MotoIQ’s guide to the American Le Mans Series

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 muscle milk lmp
 The new no. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a

Prototype 1

It will no doubt be a treat to see three Audi R18s, which won at the 24 Hours of LeMans last year, on track at the 12 Hours of Sebring. It is the stuff that video game dreams are made of. They are likely to steamroll the competition – but we won't see them again this year in the ALMS.
 
For the rest of the year, the ALMS LMP1 class will feature a fight between two teams – Dyson Racing, with their Mazda-powered Lola coupe driven by Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Steven Kane, and Muscle Milk Picket Racing, which will debut the new Honda Performance Development ARX-03a and will be driven by Lucas Luhr, Klaus Graf and Simon Pagenaud.
 
While the idea of a two-car class is a touch on the lame side, the Dyson Racing and Muscle Milk teams provided lots of entertaining racing throughout the 2011 season. The Dyson team took the 2011 P1 championship after the Muscle Milk car suffered a DNF at Sebring, digging a hole in the points championship they were unable to overcome throughout the rest of the season. 
 
 alms prototype
 One of Level 5 Motorsports's HPD ARX-03b's
 
Prototype 2
 
A class that was almost uncontested last year, LMP2 has seen growth in the off season. Level 5 Motorsports will enter two new HPD ARX-03b's  - the no.95 for Scott Tucker, Luis Diaz, and Ryan Hunter-Reay, and the no. 055 for Tucker, Christophe Bouchut, and Joao Barbosa. Their biggest challenge will likely come from Black Swan Racing. The driving combination of Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen captured the GTC class championship in the past two seasons, and will move to LMP2 in 2012. Bleekemolen is a former winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in an LMP2-class Porsche RS Spyder, and spent a part of the 2011 season racing with Rebellion Racing in the LMP1 class. IndyCar team Conquest Racing will also compete in LMP2 this year, in a new Morgan LMP2 car, driven by Martin Plowman, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Francesco Dracone.
 
Expect nine additional LMP2 cars from the WEC, with Oreca, Morgan, Lola, Zytek, and HPD chassis utilizing Nissan, Judd, and Honda engines.
 
 
 The no. 25 Dempsey / Silicon Tech Racing Oreca FLM09 
 
Prototype Challenge
 
The PC class features spec ORECA FLM09 chassis with Ford V8 engines. The Challenge class means that the driver lineup must consist of a true Pro-Am lineup – only one driver can be a professional, while the other must be a gentleman driver. The 2011 championship featured the closest points battle in ALMS history – co-drivers Gunnar Jeanette and Ricardo Gonzalez tied with Eric Lux on points, and then on number of wins, seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths. With a complete dead heat, the series awarded the championship to all three drivers.
 
There has been a lot of reshuffling in the off-season, with several high-profile teams and drivers entering the class. This may be the most competitive class to watch all season, behind the GT class.
 
 core autosport, alms
 The no.05 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM009
 
Former open-wheel star Memo Gidley will join Michael Guasch for the season in the no.5 Muscle Milk PC car, and will be joined at Sebring by Roger Wills. Another former open-wheel star, Brazil's Bruno Junquiera, will join PC race-winner Tomy Drissi in the no. 8 PC car run by RSR Racing, the former Jaguar factory GT team. Amongst the other strong PC class cars will be the no. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (Butch Leitzinger, Rudy Junco, and Ken Dobson at Sebring) and the no. 05 CORE Autosport car (Jonathan Bennett and Colin Braun, with defending class champion Eric Lux at Sebring). A late addition to the entry list was the no. 06 CORE Autosport car for Venezuelans Alex Popow and EJ Viso (who also competes in the IndyCar series) and Brian Frisselle.
 
Be sure to keep an eye on MotoIQ blogger Duncan Ende, who will partner with Henri Richard and Dane Cameron in the no. 25 Dempsey / Silicon Tech Racing machine. 
 

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