Indianapolis Motor Speedway
24 Hour Le Mans
A thrilling, come-from-behind effort by the Muscle Milk Racing duo of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr in their HPD ARX-03a saw the pair score its third consecutive overall and LMP1 victory of 2012 Saturday at the American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park.
In addition, Level 5 Motorsports continued its streak of American Le Mans Series LMP2 class victories, and is now four-for-four on the season, as Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker teamed up for the win aboard their HPD ARX-03b.
Starting on the outside of the front row, Luhr passed pole qualifier Chris Dyson’s Lola-Mazda just six laps into the race, then edged away until a problem with the gearbox electronics resulted in a long stop 45 minutes into the contest. When repairs were complete, the Muscle Milk team found itself four laps behind the leaders and 21st overall.
Once repairs were complete, a relentless charge by Luhr and Graf got the ARX-03a back into contention, and the timing of yellows and pit stops meant that, with less than 30 minutes to go, the Muscle Milk machine was back on the lead lap and nose-to-tail with the leading Dyson entry. When the green flag waved for the final time, Graf was soon past Dyson’s co-driver Guy Smith and secured Muscle Milk’s third win in succession when a late-race accident led to the race finishing under yellow.
Level 5’s LMP2 win also was the result of a drive through the field, as the team elected to withdraw its #95 HPD ARX-03b and start the #055 car at the rear of the 29-car field in a strategic move to pair Bouchut with Tucker.
Bouchut surged through the field and led overall for more than 30 minutes, then team owner/driver Tucker held off the attacks of the Conquest Morgan-Nissan of Martin Plowman and David Heinemeier Hansson late in the contest to finish third overall and first in LMP2. It marked the fourth consecutive class victory for Level 5, which is undefeated in American Le Mans Series LMP2 competition this year.
HPD, Muscle Milk and Level 5 Motorsports will try