Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Preview
Looking ahead to the unification of North American sports car racing in 2014, Dyson Racing has shuffled its driver lineup for the remainder of the 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron season. Toronto resident Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry will drive the No. 16 Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Lola B12/60 in the P1 class at four of the remaining six races, beginning with Sundayâ€™s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. The two-hour, 45-minute race begins at 1 p.m. ET (LIVE, ESPN2 and ESPN3).
The two drivers will also team at Road America and Circuit of The Americas, and will co-drive with team sporting director Chris Dyson at the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta. Johnny Mowlem â€” who has competed in every year in the ALMS â€” will drive for the team at Virginia International Raceway, while current drivers Dyson and Guy Smith will return for Baltimore.
â€śWeâ€™ve known that success next season for Dyson Racing will require an early start,â€ť Dyson said. â€śWe are no longer in this yearâ€™s championship hunt, and as our team will likely campaign a P2 car next year, we want to get started on that program sooner rather than later.â€ť
Burgess finished third in each of three races with the team last year, beginning with his home event at CTMP. McMurry finished third in the 2012 Petit Le Mans.
Dyson Racing is coming off its strongest showing of the season, leading the opening hour of the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park before finishing second.
Level 5, Extreme Speed Going Head-To-Head In P2 Title Race
Extreme Speed Motorsports moved up in class for 2013 but hope to repeat as winners when the team returns to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the midst of a heated battle for the P2 class championship that came to a head at the recent race at Lime Rock Park.
Guy Cosmo led that race in the No. 01 ESM Tequila PatrÂ˘n HPD ARX-03b, but was pressured in the closing laps by Ryan Briscoe in the No. 551 Level 5 Motorsports Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort HPD ARX-03b after a late caution bunched the field for the sprint to the checkered flag.
With three minutes, 30 seconds remaining, Briscoe bumped Cosmo and took the lead when the ESM driver spun. Briscoe and co-driver Scott Tucker went on to take the checkered flag, while Cosmo recovered to finish second.
While their finishing positions stood, following a post-race review, the winning car was given a points-penalty to approximate a stop, plus 60-second penalty. Cosmo and Sharp received the maximum 20 points, while Tucker and Briscoe received 10 points, the equivalent of a fourth-place finish. Marino Franchitti, who finished third co-driving with Tucker, received 16 points. As a result, Franchitti currently leads the P2 standings by three points over Sharp, Cosmo and Tucker (72-69). Next is Briscoe, with 65 points.
Briscoe fractured his right wrist during last weekendâ€™s IZOD IndyCar Series event at Toronto and will not race this weekend. IndyCar veteran Mike Conway takes his place.
Four Canadian Drivers Look Forward To Competing In Home-Course Event
Fans at the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix will have four Canadian drivers to root for in their home race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Tony Burgess of Toronto will drive in the premier P1 class, sharing Dyson Racingâ€™s No. 16 Mazda/Thetford/Norcold Lola B12/60 with Chris McMurry. Burgess has three career ALMS podium finishes at the circuit.
Kuno Wittmer of Montreal drives in the GT class, joining Jonathan Bomarito in the SRT Motorsports No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra Viper GTS-R. The veteran of Formula Atlantic and World Challenge competition is running his first full season in the ALMS. Wittmer and Bomarito are coming off their best finish of the season, placing fifth at Lime Rock.
Kyle Marcelli of Barrie, Ontario and Chris Cumming of Vancouver drive the BAR1 Motorsports No. 8 Merchant Services LTD/Evident Capital/MBRP ORECA FLM09 in the Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire class. The drivers opened the season with a second-place finish in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and are currently sixth in the PC point standings, 20 points behind leader Mike Guasch.
Marcelli, who grew up watching races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, won the IMSA Lites championship in 2009. A two-time winner in PC competition, Marcelli led last yearâ€™s race and set the fastest race lap.
Cumming led last yearâ€™s GTC class at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. A late-race unscheduled pit stop because of an engine problem with co-driver Michael Valiante at the wheel dropped the team from the class lead to a third-place finish in the final five minutes.
Cumming made his ALMS debut at the circuit in 2011, finishing fourth in GTC with JDX Racing.
Guasch, Cisneros Maintain Slim Leads As Challenge Titles Up For Grabs
Championships in both the Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire and GT Challenge classes are both up for grabs entering Sundayâ€™s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Mike Guasch leads Colin Braun by only two points in the PC class (68-66)
Guasch, driver for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsportsâ€™ No. 52 Molecule ORECA FLM09, was a winner at Sebring and Mazda Raceway. Guasch has rotated co-drivers this season, with his Canadian Tire Motorsport Park partner yet to be announced.
Braun took top honors at Long Beach and finished second at Lime Rock in CORE autosportâ€™s No. 05 Composite Resources ORECA. His co-driver, Jon Bennett, did not score points in the opening race at Sebring and is fourth in the championship with 54 points.
A driver to watch in PC is Bruno Junqueira, who is coming off a victory at Lime Rock to moved up to third in the standings with 55 points. He co-drives the No. 9 RSR Racing ORECA with Duncan Ende, who missed the opener at Sebring.
The GTC battle is even closer, with the top five drivers separated by only five points.
Henrique Cisneros leads the class with 62 points. The driver of NGT Motorsportâ€™s No. 30 MOMO Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is coming off his worst finish of the season, taking eighth after struggling with overheating issues and a late-race off-course excursion. Cisneros will co-drive at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with Sean Edwards. This will be the third race of the year for Edwards, who won at Long Beach and finished third at Sebring. Cisneros also won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, co-driving with Nick Tandy.
Nelson Canache Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly won at Lime Rock in the Flying Lizard Motorsports No. 45 Venezuela/eSilicon Porsche to pull within one point of the lead. The pair also finished second at Sebring.
Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil are next in the standings, five points back. They opened the year by winning at Sebring in the Alex Job Racing No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche.
Six Races Remaining, Muller Not Satisfied With GT Championship Lead
Dirk Mullerâ€™s victory at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix extended his lead to 16 points in the GT point standings, but he feels it is too early in the season to take notice.
â€śLeading the championship is great, but itâ€™s still a long way,â€ť Muller said. â€śIâ€™ve won the championship twice, so I know we have a lot left.â€ť
Muller and John Edwards co-drove the winning No. 56 Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE for BMW Team RLL. It was MĂĽllerâ€™s 18th class victory in the ALMS. It was also the first ALMS victory for Edwards â€“ who also captured his first pole in the series at Lime Rock.
â€śItâ€™s a shame that I am alone in first place without my co-driver,â€ť MĂĽller said. â€śUnfortunately, John couldnâ€™t do the whole championship.â€ť
Lime Rock marked the second victory of the season for Team RLLâ€™s new BMW Z4, with Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin winning Round 2 at Long Beach in the teamâ€™s No. 55 Crown Plaza entry in only its second race.
â€śRacing the Z4 this season came very late,â€ť Muller said. â€śIt was a short winter, but to be this good so soon is not surprising racing with BMW.â€ť
While MĂĽller has 62 points and a 16-point lead in the standings, the next seven drivers are separated by just two points. Edwards is tied with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia â€“ drivers of the No. 3 Corvette Racing Compuware Corvette C6 ZR-1 â€“ with 46 points. Itâ€™s another point back to Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, drivers of the No. 4 Corvette Racing Compuware Corvette C6 ZR-1. Auberlen and Maxime Martin are another point behind, with 44 each.
DeltaWing Set To Make Canadian Debut At CTMP
Coming off its most competitive outing this season, the popular DeltaWing LM12 is set for its Canadian debut in Sundayâ€™s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.
Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge started 12th and ran as high as seventh overall in the most recent race at Lime Rock Park, where a solid run was ended by water pressure problems. Now, the team is focusing on continuing to develop the Ă‰lan engine and Bridgestone tires for its first visit to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. This will also be the first race at the historic Ontario circuit for both drivers.
â€śWe made leaps and bounds forward with the car at Lime Rock, in terms of speed and handling,â€ť said Legge. â€śSo we have a positive outlook going into this race. We know what we need to do to fix the issues that we had at Lime Rock. We also have made great strides with the tires â€“ and the Bridgestone team has been terrific.â€ť
The DeltaWing will be joined in this weekendâ€™s P1 class by Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Dyson Racing. Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf will be looking to score their fourth consecutive victory in the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03c. The team has won every pole position and every race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park since making its debut at the venue in 2010. The Lime Rock victory extended Luhrâ€™s series record to 44 career victories.
- Risi Competizione will miss this weekendâ€™s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix after an incident in the closing laps of the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. The team will return to compete at Road America in August.
- Dempsey Del Piero Racing saw a substantial increase in Twitter followers after the teamâ€™s fourth-place finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The teamâ€™s social media campaign proved to be a success with a 450 percent increase in Twitter followers.
- Joey Hand will be driving for the third time this season in the BMW Team RLL No. 56 Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE with Dirk MĂĽller. Handâ€™s best finish this year was second at Long Beach. MĂĽller is the current GT points leader, coming off a victory at Lime Rock Park with John Edwards.
- Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow will co-drive TRGâ€™s No. 68 Adobe Road Winery Porsche at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The pair share the points lead in GRAND-AMâ€™s Daytona Prototype category with Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor.
- The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix comes to downtown Toronto with RaceFest. Wednesdayâ€™s public and media event includes live pit stop demonstrations, driver autograph sessions, the first Canadian showing of the DeltaWing prototype and drivers and racecars from this weekendâ€™s race weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. ALMS drivers expected to participate in RaceFest include Tony Burgess, Kyle Marcelli, Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge. The event takes place in Torontoâ€™s Yonge-Dundas Square.
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