Porsche in ALMS: One last look before the new era begins - video

Championships, Big Wins, Racing Records and Excitement Populated Porsche’s 15 years in the American Le Mans Series.

Porsche in ALMS: One last look before the new era begins - video

Atlanta. Official testing for the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC) series has already begun, and sports car fans everywhere are discussing the new classes, the new rules, the new cars, the new venues and how it will all come together on the track.

However, let’s take one last look in the rear view mirror at the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), which started in March, 1999 at Sebring, and ended just weeks ago at Road Atlanta. The retrospective provides a basis for what Porsche, with its 12 ALMS Manufacturer and 14 Driver Championships, thanks to its independent Porsche customer teams, hopes to accomplish going forward.

Owen Hayes, Porsche Motorsport North America’s director of racing operations, pointed out that everyone grew during those 15 years of the ALMS.

“We have certainly ramped up our operation both at the shop and at the track in the last decade and a half, to meet the growing needs of our successful customer teams. The fierce competition in the ALMS forced us all to get better,” said Hayes. “Personally, the RS Spyders were near and dear to my heart, but we are looking forward to our factory effort behind the two new 911 RSRs in the United SportsCar Championship.”

Through the magic of ALMS Productions video and TangentVector editing, Porsche Cars North America celebrates 15 years of American Le Mans Series success in the one minute, 15-second video:

Sports car racing fans can relive glimpses of Porsche’s ALMS 116 class wins – by far the most by a manufacturer in series history, including the iconic Porsche RS Spyder prototypes and the Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS/RSR championships.

When Dr. Don Panoz decided that the American sports car fan wanted to see real Le Mans sports car racing in North America, he put up his own money to bring a one-off event to Road Atlanta in 1998. He then worked with the ACO – organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – to call the event “Petit Le Mans”.

No one knew how it would turn out, but Porsche brought its Le Mans-winning 911 GT1 factory racecars, and other manufacturers followed suit. After the success of that event, Panoz, again with Porsche leading the way, announced that he would start a series in North America in 1999 called the American Le Mans Series. In cooperation with the ACO, it would bring Le Mans-rules racing to the U.S. – important to Porsche, as America was, and is, the company’s largest consumer market.

Again, no one really knew who would show up for that first ALMS race at Sebring in March 1999, but once Porsche announced its support, BMW, Corvette, Audi and others followed and the ALMS was born.

#45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: Nelson Canache, Spencer Pumpelly, Madison Snow
#45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: Nelson Canache, Spencer Pumpelly, Madison Snow

Photo by: Trevor Horn

The majority of Porsche’s ALMS activity has centered on the Le Mans GT class, where, through its customer teams, the company has pitted its best Porsche 911 racecars against the world’s factory efforts over the years from Ferrari, BMW, Corvette, Dodge/SRT Viper, Aston Martin, Maserati and others. In nine of those 15 years, Porsche customer teams won the manufacturers’ championship with entrants Dick Barbour Racing, Alex Job Racing, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports. Championship drivers have included Cort Wagner, Dirk Mueller, Timo Bernhard, Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Romain Dumas, Lucas Luhr, Sascha Maassen and Wolf Henzler.

When Porsche teamed up with Penske Racing to initiate a factory LMP2 effort in the 2005, the company developed a clean-sheet-of-paper 3.4-liter V8 engine and matching Porsche-designed chassis and transmission that was an instant success in the series. After winning its class at the car’s debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr), the Porsche RS Spyder went on to three consecutive LMP2 class championships.

Hitting above its weight in 2007, Porsche beat the LMP1 Audi seven races in a row to win overall. Winning RS Spyder drivers included Sascha Maassen, Lucas Luhr, Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard, Emmanuel Collard, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe for Penske Racing, while, in a former Dyson Racing RS Spyder, Klaus Graf and Greg Pickett, along with Luhr and Maassen, also scored ALMS wins for Pickett’s Muscle Milk Racing.

In the final season of ALMS competition, Porsche customer teams CORE autosport, Team Falken Tire and Paul Miller Racing have campaigned Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs in the GT class while multiple teams, including Alex Job, TRG, Flying Lizard, JDX Racing, NGT Motorsports and Dempsey Racing have raced in the one-make GTC class. Perhaps the most fitting end to the relationship between the ALMS and Porsche was the improbable Team Falken Tire Porsche GT win (Wolf Henzler/Bryan Sellers/Nick Tandy) in the series’ finale at Road Atlanta on October 19.

Porsche American Le Mans Series Final Statistics

In 148 Races between 1999 – 2013:

Porsche overall wins. 13 (Mid-Ohio, ‘06; Long Beach, ‘07; Houston, ‘07, Salt Lake City, ’07, Lime Rock, ’07, Mid-Ohio ’07, Road America, ’07, Mosport ’07, Detroit ’07, Sebring, ’08, Salt Lake City ’08, Lime Rock ’10, Mosport ‘10)

GT Manufacture Championships – 9

LMP2 Manufacture Championships – 3

Driver Championships - 14

Porsche Class Victories. 116*

Audi - 82

Corvette – 79

Lola - 45

Honda/Acura – 36

Ferrari - 34

BMW - 33

SRT/Dodge – 16

Porsche P1 Wins. 2 (Muscle Milk P2 car re-classified when ALMS combined P classes)

Porsche P2 Wins. 25

Porsche GTS Wins. 2

Porsche GT/GT2 Wins. 83

Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS/RSR Wins. 81

Porsche Class Poles: 98

Audi – 64

Corvette – 64

Porsche won the GT/GT2 ALMS manufacturers title nine of the 15 years of ALMS’ existence – all with the Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS/RSR family of racecars. 2006 was Porsche’s first LMP2 title, and Porsche won the drivers, manufacturers, engine and chassis titles in LMP2 for 2006, 2007, and 2008.

(*) does not include GTC, unclassified 911 GT3 R Hybrid wins, and GTE-Am WEC wins at Petit Le Mans and Sebring

Porsche

shares
comments
John Pew and Ozz Negri ready for 2014 campaign with Michael Shank Racing
Previous article

John Pew and Ozz Negri ready for 2014 campaign with Michael Shank Racing

Next article

GB Autosport earns full-season IMSA TUDOR Championship entry

GB Autosport earns full-season IMSA TUDOR Championship entry
Load comments
How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories Prime

How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories

It took Pipo Derani no time at all to establish himself as a winner in IMSA, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours on his first two starts in 2016. But it took until the final corner of the 2021 season before he could become its champion, the culmination of a journey that he believes has made him a better driver.

IMSA
Jan 16, 2022
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021