The high point was the pole at Silverstone by half a second from my teammate and one second from Peugeot with three laps good enough for pole. There was nothing more to come from that car that day. The low point was stopping directly outside my sponsor suite at Silverstone after 15 laps and a diff failure. Most unexpected was the Audi One, Two, Three at Le Mans with not one car having a reliability problem, and it being the fastest Le Mans in history. Not many people would have predicted that one after Wednesday’s qualifying. And then there was Petit Le Mansnot many people would have predicted what happened to us there either.
A similar Season of Strangeness affected other teams in the other classes as well. Consider the case of Alex Job Racing, whose team and drivers was profiled in a previous installment of Sport (Aug. ’10). After either winning the GTC class or at least making a visit to the podium for each race, the owner of two of the Porsches campaigned by Job unexpectedly pulled out of the series after the Utah round. The weirdness in play is that the cars’ owner was leading the Drivers and Team championship chases, and simply walked away from what appeared to be a title shot. Usually a team folds because of poor performance, not the opposite. Alex Job Racing finished the season with its third and sole remaining car with mixed results.
ALMS head honcho Scott Atherton felt his race series had the winning ticket in 2010. He may have a point, citing coverage from the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, along with the increased interest from the auto related suspects. Considering the state of the national economy, the ALMS did increase attendance across the board with a particularly large turnout for Petit Le Mans. Sports car racing is one of the better bargains for the fan dollar and Atherton must be given credit for being in this for the long term. However, holding the public’s attention comes back to what you are offering up. Petit Le Mans saw many acts of a final drama involving multiple championships that were to be decided, in addition to the diesel giants of Audi and Peugeot on display in the motorsport version of the Roman Coliseum. So the question now becomes, what are you going to do for me next year?
The LMPC class is basically a matched set of underpowered open prototypes that offer the top flight visuals of the LMP class with budget restraints that could make it more economical than running a car in the GT class, depending on skill and luck. It was disconcerting at times to see an LMPC car and a Ferrari 430 side by side on a straight, unable to make progress until braking, where the lighter prototype had an advantage.
The season from the LMPC entrants all season was Give us more power.
Well-known Porsche restorer and racer Kevin Jeannette had his hands full in LMPC, managing an effort that included his son Gunnar. Jeannette had a few issues regarding the changing rules platform (I’m shocked, shocked) that helped out the eventual winning team for the LMPC title. Still, his good nature through all of this means his team will most likely be back. Here’s his view of the season.