2011: A Petit Le Mans for the Ages
The 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda was a classic 1,000-mile endurance thriller and a more-than-worthy finale for the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Peugeot Sport Total won its third straight Petit Le Mans after an intense battle with Audi Sport Team Joest as Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz drove to victory.
AF Corse held off Flying Lizard Motorsports and BMW Motorsports for the GTE-Pro win at Road Atlanta in what served as the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Tim Pappas and Black Swan Racing successfully defended their GT Challenge driver and team championships while Eric Lux, Gunnar Jeannette and Ricardo Gonzalez had a three-way tie for the LMP Challenge driver`s championship. CORE autosport earned its first LMPC team championship. Full Story >>>
PETIT LE MANS FOR PEUGEOT
Sarrazin/Montagny/Lamy take Road Atlanta
Peugeot won Petit Le Mans powered
by MAZDA 2 on Saturday, this time running the full 1,000 miles.
A year after winning a rain-shortened race at Road Atlanta, the
trio of Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy scored
a 61-second victory in their diesel-powered Peugeot 908 HDI.
They led a second straight 1-2 finish for the French manufacturer
in the cornerstone event for the American Le Mans Series presented
by Tequila Patrón. Full
WINS WET PETIT
LE MANS AT ROAD ATLANTA
Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin gave Peugeot its first American
Le Mans Series victory on Friday, winning a weather-shortened
12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. Race officials,
citing hazardous conditions due to torrential rains that fell
at Road Atlanta just past the four-hour mark, called the race
at eight hours, 44 minutes running.
Peugeot's two diesel-powered factory prototype
coupes finished 1-2 with the pole-sitting 908 HDi of Pedro Lamy
and Nic Minassian in second. The first of Audi Sport Team Joest's
Audi R15 TDIs placed third, the car driven by Allan McNish and
McNish and Capello dominated the race before
the rains fell. The two Peugeots got past McNish under yellow
when the Scot looped the Audi under wet conditions.
Dyson Racing took its first Petit Le Mans victory
with a victory in LMP2 for Marino Franchitti, Butch Leitzinger
and Ben Devlin. Their Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupe had problems
with gear selection early, but the Acura ARX-01b of Lowe's Fernandez
Racing's Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz experienced steering
Nevertheless, the duo completed enough laps to
clinch the team championship for Lowe's Fernandez and the manufacturer
championships for Acura.
Risi Competizione's Jaime Melo, Pierre Kaffer
and Mika Salo won in GT2 in their Ferrari F430 GT, the fifth
straight endurance victory for the team. A brilliant call by
the team made the Ferrari the first GT2 car to take wet tires,
and Salo drove past the rest of the field into the lead.
CLOSEST OVERALL VICTORY MARGIN: 44.785 SECONDS,
LARGEST OVERALL VICTORY MARGIN: 12 LAPS, 2005
OVERALL WINS FROM POLE: TWO (1999 AND 2000)
LOWEST STARTING POSITION FOR OVERALL RACEWINNER: 4TH, 1998 & 2004
AVERAGE STARTING POSITION OF OVERALL RACEWINNER: 2.375
CLOSEST GT2 (1998)/GTS/GT1 VICTORY MARGIN: 6.837
LARGEST GT2 (1998)/GTS/GT1 VICTORY MARGIN: 15 laps (1998)
BEST OVERALL FINISHING POSITION OF GT2 (1998)/GTS/GT1 WINNER:
AVERAGE OVERALL FINISH OF GT2 (1998)/GTS/GT1 WINNER: 6.50
BEST CLASS START OF GT2 (1998)/GTS/GT1 WINNER: POLE, 1999, 2001,
WORST CLASS START OF GT2 (1998)/GTS/GT1 WINNER: 4TH, 1998
AVERAGE CLASS START OF GT2 (1998)/GTS/GT1 WINNER: 2.0
CLOSEST GT/GT2 VICTORY MARGIN: 0.367 second (2004)
LARGEST GT/GT2 VICTORY MARGIN: 8 LAPS (2000)
BEST OVERALL FINISHING POSITION OF GT/GT2 WINNER: 7TH
AVERAGE OVERALL FINISHING POSITION OF GT/GT2 WINNER: 10.625
BEST CLASS START OF GT/GT2 WINNER: 1ST (1999)
WORST CLASS START OF GT/GT2 WINNER: 7TH (1998)
AVERAGE CLASS START OF GT/GT2 WINNER: 3.25
CLOSEST LMP675/P2 VICTORY MARGIN: 15 LAPS (2002)
LARGEST LMP675/P2 VICTORY MARGIN: 37 LAPS (2003)
BEST OVERALL FINISH, LMP675/P2 WINNER: 5TH, 2005
AVERAGE OVERALL FINISH, LMP675/P2 WINNER: 7.60
BEST CLASS START OF LMP675/P2 WINNER: 1ST (2004, 2005)
WORST CLASS START OF LMP675/P2 WINNER: 3RD (2001, 2003)
AVERAGE CLASS START OF LMP675/P2 WINNER: 2.0
History of Petit Le Mans 1998-2005
The inaugural Petit Le Mans attracted a 29-car
field of world-class road racing teams, setting the stage for
the American Le Mans Series which would debut the following year.
McNish led qualifying in a Porsche 911 GT1, but this car was
eliminated shortly after the mid-point of the race in a spectacular
accident when it did a full back-flip while cresting the “hump” on
the back straight with Yannick Dalmas at the wheel. A Panoz GT-1
then took the lead, but later retired with mechanical problems,
giving the lead to the Ferrari 333SP driven by Wayne Taylor,
Eric Van de Poele and Emmanuel Collard. They finished 72 seconds
ahead of the Porsche LMP driven by Michele Alboreto, Stefan Johansson
and Jorg Mueller.
The winning Ferrari covered the 1000 miles at an average speed
of 102 mph. Seven different manufacturers finished in the top
The Porsche 911 GT1 of Bob Wollek, Thierry Boutsen
and Ralf Kelleners won the GT-1 class. The Freisinger Porsche
won GT-2 honors with Lance Stewart and Michel Ligonnet at the
The first running of the Petit Le Mans will be
remembered as one of the most important events in American sports
car racing history. Not only did it instantly become a classic
event, but it energized road racing in the United States.
BMW Motorsport came to the 1999 Petit Le Mans
as a heavy favorite, having won both the 12 Hours of Sebring
and the 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier in the year. And it looked
like they would take the second annual Petit Le Mans as well.
the Panoz team could keep within sight of the BMW V12 LMRs, but
with only minutes remaining, the leading BMW driven by Jorg Muller
spun off course, handing the victory to the Panoz driven by David
Brabham, Andy Wallace and Eric Bernard. It was the first win
for Panoz in a major long distance race and made Wallace the
first driver in history to win the world’s three great
endurance classics of Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
BMW team captured the second and third positions, while the Dyson
team took fourth. Dodge Vipers took an impressive ninth and tenth
overall, with Olivier Beretta, Karl Wendlinger and Marc Duez
aboard the GTS winner.
The GT class victor was the Porsche 911 GT3R driven by Dirk Muller,
Cort Wagner and Sascha Maassen.
Thirty-one of the 49 starters
managed to finish the race, which was completed in just under
nine hours. The winning Panoz averaged nearly 112 mph and Brabham
set a track record by winning the pole position with a lap average
of 129 mph. One of the largest crowds in Road Atlanta history
was on hand for what turned out to be a stunning finish.
The Audi steamroller took no prisoners
2000. Audi’s Allan
McNish won the pole, set the fastest race lap and led teammates
Rinaldo Capello and Michele Alboreto to a 3-lap victory over
the second factory Audi. The win by Audi Team Joest completed
an incredible sweep of the world’s three great endurance
races of Sebring, Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans. Team Panoz took
the next two positions followed by a BMW V12 LMR, and three Cadillac
Despite the Audi domination in the prototype
class, the third annual Petit Le Mans provided an incredible
last-minute battle in the GTS category between the Dodge Viper
and Chevrolet Corvette factory teams. In a thrilling late-race
pass, the Corvette of Andy Pilgrim, Franck Freon and Kelly Collins
captured the victory and ended an impressive streak of Viper
wins in endurance races.
GT class again went to Porsche, this time with Bob Wollek and
Sascha Maassen taking the honors by a big margin over the second
Early in the race, the BMW V12 LMR driven by Bill Auberlen flipped
in a frightening incident reminiscent of the Porsche mishap back
The 39-car field boasted a fine entry of international
teams, and the huge crowd was not disappointed. Certainly the
opportunity to witness the Audi team, among the finest ever in
endurance racing history, was worth the price of admission.
Audi became the first manufacturer to win the
Petit Le Mans back-to-back, recording a dominating win and sweeping
the top three positions. Once again, a stellar entry of over
40 cars were on the starting grid, but it was clear from the
start that Audi was unbeatable.
Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela
drove the winning Audi R8 to a three-lap margin over Stefan Johansson
and Patrick LeMarie. The Champion Audi took third overall, with
Corvette drivers Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins first in GTS
far ahead of the second place Saleen.
The new LMP675 category
saw a Reynard Judd take the win, driven by Scott Maxwell, Milka
Duno, Franck Freon and John Graham.
BMW was the victor in the
GT class, with Hans Stück, Boris
Said and Bill Auberlen edging out their team car by just a lap.
Both cars finished in the top ten.
Despite the chilly and overcast
day, the huge crowd was entertained by a world-class event which
continues to grow ever year.
The Joest Audi team completed a dream season
by winning the Petit Le Mans, sweeping the world’s three
great endurance races for the third consecutive year. Tom Kristensen
and Rinaldo Capello drove the Joest Audi R8 to victory, edging
out the Champion Audi driven by Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson.
Team Cadillac captured third and fourth place in their final
Corvette won the GTS class in a spectacular duel
with Ferrari, taking the lead in the final minutes when the
leading Ferrari suffered a tire problem. Ron Fellows, Johnny
and Oliver Gavin brought the #3 Corvette home in first, with
Ferrari drivers Peter Kox, Tomas Enge and Alain Menu settling
for the runner-up spot.
In the LMP675 class, the Intersport Lola
MG driven by Jon Field, Mike Durand and Duncan Dayton cruised
to victory, finishing 8th overall.
The Alex Job Porsche team took
GT honors, with Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr driving to a two-lap
victory over their nearest rival. A stellar field of 47 entries
took the green flag. Ironically, the same four teams that opened
the season with wins at Sebring also won the finale at Road Atlanta.
The Champion Audi team, after several frustrating
second place finishes in major endurance races, ran away with
the 2003 Petit Le Mans. JJ Lehto and Johnny Herbert finished
with an eight-lap margin over the Panoz LMP driven by Olivier
Beretta, Max Papis and David Saelens. The Biela/Werner Audi
finished third, and clinched the 2003 driver’s championship.
Prodrive Ferrari team recorded an impressive one-two finish
in the GTS class, with Alain Menu, Peter Kox and Tomas Enge driving
the winning 550 Maranello. Corvette managed to win the season
championship with a third place finish.
The Alex Job team continued
its mastery of the GT class in major endurance races by winning
the class and finishing 8th overall. Timo Bernhard, Jorg Bergmeister
and Romain Dumas drove the class-winning Porsche 911 GT3RS.
The Champion Audi team recorded its second
straight win at the Petit Le Mans last year, with J.J. Lehto
and Marco Werner driving the #38 Audi R8 to a three-lap win
over Pierre Kaffer and Johnny Herbert in another Audi. The
Dyson Lola finished third with Jan Lammers and Chris Dyson
driving. The win was the fifth consecutive for Audi at Road
Atlanta’s endurance classic.
Corvette took the top two
spots in the GT1 class with Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta
driving the winning car, just one lap ahead of teammates Johnny
O’Connell and Ron Fellows.
Clint Field and Robin Lidell
drove the Intersport Lola to a win in the LP2 class, while
Alex Job Racing captured yet another win in the GT2 class with
Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister aboard the winning Porsche
Another record crowd was in attendance to witness the spectacular
34-car field. The winning Audi covered the 1,000 miles at an
average speed of 104.3 mph.
Audi scored a convincing win at the Petit Le
Mans last year, finishing 12 laps ahead of the Dyson Lola. However,
the race may have been decided on the first turn of the first
lap, when the pole-winning Zytek was eliminated in an accident.
Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro drove their R8 to an average speed
near 108 mph. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith took second place on
A total of 30 cars took the green flag, with
James Weaver leading the first 42 laps. Audi took command after
the halfway point and never looked back, earning the largest
margin of victory in the race’s eight-year history.
took third overall and first in the GT1 class with Oliver Gavin,
Jan Magnusson and Olivier Beretta edging out the Aston Martin
team by just one lap. Saleen took third place in the GT1 class.
In the GT2 division, The Petersen/White Lightning Porsche driver
by Patrick Long and Jorg Bergneister took the victory by one
lap over the Alex Job team.
The Intersport Lola won the LMP2 category,
with Liz Halliday and Jon and Clint Field at the wheel. The win
was Jon Field’s
fifth victory at Road Atlanta.