The official entry list for the fourth round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series, the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix, features a first look at participants in the Series’ new Challenge class. Gruppe Orange, Snow Racing and ORBIT Racing each have entered their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars for the two-hour, 45-minute event.
Of note, Martin and Melanie Snow were winners in the first American Le Mans Series race, the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1999. They drove a Porsche 911 Turbo in the GTS class and teamed with Patrick Huisman; the Snows are the only husband-wife team to win a race in the Series.The American Le Mans Series’ Challenge class is set to debut at the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix.
The series announced the formation of the Challenge class nearly a month ago as an effort to promote the brightest and best of a new generation of sports car drivers. The Challenge class will compete with the American Le Mans Series for five races in 2009.
To be eligible for selection by sanctioning body IMSA, drivers and teams must have had notable success for at least a year within GT3 level of racing. Teams may only field Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from the Platinum class of the Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama, which is supplying the spec tire for both its championship and the Challenge class.
Certain technical regulations for the American Le Mans Series’ GT2 class will apply for Challenge entries, most notably rules governing refueling. Sporting regulations for the Challenge class also differ slightly from GT2. The number of crew members allowed over the wall during a pit stop is reduced, and only two members with only one wheel gun are allowed to change tires per stop. Teams also will have to make at least one stop to change all four tires at one point during the race.
The distribution of points will follow the American Le Mans Series championship. In a two-hour, 45-minute “sprint” format, class winners receive 20 points, runners-up 16, third-place 13 and down the line to 1 point for 10th place. A Challenge entry is limited to three drivers per car; however all competitors who drive an entry during the season will share the points awarded to that entry throughout the season. To score points, an entry must complete 70 percent of the overall race winner’s distance.
Drive time requirements from other Series classes apply – a two-hour maximum per competitor at Utah with each driver required to complete at least 10 laps.