ALMS – Laguna Seca Race Weekend
by Martin Gonzales
The most exciting professional racing series in America, in your author's humble opinion, made its second to last stop of the 2011 season this past weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With only two races left in the season, the remaining 55 points available (25 for this race and 30 for Petit Le Mans) are ever more important for the few teams left in their respective championship races. Only 15 points separate the top 3 teams in the LMPC class, while BMW Team RLL has the chance to lock up the GT class team and driver championships.
As if that was not enough racing entertainment, the lucky and committed fans who made the trip out to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca would also treated to racing from the Star Mazda Series, Prototype Lites, GT3 Cup as well as the Pirelli World Challenge!
One of the biggest reasons the American Le Mans Series is so fun to watch is the fact there are 5 classes, or more sometimes, of cars racing at the same time. The traffic and differences in closing speeds make for some seriously eventful racing. To give you an idea of the differences in the classes, here are the top qualifying times and average speeds from Friday's qualifying session:
- LMP1: 1:13.927 / 108.983mph = #16 Lola B09/86-Mazda
- LMP2: 1:16.688 / 105.059mph = #055 Lola-Honda
- LMPC: 1:18.844 / 102.187mph = #89 Oreca FLM09
- GT: 1:22.226 / 97.984 mph = #56 BMW E92 M3
- GTC: 1:27.850 / 91.711 mph = #54 Porsche 911 GT3
In the very fast LMP1 class the championship fight is between the two Lola B09 chassis of Dyson Racing and Muscle Milk AMR. The Dyson Racing team is looking to finish strong and podium in the last two races of the season in order to clinch the championship. The Muscle Milk AMR squad can only hope the Dyson Racing team runs into some trouble and must also take the checkered flag in the remaining races if they are to have any chance of winning the championship.
|The Dyson Racing Mazda powered Lola B09 had a strong qualifying session and clocked a lap time of 1:13.927 which was over a second and a half faster than the Aston Martin Muscle Milk Lola B09.|