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Georgia On My Mind

Make. Believe.

Ten years ago it began with a dream. And on that dream, Don Panoz built Petit Le Mans. He believed it could provide a better solution and a superior product for the sports car world and he was correct.

Numbers. Cruncher.

The 10th running, the 10th annual, the 9th anniversary of Petit Le Mans was one of the best events ever in the long history of Road Atlanta. It is fair to say 100,000 people were on the grounds over the course of PLM week and a record number of journalists attended – especially if you count the photojournalism class from the University of Georgia. And thankfully there were no violent outbursts in the media center by the monkey-juiced, ex jarhead (and now,”ex’) local beat writer. Instead, media and friends from near and far gathered in Mr. Fannin’s back yard – it was old home week once again.

Race day was book-ended by two big, Italian accidents – Johnny Mowlem’s in the Risi Ferrari during morning warm up and Andrea Bertolini’s Lista Maserati late in the race. The subsequent full course yellow caution period probably snatched another overall victory from Team Penske. It did provide Dindo Capello the opportunity to have “the drive of his life,” according to teammate Allan McNish. In between these two shunts were numerous crashes, one – Jan Magnussen’s massive impact at turn 4a – demonstrated the strength of the Pratt & Miller C6-R. This should be a wake up call to the ACO to come up with a solution regarding top end and closing speeds of the LMP-2 and GT-1 classes. Another series of incidents has apparently resulted in the renaming of turn 10 to “Krohn’s Korner.”

Know. How.

Ten years old and knowing they now have built a relatively solid foundation, the ALMS top brass is now faced with their next series of challenges. How do we attract more manufacturers? How do we attract more fans? How do we provide a greener product? How do we attract a relevant series sponsors? And perhaps most importantly – How do we convince the ACO to write better, more consistent rules that will provide a sustainable global platform for more than just a single race in France?

Enjoy the pics.

Richard Dole
October, 2007

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