Atlanta Neurosurgeon To Mix It Up With Sports Car Racing's Best in Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Braselton, GA - As one of the country's most respected neurosurgeons, Dr. C. Michael Cawley of Atlanta has devoted his life to helping ...
Atlanta Neurosurgeon To Mix It Up With Sports Car Racing's Best in Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta
Braselton, GA - As one of the country's most respected neurosurgeons, Dr. C. Michael Cawley of Atlanta has devoted his life to helping others, particularly in the area of treatment of neurovascular disorders via both surgical and endovascular means.
But Dr. Cawley has also developed a passion for driving race cars.
This week, he will fulfill a longtime desire and will join the world's top sports car racing drivers and teams when he competes in Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. He will be teamed with two professional racing instructors as they share the Foxhill Racing/Comprent Motor Sports Porsche 911 GT3 RS in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series, seeking to finish the 1,000-mile endurance race that starts at 12 noon on Saturday and continues well into darkness.
"It's a dream come true to race at my home track with the best sports car racers in the world," said Dr. Cawley. "Our team is an underdog, but with a solid driver line-up and some luck we hope to acquit ourselves well."
Andrew Davis of Athens, Ga., and Charles Espenlaub of Lutz, Fla., will co-drive with Dr. Cawley in the event. In an endurance race such as the Petit Le Mans, drivers are usually in the car for stints of one to two hours, depending upon various factors, and top teams can make driver changes in less than a minute under the course of a normal pit stop.
Davis and Espenlaub are driving instructors at the Panoz Racing School and also race professionally. Davis teaches at the Road Atlanta location of the school while Espenlaub works primarily at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. Davis met Dr. Cawley when he was a student at the school and they developed a friendship.
"I've always had a love of cars and racing instilled by my father," said Dr. Cawley, whose father was an avid vintage and classic automobile collector. "On a whim I signed up for the Panoz Racing School in June of 2001 and got hooked."
Dr. Cawley raced in the Panoz Racing Series in 2002 and spent some time last year racing in Grand-Am Cup. This past February, Davis, Espenlaub and Joe Foster, also a Panoz Racing School instructor, teamed with him to race in the Daytona 24-hour event.
But his desire remained to race at his home track in what is regarded in the motorsports industry as one of the world's top three sports car racing events. He acquired a Porsche that had previously been raced in the American Le Mans Series by the Racer's Group team and started making plans to compete in the Petit Le Mans.
Dr. Cawley, 40, is a native of New Jersey who graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., then received his medical degree from the University of Maryland upon graduating Magna Cum Laude. He practices at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
This week he will have several days of testing and practice at Road Atlanta to get used to the American Le Mans Series unique multi-class format, where his Porsche will reach top speeds of more than 150 mph but exotic Prototype cars from the series' top class will be whizzing past at speeds approaching 200 mph.
"The ALMS is certainly where the 'big boys' race and we're excited and proud to be involved as privateers," said Dr. Cawley.
Chevy presents Petit Le Mans will get the green flag at 12 noon (Eastern) on Saturday, September 25. The race will cover 1,000 miles, or 10 hours, whichever comes first on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit. Qualifying will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, along with an ALMS Fan Forum and an open paddock autograph session featuring all ALMS drivers. ALMS cars will also practice on Wednesday and Thursday of race week.
The race will be televised live in North America by the SPEED Channel and in Europe by MotorsTV. American Le Mans Series Radio will have live coverage of qualifying and the race that can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.
Ticket information for the event is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling the Road Atlanta ticket office at (800) 849-RACE.