The race toward the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón championships moves to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón on Saturday, Sept. 17. It's the eighth and penultimate round for the 2011 championship and marks the ALMS' return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The 39-car grid is the series' largest at the track since the first event in 1999. The six-hour enduro will feature the return of two high-profile entries. The first is Aston Martin Racing with a Lola-Aston Martin coupe for Adrian Fernandez and Harold Primat. They finished second in their most recent ALMS race at Long Beach in 2010 in the same car, and the factory entry will join Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing's Lola-Aston Martin on the grid.
Porsche's ground-breaking 911 GT3 R Hybrid also will return to the ALMS at Monterey. Factory drivers Romain Dumas and Richard Lietz will share the Porsche, which has seen numerous updates since the car raced last in the ALMS at Petit Le Mans, 2010. Among them is a lighter motor, a reconfigured distribution system for stored energy that is transferred to a more efficient flywheel. Moreover, drivers can manually use the stored energy with a boost-paddle on the steering wheel for overtaking. The car will run unclassified.
The championship chases for each of the four classes are likely to become much clearer at the end of six hours. Driver, team and tire manufacturer championships all remain in play heading to Monterey.
• The ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron is set for 4:30 p.m. ET. The race will air on ESPN2 from 1 to 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 18. Live coverage will be available in the U.S. on ESPN3 or outside the U.S. on americanlemans.com.