American Le Mans weekly notes 2001-02-26

** ON TO TEXAS -- The 2001 American Le Mans Series racing season will kick off with Sunday's Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Practice and qualifying will be held on Saturday, with the ...

** ON TO TEXAS -- The 2001 American Le Mans Series racing season will kick off with Sunday's Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Practice and qualifying will be held on Saturday, with the two-hour, 45-minute ALMS race to get the green flag at 1 p.m. (CST) on Sunday. The race will be televised live on the Speedvision Network. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

** O'CONNELL TO DRIVE AT TEXAS -- Though he was originally only slated to drive in long-distance races, Johnny O'Connell has been added to the driving lineup for Team Corvette for the Texas event. O'Connell replaces Chris Kneifel as co-driver with Ron Fellows. Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins will drive the other Corvette C5-R. Texas Motor Speedway was the site for Corvette's first ALMS win last year.

** WESTWARD TEAM TO DEBUT AT TEXAS -- Westward Racing Group will jointly field a car with the Panoz Motor Sports team in the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas. The entry of the Panoz LMP-1 Roadster gives Westward's drivers, Jay Cochran and Richard Dean, and team personnel the opportunity to gain valuable racing experience with the factory Panoz team before Westward starts its European Le Mans Series campaign in April. ** ONE NEW AND ONE OTHER FOR PANOZ TEAM -- The Panoz Motor Sports team will field just one of its new LMP 07 Prototypes in this weekend's Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas. Jan Magnussen and David Brabham will be the drivers. Having been up against a very tight test, development and build schedule in the last two months, and with some technical modifications having been made quite recently, it was decided by the team to just race one of the 2001 cars at TMS. The team plans to field two of the new cars in the Superflo 12 Hours At Sebring, the next race on the ALMS schedule.

The team of Klaus Graf and Gualter Salles will compete at Texas in one of last year's Panoz LMP-1 cars.

** BORCHELLER TO COMPETE AT TEXAS -- Terry Borcheller, a road racing standout and champion, has joined the field for this weekend's ALMS season opener at Texas Motor Speedway. The Phoenix resident has been named to co-drive with Erik Messley in one of two GTS cars fielded by American Viper Racing. The new team will campaign Dodge Viper GTS-R cars that were built by Team ORECA, the GTS class champion the past two years of the ALMS. Borcheller takes the place of Neil Hanneman, announced last week as AVR driver for the Texas race.

MICHELIN READY TO DEFEND TITLES -- Michelin, which won the Tire Manufacturer's Championship in the Prototype, GTS and GT classes of the ALMS in 2000, is ready to defend its titles starting this weekend at Texas. Michelin will shod 10 ALMS teams at Texas and will bring more than 2,000 tires to the event, giving teams a wide variety of tires from which to choose. "Our commitment to our teams is that we will have the right tire for the right condition for each of our cars," said Jerry Rinaldo, Michelin racing manager. "While the track temperatures will not be as high as they were last year at Texas, finding just the right tire for the conditions will be just as challenging as it was last year. Each construction and rubber compound combination has a 'sweet spot' when it comes to optimum operating temperature, so we bring a lot of solutions."

PANOZ RACING SERIES CHAMPION TO GET TEST DRIVE -- The Panoz Racing Series has announced that the overall champion of the new Panoz Racing GT Series, GT class, will be guaranteed a test drive with a leading American Le Mans Series GT or GTS team, or a top BF Goodrich Trans Am Series team, in 2002. The test will be scheduled as teams prepare for the 2002 season and is expected to generate a considerable amount of attention for both the race team and the Series' GT Class champion. Drivers in the Panoz GT Series, GT Class, compete in Panoz GT race cars, equally prepared by the Panoz Racing School. To be considered for the Series' GT Class, overall championship, a driver must compete in at least seven of the eight scheduled races. Persons desiring information on the series can call 1-888-282-GTRA.

QUICK NOTES: Champion Racing held an event at its Pompano Beach, Fla., facility last week to unveil the unique paint scheme of the new Audi R8 that will campaign in the American Le Mans Series this year. The team announced that it will also attempt to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans .... Trinkler Racing has added Jeff Altenburg as its second driver for the Texas race. He will join Owen Trinkler in the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GT-class car .... Audi drivers Frank Biela, Rinaldo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro recently had six hard days of fitness training in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Audi team doctor Dr. Christian John said "Our boys are ready. The season can begin." ....

-ALMS-

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Gualter Salles , Tom Kristensen , Jan Magnussen , Frank Biela , Chris Kneifel , Klaus Graf , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Andy Pilgrim , Kelly Collins , Terry Borcheller , Jeff Altenburg , Owen Trinkler , Erik Messley , Richard Dean , Emanuele Pirro