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See you at Petit Le Mans

POSTED: October 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Steven Smelser, left, of Powder Springs readies a grill for cooking Friday afternoon while camping with friend for the racing weekend at Road Atlanta. Smelser's group have been at the South Hall track since Wednesday preparing for today's Petit Le Mans

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Some 100,000 people are expected to converge on Road Atlanta in Braselton this morning for the 11th running of the Petit Le Mans, a mini version of France's 24 hours of Le Mans. The race starts at 11:15 a.m. and usually goes about 10 hours.

Though the race includes a international cadre of competitors and fans, local favorite Johnny O'Connell of Flowery Branch will be competing again this year.

The race includes four different classes of vehicles, all racing at the same time on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile Grand Prix course. While some look sort of like Formula 1 vehicles familiar from the Indy 500, others - like O'Connell's Corvette - more closely resemble regular street vehicles.

All 10 hours - or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first - of today's race will be shown live on the SPEED channel and broadcast on XM radio channel 166. Or, you can watch video online from 1 to 6 p.m. via www.americanlemans.com.

But, if you want to go out and see it in person - and maybe catch a glimpse of a few celebrities while you're there - here's everything you'll need to know.
If you're not going, you'll probably want to avoid the area of Ga. 53 at Exits 16 and 17 off Interstate 85.



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