Drayson team win first ALMS race at Road America
“After seeing our 61 race Michelin ALMS win streak end at Mid-Ohio in the last race, we were determined to start a new streak here at Road America,” said Silvia Mammone, manager motorsports, Michelin North America. “We are very pleased that our Michelin teams were able to overcome a significant disadvantage in straightaway speeds and score a very exciting 1-2-3 finish.
We congratulate Paul Drayson, Jonny Cocker and the entire Drayson team on their first overall ALMS race victory. We are proud that they chose Michelin as their technical partner and we hope they enjoy many more victories with Michelin,” said Mammone.
Cocker, who celebrated his 24th birthday earlier in the week, had first taken the lead on a restart with 52 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 45-minute race. He reeled off the fastest laps of the race on the 4.048-mile circuit to extend his lead to 36 seconds before pitting for fuel with just 21 minutes remaining.
That move dropped him to fourth place, a full 20 seconds behind three of the premier drivers in sports car racing worldwide as race leader Klaus Graf in the Muscle Milk Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder/Michelin led David Brabham in the defending race champion Highcroft Racing HPD/Michelin prototype and Mid-Ohio race winner Guy Smith in the Dyson Mazda Lola.
With the gap to the leader narrowing, Cocker passed Smith for third place with three laps remaining. On the next lap he got around Brabham and set his focus on Graf who was 5.24 seconds up the road as the white flag flew. Cocker caught the better of traffic and carried momentum and commitment into the final corners as Graf’s car started to starve for fuel.
The victory completed a perfect weekend for the Drayson team, which had claimed the pole, fastest race lap, its first ever ALMS win and a victory in the prestigious Michelin Green X Challenge.Drayson Racing becomes the fifth different team and fourth different Michelin technical partner to score an overall win in the seven 2010 American Le Mans Series events held to date.
“The race was truly amazing and Jonny’s drive was amazing and inspiring,” said Drayson, a member of the British House of Lords and former U.K. Minister of Science and Innovation. “We now have a world class racing team and we thank Michelin for their technology and encouragement.”
In scoring his team’s second Michelin Green X Challenge victory (Salt Lake City, 2010) in the American Le Mans Series, and third worldwide, Drayson, who also has a victory in the Michelin Green X Challenge Asian Le Mans Series, (Japan, 2009) added his team’s first overall ALMS victory in the two-hour, 45 minute race to the pole position and fastest race lap to sweep the board in the seventh race of the 2010 ALMS season.
The former U.K. Minister for Technology and Innovation and member of the House of Lords said, “I’m here with my wife, Elspeth and our family and team because the ALMS is leading the world in making racing relevant and providing the opportunity to bring a race team into competition with new technologies.
“It is not only about being able to race with new technologies; it is about winning with the new technologies. The Michelin Green X Challenge provides the platform for science and technology to help speed innovation.
“To win the Michelin Green X Challenge and win the race overall and have the fastest lap all in the same day is the whole point. We are showing that the new technologies will win,” said Drayson.
Drayson’s victory marks the 16th time in 34 awards since the program’s inception in March 2009 that the Michelin Green X Challenge winner also won its respective class in the race competition.
Led by the GT championship-leading Flying Lizard Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in second place, Michelin teams scored eight of the top nine places in the rugged GT class, but not the one that counted as BMW Rahal Letterman scored its second victory in successfully defending its class honors at Road America.
The GT-pole winning Corvette Racing ZR1/Michelin of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta took the final podium spot ahead of Corvette Racing teammates Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell. Extreme Speed’s Ferrari of Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown finished fifth followed by Mid-Ohio class winners Gianmaria Bruni and Jaime Melo.
In the new LMP Challenge class, Gunnar Jeannette and Elton Julian scored their third victory of the season for Green Earth Team Gunnar to narrow the championship battle with Level 5 Motorsports to a mere four points with just two races remaining.