second among the ALMS’ P1 runners.
Dyson Racing seeks its first Long Beach victory with a pair of Mazda-powered Lola coupes. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith, last year’s ALMS P1 champions, pilot the No. 16 while Eric Lux and Michael Marsal team together for the first time in the No. 20 Dyson entry.
The P2 grid continues to grow with four entries set for Long Beach. Level 5 Motorsports puts its unbeaten streak on the line with a pair of HPD prototypes. Team owner Scott Tucker drives both entries and teams with last year’s winning teammate Christophe Bouchut. The pair also won the Prototype Challenge at Long Beach in 2010.
Black Swan Racing and Conquest Endurance both have P2 entries on the grid at Long Beach. Black Swan races in the class for the first time at the event a season after it won the GT Challenge class. Its Lola-Honda is the one Level 5 drove to victory in 2011.
Conquest is a familiar face to Long Beach fans having fielded open-wheel entries for a number of years, but this season is the team’s first in sports cars. The team’s Morgan-Judd races on a street race for the first time this weekend.
Long Beach again witnesses the best GT racing in the world with a 12-car lineup for the ALMS’ premier production-based class. There are six manufacturers in the class alone, each receiving a level of factory support.
BMW Team RLL won in class last year at Long Beach and began this season with a class victory at Sebring with its BMW M3 GT.
Corvette Racing, Flying Lizard Motorsports and Extreme Speed Motorsports each have two-car entries. Team Falken Tire, Paul Miller Racing and Aston Martin Racing (featuring Long Beach fan favorite Adrian Fernandez) have a single car on the grid as does Lotus Alex Job Racing. Long Beach welcomes the debut of the AJR Lotus Evora GTE for Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell.
The two challenge classes in the ALMS each have robust fields in their own right. Sebring Prototype Challenge winner CORE autosport leads a pack of nine ORECA FLM09 prototypes – all with Michelin tires – into Long Beach. There are more than a few names that Long Beach fans will recognize: Memo Gidley drives for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Bruno Junqueira occupies a seat in RSR Racing’s entry.
Seven Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars are on the GT Challenge entry. Local team GMG Racing will be a crowd favorite, and Alex Job Racing looks for its second GTC victory in three seasons at Long Beach.
The next race in the 10-event ALMS championship will be the live broadcast of the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. ESPN2 will air the race live from the world famous Long Beach Grand Prix circuit in Long Beach, Calif., starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. The race will still be carried simultaneously on ESPN3.
Viewers outside the U.S. will be able to watch live on ALMS.com. The Series’ website will offer additional content such as live in-car cameras, timing and scoring, and car-to-pit radio.