GM Racing

2000 Mazda Raceway Finish a Preview of 2006?

Points Battle is as Close as Ever

MONTEREY, Calif. - They are teammates now but were rivals in the past. Corvette Racing's Ron Fellows and Olivier Beretta have been part of the GT1 championship picture in the American Le Mans Series since its formation in 1999. Especially thrilling were the battles between the Corvette C5-Rs and the red ORECA Vipers in the early years of the Series.

It never got closer than at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2000. Beretta and Karl Wendlinger finished just 0.001 seconds ahead of Fellows and Andy Pilgrim for the closest finish ever in American Le Mans Series history.

"The Vipers were in the same situation that we are in now," Fellows said. "They were the dominant team, and we were new and trying to make our mark. We outqualified them a few times but were rarely able to beat them."

This year's Corvette-Aston Martin duel at Lime Rock Park came close to matching the record margin of victory. Stephane Sarrazin beat Johnny O'Connell across the finish line by 0.033 seconds for Aston Martin Racing's first GT1 win of 2006. Prodrive (with its Ferraris) and Corvette Racing have split the last four meetings at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The points battle heading into next weekend's final round of 2006 is as close as ever. Beretta and Oliver Gavin lead Aston Martin's Tomas Enge by 11 points in the drivers championship. Corvette Racing leads Aston Martin Racing by 7 points in the team standings, with the manufacturer's race having the same margin in favor of Corvette.

The final round of the 2006 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at 2:45 p.m. PDT on Saturday, October 21. SPEED will broadcast the race from 8 p.m. to midnight EDT on the same day. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage, and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com.

Release Date: October 10, 2006