There was no special significance in Lucas Luhr’s 43rd career victory in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón last Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. At least there wasn’t in his eyes.
Yes, it made him the championship’s all-time leader. And taking the American Le Mans Monterey with Klaus Graf in the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda Performance Development ARX-03a was tremendously difficult given the back-and-forth battle with Neel Jani in the event’s latter half that saw four lead changes over the final 32 laps.
"It's nice to be the ALMS driver with the most wins but honestly, I just think about taking things from race to race,” said Luhr who broke a tie with Risi Competizione’s Olivier Beretta. "Some people don't get it. It's not always about who has the quickest car. It's who has the quickest car under all circumstances, like in traffic.”
That’s how things played out Saturday. Luhr, a past factory driver for Porsche and Audi, was masterful in maneuvering through traffic during his roughly two-and-a-half hour stint.
“I took a big risk when I had to get by [Jani], but for me it was clear that was our only chance and I took it,” Luhr said. “Later on, we had a coming together, but it was just an unlucky race situation.”
Luhr certainly is well-versed in it over his 14-plus year ALMS career. Luhr has won races in three classes for four different manufacturers and is a five-time ALMS champion with titles in three classes.
The breakdown of victories? There have been 19 in GT2/GT, four in P2 and now 20 in P1. Of those 20, a dozen have come since 2011 as part of Greg Pickett’s Muscle Milk squad.
“A big thanks to them,” Luhr said Saturday. “It's so comforting for a driver to come into the pits and you know not to worry, that the guys will get it done, that they have made the right decisions.
“As a driver, inside the car you don’t always get the full picture and you get fired up. But our engineer Brandon [Fry] is the calmest. He was on the radio and said ‘Don’t worry. We got it buddy.’ ”
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón will take an extended break to allow teams to compete in next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Several other drivers, such as Team West Alex Job Racing’s Townsend Bell and Level 5 Motorsports’ Ryan Briscoe will be competing in the Indianapolis 500.
Others, such as BMW’s Bill Auberlen, Dempsey/Del Piero’s Andy Lally, CORE autosport’s Patrick Long and BMW’s John Edwards are getting ready for the June 1 running of the GRAND-AM’s Chevrolet 200 from Belle Isle Park in Detroit.
The next ALMS race is the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, scheduled for July 6.