MIAMI, FL, OCT. 3 — International sportscar racing`s stars and cars will make their first appearance in downtown Miami since 1993 this weekend, and James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger will be leading Dyson Racing`s efforts in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of the Americas. The Anglo-American pairing will be splitting time in the same #16 Thetford / Norcold / Goodyear MG-Lola EX257 they took to a second place finish in Laguna Seca, CA two weeks ago.
This weekend`s race–a two-hour, forty-five minute affair– marks the third time in the 2002 ALMS season that the series has been showcased on a temporary street course. In the early nineties, prototypes raced on nearly the same grounds where this weekend`s race will be held, on the Miami waterfront and along Biscayne Blvd. Due to some changes in the city`s infastructure, this weekend drivers will be faced with the challenge of learning and racing on a tight new 1.57-mile, 15-turn layout.
Weaver and Leitzinger are no strangers to Victory Lane in the Miami area, having scored a Rolex Series win together at nearby Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2001. Weaver himself scored an emotional victory for Dyson in the 1988 Miami Grand Prix, sharing a Porsche 962 with Price Cobb. The Englishman returns to downtown Miami this weekend as the only active past overall winner of the event.
Weaver is upbeat about this weekend`s events. “I think the track is going to be quite narrow, and street courses generally have very little grip,” he said. “We have made some big progress with the car in a month, and Goodyear`s working hard on their end. It is going to take some time but I am glad we are here to assess the car on a point-and-squirt layout.”
“It was always a huge race, this one,” Weaver added. “Great atmosphere, lots of buzz. It should be great.”
The action gets underway on Friday, with practice and Qualifying. Saturday`s race starts at 4 PM and will be televised live in its entirety on the Speed Channel.