Luhr & Graf Conquer Long Beach ALMS
LONG BEACH, Calif. — Fuel strategy won out at Long Beach on Saturday with Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr winning the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach for the second straight season.
The Muscle Milk Honda Performance Development ARX-03a stopped twice during the race’s sole caution period and ran the final 56 minutes without another stop to win over Dyson Racing.
The Graf-Luhr pairing became the first to repeat at Long Beach in the ALMS’ six visits. Graf and Luhr now share the P1 championship lead with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.
The Muscle Milk car lost the lead on its first pit stop when it had fueling issues – harkening back to its disastrous closing moments at Sebring. It turned out to be a blessing as the quick splash ensured the car could get to the end without fueling again.
Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin gave Corvette Racing its first victory at Long Beach since 2009 and its first in ALMS since Mosport in July with an 8-second victory over BMW Team RLL’s Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller. Gavin’s strong open to his stint moved him ahead of Mueller with 46 minutes remaining.
Level 5 Motorsports’ Christophe Bouchut took the P2 lead with six minutes left as race-leader Martin Plowman had to pit late. Bouchut and Scott Tucker won in class at Long Beach for the second straight year, this time in a HPD ARX-03b.
CORE Autosport won its second race of the season and consecutively at Long Beach with Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel victorious in Prototype Challenge. The CORE entry was 19 seconds quicker on its lone pit stop than runner-up Muscle Milk Pickett Racing.
In GT Challenge, Green Hornet Racing’s Damien Faulkner drove a strong second stint in a hard-fought battle with Leh Keen as the Irishman and Peter LeSaffre won in class over Alex Job Racing. Faulkner finished 3.107 seconds ahead of Keen following a tense series of laps following the race restart.
Both drivers took turns posting the fastest race lap for the class until Faulkner gained the upper hand with less than 20 minutes to go.