The only real question in the P1 class of the American Le Mans Series this year was which Audi driver pairing would capture the championship. Audi only faced one actual challenger all season long in the LMP1 class from the Intersport Racing team, and they weren't really in the same class, if you know what we mean. Going into this past weekend's Detroit Sports Car Challenge, the pairing of Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner were leading their teammates Marcel Fässler and Emanuele Pirro with an opportunity to clinch the drivers' championship. Some mishaps for the Luhr/Werner team early on, however, suggested the battle would go on until at least the Petit Le Mans next month. Luhr hit a tire wall hard on lap 13 and Fässler went on to cross the finish line third behind a pair of Acuras in the LMP2 class. But the Fässler/Pirro car was disqualified after the race for being underweight, leaving the LMP1 drivers' title to Luhr and Werner. Hopefully the entry of Acura and Corsa Motorsports' hybrid racer in the LMP1 class for 2009 will give Audi a real challenge. If only we could convince Peugeot to run the full ALMS schedule with its diesel-powered 908s, LMP1 would be as much fun as the P2 and GT classes.
Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
Luhr/Werner win ALMS Championship title
- Teammates excluded after Detroit race
- Early decision in the LM P1 class
INGOLSTADT/DETROIT, Aug 31, 2008 - Despite not finishing the city street race in Detroit, the two German Audi "factory" drivers Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner have already clinched the Drivers' title in the LM P1 class of the American Le Mans Series.
The title chase was decided as their teammates Marcel Fässler and Emanuele Pirro, who had originally won the LM P1 class on the "Belle Isle Street Circuit", were excluded after the race. At Technical Scrutineering, the #1 Audi R10 TDI was found to be 2.5 kilograms under the requested 925-kilogram weight limit. Following contact with another car during the morning warm-up session, a spare nose had been fitted which was prepared for both cars, not specifically set-up for the #1 car.
This is the third LM P1 title in the American Le Mans Series for Marco Werner (42) following his Championship wins in 2003 and 2004. It is the fourth win for Lucas Luhr (29) following his successes in 2002, 2003 and 2006 – however it is his first in the LM P1 category. Luhr has also become the first driver ever in the history of the U.S. sportscar series to clinch the title in three different categories: GT2, LM P2 and now LM P1.
"Of course we would have prefered to have won the title under different circumstances," said Luhr and Werner. "But with seven consecutive victories already this season we certainly feel we have earned the title."
Before the last two races at Road Atlanta (4 October) and Laguna Seca (18 October) the two Germans hold a 66-point lead over Emanuele Pirro and are 68 points clear of Clint and Jon Field who were awarded the LM P1 class victory in Detroit. Only 55 points remain available in the final two races.