Michelin needs only to have one of its technical partner team cars finish 70 percent to clinch its 13th straight GT tire manufacturer's championship. Meanwhile, there's a four-way fight for the GT title of the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge. The No. 3 Corvette (Magnussen, Garcia) leads the No. 55 BMW Team RLL M3 by one point, the No. 4 Corvette by five, and the No. 01 Extreme Speed Ferrari by 13.
“The top four GT cars in the MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge GT championship all use the second-generation E85R fuel, so their Clean scores will likely be very close. Any advantage in race speed, efficiency or even the amount of fuel taken on the last pit stops may well determine the championship,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager.
A WIN WOULD BE NICE – There's a handful of teams this year where a class win would come as a welcome, needed tonic for all-too-frustrating seasons.
Silicon Tech/Dempsey Racing would be the first group. All of its drivers, Duncan Ende, Henri Richard and Ryan Lewis, are prior Petit Le Mans winners – but in the stacked PC class field, the best the team has been able to record has been third on two occasions. There have been far too many mistakes throughout the season and in a class this tight, where three different teams and five driving combinations have won races, any errors are magnified.
A similar story takes place at Merchant Services Racing, which rose from the ashes of the Intersport Racing group, led by team manager Brian Alder. Kyle Marcelli has been unable to showcase his talent, with the biggest obstacle a revolving door of co-drivers – it's undoubtedly challenging to build chemistry when you're pushing double digits in number of different people you have to share the car with. Marcelli is one of the class's quickest drivers but has rarely gotten the car in a position to do anything with it.
Down in GTC, the Green Hornet Racing team has been bitten by bad luck in nearly every race, as a magnet for accidents rarely of its own doing. Despite five poles by Damien Faulkner, the team only has one win. According to team principal and co-driver Peter LeSaffre, “We should have been sponsored by Target – we seem to have had one on our backs all year.”
Perhaps it falls to the old racing curse of a green car being unlucky, but with one of GTC's better lineups in those two and Brian Wong, victory would be sweet this weekend.
JET LAG CREW – The American Le Mans Series has been off for more than a month, but that hasn't meant the world of sports car racing has been quiet. Far from it, in fact.
Petit Le Mans falls in the middle of two FIA World Endurance Championship events on the other side of the world – last week's race in Fuji, Japan and next week the series concludes its season in Shanghai, China. There's nine drivers who are racing in all three.
Rebellion's trio this race of Neel Jani, Nicolas Prost and Andrea Belicchi are split into two cars in the WEC events. Ryan Dalziel, part of Starworks Motorsport's P2 World Championship-winning team, is back with CORE autosport in PC this race.
Ricardo Gonzalez, too, returns to CORE after winning the championship for the team last year, but his main role in 2012 has been in the WEC with P2's Greaves Motorsport, a car he shares with Elton Julian. Julian makes an ALMS return as well with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, also in the PC class.
Lastly, OAK Racing's trio this race of Jacques Nicolet, Bertrand Baguette and Olivier Pla complete the group of jetsetters. Baguette's raced in both the team's P1 and P2 class entries this year.
Several journalists and PR reps, as well, have embarked on the world tour and will no doubt be relieved when the trips are over – even if their frequent flier mile numbers have increased substantially.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW – Last month's Grand-Am season finale at Lime Rock offered some ALMS personnel a chance to dip their feet in the water and see how a typical weekend there operates. This weekend, the tables are turned as some Grand-Am officials will be making a voyage down to Atlanta to see the life and times of an ALMS show. One of the off-track elements they will see is the 2013 ALMS schedule, which is expected to be released.
This race closes the book on domestic sports car racing for 2012, but discussions will continue into the coming months as details of the single sports car championship continue to evolve.