Fight to the GT Finish
Fight to the GT Finish
According to the racing forum experts, winning a race is easy. You roll out the fastest car, qualify on the pole, take the lead and drive off into the sunset.
That is rarely the way things work on the bigger natural terrain road circuits in the American Le Mans Series GT class where factory teams from Corvette Racing, BMW Team RLL and SRT Motorsports do battle with top independents from Porsche and Ferrari.
In the first eight races of the 2013 ALMS season, 10 of the 11 ALMS GT cars have taken podium finishes.
Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia have five GT podiums, including wins at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), Baltimore and Monterey to lead the championship. BMW Team RLL’s Dirk Mueller also has five podiums, including a win at Lime Rock. John Edwards has three podiums in support of Mueller, including Lime Rock.
The defending Virginia International Raceway (VIR) race and ALMS GT champions, Corvette’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, have four podiums, including wins at Sebring and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).
The SRT Motorsports Vipers of Marc Goossens and Dominik Farnbacher and teammates Kuno Wittmer and Jonathan Bomarito have each scored pairs of podiums, with the former taking a win at Road America and the latter storming to dramatic second place finishes at CTMP and most recently at COTA.
It doesn’t end there. BMW’s Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin have a single podium, but it was a good one, a win at Long Beach. Risi Competizione Ferrari’s Olivier Beretta and Matteo Malucelli opened the 2013 season with a second at Sebring and were joined on the podium by Falken’s Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers.
GT newcomers Team West/AJR Ferrari of Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler (Monterey) and the CORE autosport Porsche of Patrick Long and Tom Kimber-Smith (Lime Rock) have also already found their way to the trophy box and champagne with third place finishes.
Determined to score the team’s first GT podium of the season in the final two races is the Paul Miller Racing Porsche of Bryce Miller and Marco Holzer. They have already scored fourth; fifth and sixth place finishes along the way and posted the second quickest lap time in the last race at COTA.
While the GT championship fight is in full fury with Corvette and BMW leading the way, the SRT Vipers are closing fast. The Mooresville, NC based Riley Technologies team is making its presence felt with four podiums, three poles and a win in its first full season of ALMS competition.
With championships, 2014 driver, team and sponsorship contracts on the line and just two races remaining, the fight for the GT win and the podium at VIR should be outstanding.
Oh yeah, regarding that drive off into the sunset part, seven GT competitors posted faster race laps than Garcia and Magnussen’s winning Corvette in the caution free race at COTA. Consistency, race strategies, pit stops and traffic all come into play. So does a bit of luck.
Around here, when the GT competition isn’t filling your rear view mirror, it means they are drawing alongside.