The 2009 season isn't quite over for a trio of teams from the American Le Mans Series. Drayson Racing, Robertson Racing and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing have entered the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series Race on October 31-November 1 at the Okayama circuit in Japan.
A total of 23 entries representing the U.S., Europe and Japan are on the entry list for the event, which will feature a pair of three-hour races around the 13-turn, 2.3-mile layout that plays host to the Japanese round of the World Touring Car Championship on the same weekend. The stakes are high, with winners in all four classes receiving automatic invites to the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Robertson Racing and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing team are expected to be favorites in the GT2 class, especially considering the stiff competition both squads faced in the ALMS this year. Tommy Milner and Dirk Muller will drive BMW/RLR BMW M3, a car that won in class at Road America this year. The pairing finished on the GT2 podium five times together with runner-up finishes in St. Petersburg, Road America and Petit Le Mans.
Robertson Racing owners David and Andrea Robertson will pilot their Ford GT MK7 alongside David Murry. The American trio recorded a season-best sixth-place finish at St. Petersburg, and the performance of the Doran-Ford entry, prepared by Dick Barbour Racing, has improved greatly since its 2008 debut.
Among the prototype ranks, Drayson Racing will contest its third event with its new Judd-powered Lola B09/60 coupe in LMP1. Jonny Cocker and Paul Drayson, the UK's Minister for Science and Innovation, fielded the prototype at Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The latter was especially cruel with a massive crash coming out of the Corkscrew turn with an impact that measured 18.5 Gs. The prototype suffered substantial damage to the right side of the car and lesser harm to the left and rear of the highly sophisticated machine. In total, the major parts list required to repair, replace or have needed spares covers two, single-spaced, ledger pages. However, in practice and qualifying, the car was consistently quick in only its second race.
Three other American Le Mans Series regulars are on the entry list – all in GT2. Porsche factory drivers Marc Lieb and Wolf Henzler, the 2008 GT2 champion, will drive a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for Team Felbermayr-Proton.
Dominic Farnbacher, part of the Panoz Team PTG squad this year, will drive a Ferrari F430 GT for Hankook-Team Farnbacher.