VIR ALMS race 2012

 

Writer: Philip Mathew Photographer: Ken Marks Jr.

 

 Muscle Milk Takes Overall Victory at ALMS VIR 240

Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr took their Muscle Milk HPD/ARX-03a to the overall victory at the VIR 240 at Virginia International Raceway and moved closer to clinching the Prototype 1 (P1) title. Other class winners in the four-hour endurance race were: Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut (Prototype 2 or P2), Jon Bennett and Colin Braun (Prototype Challenge or PC), Oliver Gavin and Tommy Miner (Grand Touring or GT) and Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen (Grand Touring Challenge or GTC).

VIR ALMS race 2012

This was the first time the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) visited the permanent road course in Alton, VA.  Throughout the 2012 season, the P1 battle between Greg Pickett’s Muscle Milk HPD team and Dyson Racing’s Lola-Mazda has been hotly contested.  The race at VIR was no different with both cars dicing for the lead but the Muscle Milk team pulled away for a three-lap victory.  As long as the team completes seventy percent of the race at Petit Le Mans, they will repeat as class champions. 

In P2, Tucker and Bouchut held off the upstart Conquest Endurance Racing duo of Martin Plowman and David Heinemeier-Hansson for the victory and set themselves up for a class championship in a few weeks at Road Atlanta.  Tucker drove both of his Level 5 Motorsports cars during the race but the No.055 but used the expert hand of Bouchut to finish the job over the final hour to secure victory.

VIR ALMS race 2012

 

Bennett’s CORE Autosports team has been dominant throughout 2012 in the PC class and their victory at VIR was their sixth of the season as a team with Bennett and Colin Braun behind the wheel of the No. 05 ORECA FLM09.  However, teammate Alex Popow in the sister No. 06 car won the class championship with a third-place result.

 

In GT, Corvette Racing took the class victory with Gavin and Milner along with securing the class championship and manufacturers title in the No.4 C6-ZR1.  After years of domination in the now defunct GTS category, the Pratt and Miller squad had to adjust to the closer competition in GT and figured out the formula this season.  Gavin becomes a four-time class champion while Milner takes his first title after winning at his home track.  The Corvette team fought off Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche and the pole-sitting Extreme Speed Ferrari 458 Italia of Johannes Van Overbeek and Scott Sharp for the win.

 

VIR ALMS race 2012

In GTC, MacNeil clinched the class drivers’ championship with the victory after a late race splash-and-go by JDX Racing’s Michael Valiante.  For the University of Colorado student in his rookie season, MacNeil used the veteran presence of Job and teammate Keen to drive to victory for the second time in 2012. 

 

The final race of the 2012 ALMS season will be the 10-hour, 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 20.