Mid-Ohio: Petersen/White Lightning preview

ALMS GT2 Points Leaders Petersen/ White Lightning Prepare for Mid-Ohio/ Le Mans LAS VEGAS, Nev., May 16, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing enters Sunday's ALMS at Mid-Ohio with its plate full and expectations high. The...

ALMS GT2 Points Leaders Petersen/ White Lightning Prepare for Mid-Ohio/ Le Mans

LAS VEGAS, Nev., May 16, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing enters Sunday's ALMS at Mid-Ohio with its plate full and expectations high. The Michael Petersen-owned team is simultaneously preparing for this important American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event and its return to Le Mans to defend the GT2 (formerly GT) class victory at the great 24 Hour race. The No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, driven by Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.), comes to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with two podium finishes in the first two races of the season. The Las Vegas-based team is currently in the lead of the driver, team and IMSA Cup points by virtue of the team's dominating victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March and a third place at last month's Grand Prix of Atlanta. The two hour and 45-minute "sprint" race at the Lexington, Ohio-area track marks the final tune-up before the Dale White-managed effort directs its full attention to winning a third-straight 24 Hours of Le Mans GT2 class title.

In a unique approach to car setup, team engineer/ crew chief Stefan Pfeiffer will focus his attention on Patrick Long for all pre-race and qualifying efforts this weekend. Due to prior commitments, Bergmeister is expected to only drive the No. 31 Porsche on race day, missing all testing, practice and qualifying sessions. Therefore, sole responsibility for the task of preparing the car's setup for the 2.25-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio course will fall at the feet of Long, Porsche's only American factory driver. With his experience and extensive background going back to his start in karts at age six, the team expects to continue where it left off at the first two races of the year qualifying on the pole at Sebring and second at Road Atlanta. Bergmeister will get his first laps in the Michelin tire-shod car during the final warm-up on race morning, May 22.

Live TV race coverage of the ALMS at Mid-Ohio can be seen on CBS at 1 pm (ET), Sunday, May 22. Live timing and scoring of the weekend, as well as images from the Petersen Motorsports Paddock Cam presented by Firetide will be available starting on Friday morning at www.americanlemans.com. Long and the Petersen/ White Lightning team will get their first laps on track at Friday's test days followed by practice and qualifying on Saturday. A final practice and the race will be held on Sunday.

quotes--

Michael Petersen, team owner: "Mid-Ohio is a great track! We are looking forward to getting back into the flow of things. This should be a terrific race. With the Mid-Ohio track layout the Porsche should really be hooked up. The team is ready to challenge for the top-spot on the podium and keep the momentum going."

Dale White, team manager: "Mid-Ohio has always been a pretty good track for us. Our goal for the race is to get the most we can out of it and head to Le Mans. We aren't thinking too much about the points right now. There is really no reason to. There's a lot more racing in front of us than behind us. We're aiming at a victory this weekend, just like always. Patrick is going to be doing the brunt of the work at Mid-Ohio but we don't have any concerns that, come race day, the car is going to good for both he and for Jorg. From that standpoint, it is pretty much business as usual."

Patrick Long, driver: "Mid-Ohio for me is one of the most challenging circuits but also one of my favorites. The off-camber corners and elevation changes as well as the tight nature of some of the back sections makes it very challenging and technical. That's something I really enjoy about the circuit. Obviously, I carry a lot of weight on my shoulders to get the car prepared for the race as Jorg won't be there until Sunday. That will be unique for me as I will have extra track time. I'm looking forward to it. Protecting our points lead is a priority but with all of these races during the summer the key is going to be to go out and win races and not look over your shoulder."

-pm/wlr-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Michael Petersen