LMP – Highcroft Aims To Get Back On Top In Mosport

August 27, 2010

LMP – Highcroft Aims To Get Back On Top In Mosport

August 27, 2010

Patron Highcroft Racing won at Mosport in 2008 and '09 and looks to three-peat this weekend. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

No sooner than the summer break for the American Le Mans Series ended, now the stretch of five races in an eight-week period (including three races in the last four weeks) comes to a close this weekend at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

The lone trip outside the U.S. to Mosport has been a staple of the ALMS calendar each year since the series’ inception in 1999. To add to the level of intensity, Mosport is a thrill ride for the drivers as the 2.459-mile, 10-turn permanent road course is the fastest track on the schedule with the fastest lap speeds last year averaging more than 138 mph.

As in Lime Rock the field for this race is 30 cars, the smallest number this season. There are a few changes up and down the grid.

The LMP class has been wide open with four different teams winning the last four races – and any of them has a good shot in Mosport this weekend. There are still 50 points maximum available – 20 for a win here and 30 at Petit Le Mans, the second-longest race of the season.

Points leaders David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud in the Patron Highcroft Racing HPD ARX 01-c have a 20-point margin to Klaus Graf in the Muscle Milk Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder. Although Pagenaud and Brabham have not won since Utah in July (Round 4), they can clinch the class title if they leave Mosport with a 31-point gap to Graf. Highcroft has also won the last two years at Mosport, overall last year and in the LMP2 class in 2008.

Graf’s challenge is bolstered with another Porsche factory pilot substituting for injured CytoSport team owner Greg Pickett in the driver’s seat. Two-time Mosport winner Romain Dumas replaces his “twin,” Timo Bernhard, who filled in at Road America. It was pure heartbreak for the Muscle Milk car at Road America as they lost the win on the last lap there, but the team is primed to pick up another win and close the gap.

The third Michelin technical partner team (Highcroft, CytoSport) to win in the most recent stretch of events was Drayson Racing last race at Road America with drivers Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker. After needing a late-race pit stop for more Cellulosic E85R ethanol, Cocker clawed back a 20-second gap in 12 laps with a last lap pass of Graf to secure his and the team’s first win. Cocker has also won the last two poles and will be looking for a three-peat in that regard on Saturday.

Dyson Racing is the fourth winner in the last four events (won at Mid-Ohio), and also has reason to smile heading into Mosport. The team has three prior wins here (overall in 2004 and ’05 and in class in ’03) and Guy Smith and Chris Dyson look to add to that record this weekend.

In LMPC, the class championship is much closer with Gunnar Jeannette in the Green Earth Team Gunnar car now only four points behind Level 5 Motorsports’ Scott Tucker. Jeannette and Elton Julian won their third race of the season at Road America last race. Tucker co-drives both of his team’s entries but he has accumulated his wins in the No. 55 car, which had an accident at Road America.

Also primed to score their first victory in class is the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry, which has finished second in class the last three races. Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez have a pole and two seconds since they took over driving duties. After leading in Road America, local star Kyle Marcelli will also be looking to secure a good result for the Intersport LMPC car.

See also: Still Anyone’s Title Heading Into Mosport

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