SMYRNA, Ga. (January 6, 2004) -- Florida-based Champion Racing, one of the most successful racing teams in the U.S., will return in 2004 to compete in the American Le Mans and SPEED World Challenge GT Series, as well as returning to Le Mans to ...
SMYRNA, Ga. (January 6, 2004) -- Florida-based Champion Racing, one of the most successful racing teams in the U.S., will return in 2004 to compete in the American Le Mans and SPEED World Challenge GT Series, as well as returning to Le Mans to defend their podium finish from the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Founded in 1994 by Dave Maraj, Champion Racing (Pompano Beach, FL) has become a formidable opponent for teams competing in sports car racing. Supported by Audi Sport North America, Champion Racing will seek to earn their first Championship title in the American Le Mans Series and will look to defend last year's Driver and Manufacturer Title in the SPEED World Challenge GT Series.
Team ADT Champion Racing will make a concerted attack on this year's American Le Mans Series titles having re-signed veteran driver JJ Lehto, the "Flying Finn", and acquiring factory driver, Marco Werner.
Lehto and Werner will partner for the nine race American Le Mans Series piloting a "customer" based Audi R8 prototype sponsored by ADT, the largest single provider of total security solutions to residential, business and federal customers.
JJ Lehto, born in Espoo, Finland but now resides in Monaco, spent a number of years contesting the Formula One Series before coming to the United States to compete in sports car racing. Since 1999, Lehto has been competing in the American Le Mans Series driving for BMW, Cadillac, and most recently Audi. In last year's American Le Mans season, Lehto earned eight podium finishes, four first place finishes, and a third place podium finish at Le Mans.
Marco Werner, born in Dortmund, Germany but now resides in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, started racing in 1984 and his career has included success in Formula 3000, touring cars, and GT racing. In 2002, Werner joined the factory Audi team at Le Mans where his team placed third. In his debut with the American Le Mans Series in 2003, Werner scored three pole positions, eight podium finishes, and earned the Driver's Championship Title in his rookie season as well as helping Audi to secure the Manufacturers' Title for the 4th time in a row.
Partnering with Lehto and Werner for the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be veteran driver Emanuele Pirro. Last year Pirro and Lehto (along with Stefan Johannson) battled brilliantly throughout the full 24 hours to give Champion Racing first place in the LMP 900 class and third place overall. This podium finish was the first overall podium finish by an American team in 19 years.
In the SPEED World Challenge GT Series, Champion Racing will return with last year's Audi RS 6 Competition Cars and Championship Drivers Michael Galati and Randy Pobst.
Randy Pobst (Gainesville, GA) earned three pole positions and eight podium finishes while teammate Michael Galati (N. Olmsted, OH) earned one pole position and three podium finishes.
"On behalf of Audi Sport North America, we are once again proud to be aligned with such a capable and competent organization like Champion Racing", declared Len Hunt, V.P. of Audi of America. "Champion Racing has proven to be one of the best teams in sports car racing and we look forward to providing them with support for another successful year."
The opening round for both the American Le Mans Series and SPEED World Challenge GT Series begins with the 12 Hours of Sebring March 19--20 in Sebring, Florida.
For more information on Champion Racing, please visit www.championracing.net. For more information on Audi's motorsport program, please visit www.audiusa.com.