Northern California Drivers Compete in American Le Mans Series

There are plenty of rivalries and Northern California fans will have to choose their favorites at the American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patrón, May 11-12, 2012 with at least nine regional drivers competing.

The American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patron is a six-hour endurance race that features multiple classes of high-tech sports cars competing together with constant passing and on-track battles throughout. The race takes competitors from daylight to dusk and into the darkness, pushing drivers’ and crews’ mental and physical abilities.

The 2012 race will feature Northern California natives:

Townsend Bell (San Francisco) calls Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the birthplace of his inspiration to become a driver. In 1996 he attended a three-day Skip Barber Racing School class and said from the moment he was buckled in, a light switch went on, and he knew what he wanted to do with his life – race – and he hadn’t event started up the engine. This year he will co-pilot Alex Job Racing’s new Lotus Evora in the American Le Mans Series.

Ken Dobson (Carmel Valley) grew up just over the hills from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, worked as an instructor at the Skip Barber Racing School and probably knows the racetrack better than most. Today he drives in the American Le Mans Series with Butch Leitzinger and Rudy Junco in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09.

Memo Gidley (Novato) grew up on the Pacific Ocean between Mexico and Northern California, living as “anchor outs” with his family in the San Francisco Bay, before moving to dry land and the town of San Rafael. His first foray into racing was with motorcycles, but a trip to the CART race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca convinced Gidley to pursue open-wheel racing. Gidely climbed his way up the ladder to Champ Car where he recorded three podium finishes with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. Gidley pilots the #5 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA FLM09 and comes into the 2012 ALMS season with four starts, three top-5 and two top-3 finishes.

Michael Guasch (Pleasant Hill) brings a lengthy and diverse resume to the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing lineup. Guasch’s racing background includes 2011 LMPC victory at Sebring with Genoa Racing, and a long history in IMSA support series and FIA GT3 competition.

Joey Hand (Sacramento) is in the midst of his busiest season yet, racing in both the American Le Mans Series stateside and German Touring Cars (DTM) in Europe. Hand is on a mission to defend his 2011 GT drivers’ championship that he shared with co-pilot Dirk Mueller in the No. 56 BMW E92 M3. He is a two time 12 Hours of Sebring GT winner (2011 and 2012) and a winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona (2011).

Seth Nieman (San Francisco) is a driver and team principal for Flying Lizards Motorsports piloting the No. 44 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Now in its ninths season of competition, Flying Lizard Motorsports won GT championships in 2008 and 2009.

Greg Pickett (Alamo) leads Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and their new Honda-powered P1 entry. Since entering the American Le Mans Series in 2008, the team has seven wins and has been runner-up in the championship the past two seasons.

Henri Richard (Los Altos Hills) returns to the Prototype Challenge class (PC) with Dempsey Racing. Last year he competed in the PC class with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, prior to which for drove with TRG Porsche in GT Challenge (GTC). Richard is a former Ferrari Challenge competitor who got his start racing 125cc motorcycles and rallies in his native France.

Johannes van Overbeek (Oakland) is consistently a championship contender in the American Le Mans Series, returning for his third season with Extreme Speed Motorsports in the GT class driving a Ferrari F458 Italia with team owner Scott Sharp. Van Overbeek has posted race victories with both Porsche and BMW in his career and won the 2007 Porsche Cup, which is presented annually to world’s top independent Porsche driver.

Advance purchase general admission is $60 for a two day pass. Children 12 and under are free with paying adult. There is complimentary parking and VIP parking available for $30. Hospitality options start at $250 per person.