BRASELTON, Ga. - Riding a wave of acclaim after being showcased at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season resumes with Saturday's Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
Momentum is palpable, in the aftermath of having 28 drivers and six cars represent the ALMS at Le Mans on June 22-23, with twin high-profile highlights - near-podium finishes by Corvette Racing (fourth in LM GTE Pro class) and Dempsey Del Piero Racing (fourth in LM GTE Am).
Le Mans presented an unmatched opportunity for international notoriety.
Now, however, it's time to get back to the matter at hand - chasing ALMS championships, with Lime Rock the fourth event in the 10-race ALMS season.
The battles on the tight, 1.5-mile/seven-turn course will start at the top, in the P1 class where reigning co-champions Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr, co-driving an HPD ARX-03c prototype for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, lead the 2013 points.
Their chief rivals are Chris Dyson and Guy Smith of Dyson Racing, a team based in nearby Poughkeepsie, N.Y. that will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its first race this weekend. Dyson and Smith co-drive a Mazda-powered Lola B12/60. Adding intrigue to the class is the second appearance by former IndyCar driver Katherine Legge in the DeltaWing LM12, co-driving with Andy Meyrick.
Muscle Milk is defending P1 champion at Lime Rock, "and we want to keep our streak alive," Graf said. "Lime Rock will be brutal as always with almost only right hand corners and crazy traffic. Patience and smart racing in traffic will be the key to success."
Local favorites in the P2 class are Connecticut native Scott Sharp and Long Island's Guy Cosmo in the No. 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b. Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek are in the team's No. 02 entry. Championship leader Scott Tucker is expected to drive both of Level 5 Motorsports' two HPD ARX-03bs in that class, joining Marino Franchitti in the No. 551 and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 552.
The ultra-competitive GT class features Corvette, SRT Viper, BMW Z4, Ferrari 458 and Porsche. BMW driver Dirk Muller leads the driver championship standings by three points over Corvette's Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin.
Among the Porsche contingent will be factory driver Patrick Long in the No. 05 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, who contributed to the Dempsey Del Piero effort at Le Mans. Long's co-driver is Tom Kimber-Smith, another Le Mans competitor.
Mike Guasch, driver of the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09, leads the spec-class Prototype Challenge (PC) presented by Continental Tire class points leader. Henrique Cisneros, driver of the No. 30 MOMO Porsche 911 for NGT Motorsport, leads GTC points.
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix will be televised live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. on Saturday and begins a series of three ALMS races broadcast live - with the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport airing live on ESPN2 on July 21 and the Orion Energy Systems 245 from Road America on ABC, August 11.
Llive streaming for qualifying and the race at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix will be available on ESPN3. Qualifying will be available at 4:25 p.m. on Friday
and the live stream of the race starts at 2:45 p.m. on July 6.
The Series' website offers additional content such as live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring for all users around the world. Viewers outside the U.S. can watch all ALMS races live on ALMS.com.
Visit ALMS.com for current and future event information including tickets and area accommodations. Follow the Series on Twitter (#ALMS, #LimeRockGP), Facebook and YouTube.