Over the past 15 years there have been many thrilling moments at the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. This year’s race runs October 16-19 and will certainly be another classic as Road Atlanta bids farewell to the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (tickets are on sale here!).
So here are ten great memories from Petit Le Mans (it was hard to pick only ten):
1998 – The first Petit Le Mans will forever be remembered for the spectacular incident when the Porsche driven by Yannick Dalmas did a back flip along the backstretch. Here’s the video: Click Here
The 24 Hours of Le Mans runs this weekend at the famous French circuit. In four months the 16th Annual Petit Le Mans runs at Road Atlanta, featuring several of the same teams competing at Le Mans.
At the recent Le Mans test day, nine cars representing six teams from the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series participated.
The GT class at Le Mans is perhaps the most intriguing: Corvette, Viper, Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin are all entered, and all those marques will likely be represented at Petit Le Mans (plus BMW!). The American muscle rivalry of Corvette vs. Viper could make this year’s Petit one of the most exciting ever!
The LMP2 category entry is huge at Le Mans- and remember that P2 cars will be part of the new United SportsCar Racing Series next year. Level 5 Motorsports will be a top challenger at Le Mans and this USA-based team will also be at Petit Le Mans later this year.
The world’s best non-factory LMP1 team is Rebellion. While challenging the factory Audi and Toyota teams for the overall win is unlikely at Le Mans, you can be sure their Lola will be the big favorite at Petit Le Mans. Rebellion won last year at Road Atlanta’s 1,000-mile classic and is running the full ALMS calendar this year.
In 1974 the 12 Hours of Sebring was cancelled due to the fuel crisis brought on by the OPEC oil embargo (the 24 Hours of Daytona had also been cancelled earlier in the year).
When the oil embargo ended in late March, IMSA decided to go ahead and have Road Atlanta open the 1974 season with a six-hour race on April 21st that would be known as “Sebring at Road Atlanta” (which was printed on the tickets). While this wasn’t the official name of the event, that was certainly the theme. It should be noted that even though Sebring was cancelled, several thousand fans showed up anyway at the old central Florida airport circuit back in March.
As track President Arthur Montgomery wrote in the event program: “You will be witnessing the first ever championship endurance racing event at Road Atlanta. We regret it was necessary for our friends at Sebring to cancel their event, but welcome the opportunity to replace Sebring for the opening race of the 1974 championship schedule.”