Almost every ALMS driver looked to the skies with a frown on Saturday morning as it rained overnight and was drizzling during practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; Flying Lizard Motorsports' driver Jörg Bergmeister was not among them. “I actually like the rain,” he said. “I do what I always do and seem to come out ahead.” It is a confident response from a driver who should be very confident: Bergmeister took pole for the GT2 class in the number 45 911 GT3 RSR.
From left to right: Darren Law, Seth Neiman and Jörg Bergmeister prepare for the start of the race
His confidence is especially impressive in light of the fact that the team was informed late this week that the number 45 car was being assessed a 25 kilogram (55 pound) penalty weight due to judges’ suspicions regarding the legality of their motor. Bergmeister and Long were still pleased with the car’s performance during practice and qualifying sessions in spite of this additional weight.
Bergmeister gaining ground away from the Corvettes as he enters Thunder Valley
Also entered in the race was Flying Lizard’s number 44 car, driven by Flying Lizard founder Seth Neiman and Darren Law. Law raced at Watkins Glen Friday and was not present for the qualifying session at Mid-Ohio, forcing him to start from the back of the grid. It was a penalty they struggled to overcome the entire race.
Flying Lizard’s number 44 Porsche battling to pass the number 40 Ford in Thunder Valley
The weather let up just before the race, prompting teams to replace their rain tires with race slicks. As the race began, Ohio weather, in an effort to maintain its reputation for being anything but consistent, rolled gray clouds overhead once more. Aside from a drop or two, teams and fans alike did not see rain the rest of the day.
The number 08 Patron 911 GT3 from the challenge class saw an early end to the race, running off the track at the entry to madness before completing one lap. Ed Brown, the car’s driver, was rushed to a local hospital but was released after finding no serious injuries. The car was not so lucky, hitting a guardrail during the crash.
The Patron car being towed from the gravel pit. Driver Ed Brown sustained no serious injuries in the crash
Muscle Milk’s number 6 RS Spyder driven by Greg Pickett placed second in the P2 class. Pickett was given an avoidable contact penalty early on for hitting the number 90 BMW. This effectively took number 90 off the lead pace for the remainder of the race,
This race marked the debut of the Corvettes in the GT2 class, with the new C6.R Corvettes. The number 3 and 4 Corvettes were in second and third place consistently throughout the race, but the number 92 Rahal Letterman BMW passed the number 4 C6.R on the last lap to take third place.
Some fans speculated this could have been a strategic move to avoid having two cars on the podium on their debut. The Corvette team brushed aside this accusation, saying it was an effort to conserve fuel near the end of the race. However you view this strategic move, the Corvettes made themselves known as a force to be reckoned with in the series.
By the race’s end, the number 45 car took first place with Patrick Long behind the wheel. Long ended the race 21 seconds ahead of the number 3 Corvette. This broke the record for consecutive wins in the series. How did it feel? “Unbelievable!!” Long exclaimed. “The level of professionalism and cooperation exhibited by the team was amazing. I am very excited and we want to keep this positive momentum going.”
The next race in the American LeMans Series will be at Road America Road Course.
Today’s post was written by frequent contributor Andrew Granieri. Andrew is graduating from Miami University in August with a degree in Technical & Scientific Communications and Entrepreneurship. He is eagerly searching for a job that will allow him to keep his performance driving hobby going.