Indianapolis Motor Speedway
24 Hour Le Mans
The Muscle Milk Racing duo of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr dominated Saturday’s six-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in their HPD ARX-03a, leading from flag to flag to score its second consecutive overall and LMP1 victory of 2012.
Three laps behind the overall victors, the Level 5 Motorsports trio of Luis Diaz, Franck Montagny and Scott Tucker finished second overall and claimed the LMP2 class victory in its #95 ARX-03b, after a nearly race-long battle with the Conquest Racing Morgan Nissan of David Hansson, Antonio Pizzonia and Martin Plowman.
Following up on their victory last month at the team’s “home” race at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, Graf and Luhr sprinted away from Dyson Racing’s Lola Mazda on the opening lap and dominated the day in their HPD V8-powered ARX-03a, lapping the field within the first two hours of the six-hour event. The team carried on to run a flawless event, setting fastest race lap and winning its second consecutive Michelin Green X Challenge en route to the win.
In LMP2, featuring a pair of HPD twin-turbocharged V6-powered ARX-03bs fielded by Level 5 Motorsports, the race was much more closer. Driving the #055 Level 5 entry, early leader Franck Montagny collided with a slower GTC Porsche, sending the ARX-03b to the garage for repairs and handing the lead to the sister #95 car, with Scott Tucker driving.
But it was not clear sailing for the #95 ARX-03b, as the Morgan Nissan from Conquest Endurance, which added former Formula One driver Pizzonia for this event, presented a strong challenge for the first five hours. But shortly after taking the lead in an exchange of pit stops during the final hour, Hansson was forced to pit the Conquest machine with transmission issues, and Level 5 reclaimed the lead to continue its perfect season of three American Le Mans Series LMP2 class victories in three races this year.
After going behind the pit wall for repairs, Level 5’s #055 ARX-03b returned to finish third in LMP2, with Christophe Bouchut driving the final stint.
After its two-race swing through California, the American Le Mans Series has a one-month layoff as several leading teams - including Level 5 - take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The series resumes July 7 with