|The unbeatable pairing of Luhr and
Graf claimed victory again. ©ALMS.com
New livery, same blistering pace, was the statement made by Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf at Lime Rock Park in the American Le Mans Series when they claimed a remarkable win for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. The pair, and their HPD-ARX 03a, were the class of the field, almost from the second of the go in Connecticut. Even a very long stop with gearbox trouble on the LMP1 machine failed to hold the team back for long.
Luhr started the Honda powered prototype, making the move on pole sitters, and class rivals, the Dyson Racing outfit six laps after the start at the historic American venue. The young German pushed on before being stopped by a failure in the gearbox, spending forty-five minutes behind the wall with technicians effecting frantic repairs to the car. He rejoined the race five laps down on the race leading Lola B12/60 Mazda of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.
Following the repairs on the car, Luhr drove to catch up to the leading Lola product. Klaus Graf then took over the car and carried the mantle laid by his younger co-driver. With half an hour to go in the race, the HPD was once again, on the tail of the leading Dyson car waiting for the safety car to pull in again. When it did, the HPD struck and the race lead, and eventual win, was theirs.
In LMP2, it was once again a Level 5 victory. The HPD-ARX 03b has been on great form for 2012, building on success in 2011. Level 5 Motorsport has won every P2 race since the ALMS split its LMP class into P1 and P2. In fact at Lime rock, the car was even better, leading overall at times. That was after the #95 car was withdrawn and the #55 was sent to the back of the grid due to regulatory issues.
There was a race in the second prototype class though, thanks to the Conquest Morgan-Nissan. The Morgan fought hard in the dying laps of the race and was thwarted only by the arrival of the safety car once more, which closed out the race.
A one-two in LMPC went the way of the Core Autosport team. Colin Braun and John Bennett took the win over team mates, Alex Popow and Tom Kimber-Smith. PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports rounded out the class podium after having a meeting of the minds, and carbon fibre panels, with Scott Sharp's extreme speed Ferrari.
Talking of Ferrari's, both extreme speed cars were in the thick of it until the team car also found a PC car to have a crash with. The second car, the #01 of Guy Cosmo, was the cause of the final safety car and was a big one. It dropped the car out of a great four way battle for the win, where Cosmo was fighting with the #45 Flying Lizard car and the two Chevrolet Corvettes.
It was the Flying Lizard car of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long who claimed the win for GT ahead of the Magnussen and Garcia piloted Corvette. The Gavin/Milner Vette held on for third place. ln GTC it was the Alex Job Racing car which claimed the win, care of Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen.