LE MANS, FRANCE (JUNE 9, 2000) - The Aspen Knolls Porsche team travels to France next week, set to tackle the most prestigious - and perhaps most grueling - endurance sports car race in the world: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Buoyed by a very ...
LE MANS, FRANCE (JUNE 9, 2000) - The Aspen Knolls Porsche team travels to France next week, set to tackle the most prestigious - and perhaps most grueling - endurance sports car race in the world: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Buoyed by a very successful test at Le Mans in April (where unofficial times placed the team 3rd in the all-Porsche GT class) and a strong 3rd place finish at the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event at Silverstone in May, the team is riding a wave of momentum that they hope will translate into good results at Le Mans. This year's event takes place Saturday-Sunday, June 17-18.
"Our test at Le Mans went very well, that's true," observes driver Shane Lewis, 34, of Jupiter, Fla., "but we really needed that race in Silverstone. All the testing in the world doesn't fully prepare you - although seat time at the Le Mans 8-mile track is definitely important - but racing is the best preparation there is. It's no secret our season started out a bit slow, and the podium finish at Silverstone on the heels of a great test was a real shot in the arm for everyone. The whole team has tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and excitement for what we're doing. This is the biggest race in the world. Some people might tell you just to finish is a rewarding accomplishment, but deep down inside, everybody really wants to win."
Lewis shares driving duties with team owner Bob Mazzuoccola, 52, of Staten Island, N.Y., and Cort Wagner, 36, of Los Angeles, 1999 triple-crown champion, having captured the Porsche Cup, and ALMS GT and USRRC GT3 driver's titles. The Aspen Knolls Porsche normally carries No. 21 in ALMS events, but is No. 71 for Le Mans, although the distinctive red-white-blue color scheme remains the same. The car is prepared by Michael Colucci Racing in Jupiter, Fla. For Mazzuoccola, the trip to Le Mans is a bit of an unexpected bonus. "When I began racing, I don't think I ever really thought about going to Le Mans," remarks the Staten Island real estate developer. "But Shane drove there last year and came away very enthused. We started talking casually about going this year, one thing led to another, and here we are. As a team owner, when you have drivers of the caliber of Shane and Cort, you want to be able to put them in the best possible positions to win and be successful in their careers, and certainly competing in a race of this magnitude is very important. We've got the right car, the right team, and the right drivers. With a little luck, we'll have a great weekend."
Live flag-to-flag television coverage in the U.S. will be provided by Speedvision, starting at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 17. Team updates are also available at www.shanelewis.com.