PC Surprise

July 29, 2012

PC Surprise

July 29, 2012

Officials of the American Le Mans Series are getting more than they expected when they announced plans for a Prototype Challenge class, (cleverly designated as “PC”) starting with the 2010 ALMS season.

They envisioned a package featuring identical Oreca chassis, Chevrolet LS3 engines, and single specification MICHELIN® tires to attract new teams and help reduce costs.

What they may not have expected is the level of talent and competition the PC class currently features.

Former Indy Car star Bruno Junqueira, NASCAR’s Colin Braun and sports car aces Marino Franchitti, Ryan Dalziel, Butch Leitzinger and Kyle Marcelli are among the “pros” who have paired with a sportsman driver in 2012 ALMS PC competition.

Given identical cars, the competition is always tight and PC cars often take spots in the top-five or even top-three in the overall race.

Part of that performance is due to the quality of the teams that the PC class has attracted.

The combination of race proven cars, equipped with paddle shift transmissions and MICHELIN tires has appealed to teams looking to get the most bang for their race buck without edging into the factory racing wars.

Newcomers like CORE autosport, PR1 Mathiasen and Merchant Services  Racing have joined teams migrating to PC from other classes like Dempsey Racing, Performance Tech Motorsports and Grand Prix of Mosport PC winner Paul Gentilozzi’s RSR team.

For most of the PC teams, the race boils down to two phases, the sportsman driver tries to gain an advantage of his direct rivals before having the pros slug it out for the balance of the race, or the pros try to build a lead that their co-driver can maintain.

To assure that the pros don’t gobble up all the seat time, the ALMS requires that each driver complete a minimum of 60 minutes of time during the two-hour 45 minute race.

Jon Bennett’s CORE team has taken wins in four of the five races with Alex Popow claiming the first two rounds and Bennett and Colin Braun taking a pair.

Junqueira and Tomy Drissi combined for the victory at Mosport, while Kyle Marcelli took the Lime Rock Park pole position for the Merchant Services team.

Few expected that the competition in PC would become so intense that teams would seek out top international drivers and that; they in turn would welcome the opportunity.

What the PC has class has also done is provide the ALMS a middle ground with defined equipment, lower cost and great competition.


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