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Mar 13-15
12 Hours of Sebring ALMS
Sebring, FL USA
12 hrs
Speed Channel

April 3-5
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez ALMS
Mexico City,
Mexico
6 Hrs Speed Channel

June 14 -15
24 Hours at Le Mans ACO
Le Mans, France 24 Hrs
Speed Channel

June 27-29
Cadillac Grand Prix of Washington D.C ALMS
Washington D.C 2 3/4 hrs
CBS Sports

July 25- 27
Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma ALMS
Sonoma, CA 2 3/4 hrs
NBC Sports

Aug 1-3
le Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres ALMS
Quebec, Canada 3 hrs Speed Channel

Aug 15-17
Grand Prix at Mosport ALMS
Ontario, Canada 2 3/4 hrs
NBC Sports

Aug 22-24
ALMS at Road America ALMS
Elkhart Lake, WI 2 3/4 hrs
Speed Channel

Sept 5-7
Monterey Sports Car Championship ALMS
Monterey, CA 2 3/4 hrs
NBC Sports

Sep 26-27
Cadillac American Le Mans Challenge ALMS
Miami, FL 2 3/4 hrs
Speed Channel

Oct 15-18
Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta ALMS
Braselton, GA 1000 miles or 10 hrs
Speed Channel
 

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2003 Season for Corvette Racing

The Corvette Racing team was almost totally dominant for the past two seasons at Le Mans and in the American Le Mans Series but 2003 appears to be one of those make or break seasons.

The U.K. based ProDrive Team (of World Rally prowess) will field two newly crafted Ferrari 550 Maranellos for the entire ALMS season and at Le Mans. The Ferrari 550 was 5 miles per hour faster than the C5-R down the abbreviated Mulsanne straight at the 2002 running of the 24 Hours of Endurance and Efficiency (the actual ACO name for the race) and despite getting fuel economy that was not as good as the C5-R still managed to lap the big yellow Corvettes. In 2002 the Ferrari caught fire at the 12-hour mark and retired from the race. This year there will be two for Doug Fehan's Pratt & Miller team to contend with so reliability and consistency will probably be more important than it has in prior years.

The Olive Garden team will also field a newly designed Ferrari 550 Maranello and by all acounts it is a quantum leap beyond the chassis/engine they utlized in 2002. Since the Italian-based restaurant chain takes this sponsorship seriously, expect them to pour serious money into the efforts of Emanuelle Naspetti and Mimmo Schiattarella who will once again be the piloti for the team. If you get a chance to attend an ALMS race stop by the Olive Garden paddock. The team is comprised of the friendliest people in the ALMS series. They are cheerful, humourous, and will pose for photos and allow you to photograph the car quite freely. Bono fortuno to all of them.

The Saleen teams will benefit from reduced penalty weight and a removal or reduction of the air intake restictor that was placed on the cars as a penalty for the manufacturer failing to produce the number of street cars required under the ACO/ALMS GTS rules. However Terry Borchellor will be driving elswhere and team leader Franz Konrad does not lap as competively as drivers from the competition. Also, support from the Saleen "factory" in Anaheim, California is in doubt.

The big Chrysler Vipers (they do not refer to them as Dodge Vipers "over there") will also have their work cut out for them since they also lack direct factory sponsorhip or support. If you've ever been to Europe however, you may have noticed how well those cars do in the GTS championship, so they can never be counted out.

If you have never been to an ALMS race you really don't know what you're missing. The sound and fury, more so from the GTS ranks than even from the LMP-900 class cars, is quite an experience in person. There is no mistaking a C5-R coming off a corner. V-12s, V-10s, turbocharged flat sixes, don't compare with the raw growl of a big American V-8 on the cam and charging out of a corner exit.

Best tracks:

Mosport Park, near Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. A short drive from Toronto (one of the cleanest cities in North America), has best spectator viewing and challenging corners. The local fans are among the most knowlegable sports car racing fans you will run into at any race track. Brush up on your Canadian English. "Ah-boot" means "about";"Al-you-min-e-um" is "Aluminum"; "eh?", means, variously, "Do you agree?", "Do you understand?", as in "How 'boot 'dem Cowboys, eh?" . To help break the ice with the locals, try to work the following into conversations "Wayne Gretzky couldn't carry Darryl Sittler's skates", or "Good to see the Leafs standing up at the blue line". If you are still one of the minority who smokes cigarettes, you're screwed: They have these things called Players which taste like, well, Darryl Sittler's skates. The good news is that they have plenty of beer and ale. The bad news is that you have to pay for it in Canadian dollars (just kidding, they take greenbacks and they go further).

Laguna Seca Raceway, near Monterey, CA. Short drive from San Jose or SFO. Has beautiful weather, excellent sight lines to many corners, and the famous corkscrew, a sharp left-right combination that features a three-story drop to the exit. Incomparable seafood restaurants are a short drive away in Monterey, as is Pebble Beach, and U.S. 1, the highway that clings to the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean as it meanders south to Santa Barbara. Brush up on Valley Girl speaking mannerisms and vocabulary. The term "Dude" can be used in a variety of situations which may at first appear confusing. For example, it can be a question "Dude?", or an indication that you are performing well "Dude!. "Knarly" is good, but it can also be bad. Be alert to the context.

Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Very long track. Very green. Do not leave without getting at least one bratwurst. They are killer. Brush up on the types and origins of cheese. It comes up a lot in the conversation. Smile alot. These people are either incredibly friendly or they have discovered Mauai Wowee that can handle frost. Many people who come to the track are from Minnesota, and the Chicago area. For the people from Chicago, say "Wayne Gretzky couldn't carry Stan Mikita's skates". For the Minnesota people, be careful what you say about hockey. Instead, mention that "The Fearsome Foursome couldn't carry the Purple People Eater's kleets".

Circuit de Sarthe, in and around the village of Le Mans, about a three hour drive from Paris. Fantastic circuit, steeped in tradition and one of the fastest (even after they put a chicane in the middle of the 3-mile-long Mulsanne straight). If you stay awake the entire 24 hours you are a tough guy. Getting out to your hotel from the circuit however is harder than getting the hostages out of Iran was. Do not bother to learn French. It will not do you any good. They can tell that you are not one of them. They will treat you accordingly. You are better off speaking German, even if it is very poor grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. They hate the Germans but they fear them. To get into the spirit of the relationship tell them that the Citroen is the ugliest God-damned car you have ever had the misfortune to have to gaze upon, and that you're glad Peugot fell out of international racing. Tell them that the entire French National Hockey team couldn't carry your skates. Watch the Steve McQueen classic Le Mans as many times as you can, to get a feel for which corners you want to hang out at. Buy a Heuer Monaco Re-edition watch and wear it. The "e" in Porsche is pronounced, e.g., "Por-sha", just like the name of the character from the Merchant of Venice, not "Porsh" which sounds like porch.

Wherever you choose to go, buy paddock tickets, get down there and mingle with the racers, the scantily clad women, and the souvenir vendors. Buy that Ron Fellows Corvette Racing hat, or that Andy Pilgrim Corvette Signature edition Polo shirt. Show your colors.

God bless Zora Arkus-Duntov, and Doug Fehan.

Ray
 

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Thanks..:buhbye:
 
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