Mosport: Petersen/White Lightning preview

Petersen/ White Lightning Takes ALMS GT2 Points Battle North BOWMANVILLE, Ont., August 30, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing continues to take the fight to the competition at every American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event in ...

Petersen/ White Lightning Takes ALMS GT2 Points Battle North

BOWMANVILLE, Ont., August 30, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing continues to take the fight to the competition at every American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event in pursuit of the team's first GT2 championship. Entering Sunday's Grand Prix of Mosport, the Michael Petersen-owned team is just two points out of the lead with three races remaining in the 2005 season. Despite falling from the GT2 class point lead two races ago, the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR came back with a strategic attack at the most recent race at Road America earning a stirring and emotional victory in a head-to-head battle. Drivers Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) are also embroiled in the driver championship fight that could earn each their first official ALMS titles as well. Like the Generac 500 at Road America, the battle at Mosport International Raceway could prove the perfect snapshot of the war for the title.

The 2.459-mile, 10-turn Bowmanville, Ontario, Can. facility is among the fastest road courses in North America and offers the perfect terrain for the Las Vegas-based operation to make another decisive blow. Thus far, fast circuits have given strong results for the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winning team. The Westward Ho Casino Porsche has victories at the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the most recent round at Road America, both very fast circuits. Other podiums include second-place finishes at Mid-Ohio, Lime Rock Park and Infineon Raceway and the ultra-fast 24 Hours of Le Mans. They took third at Road Atlanta early in the season, falling off the podium only once all season with an eighth at Portland, the event in which they lost the points lead for the first time in 2005.

Like two generals studying maps of the most likely sites for upcoming conflicts, Petersen (Las Vegas) and team manager Dale White (Las Vegas) like what they see in the remaining fields of battle. Endurance races have always been a strength of the team. Sunday's Mosport round is the final "sprint" race of the season at two hours and 45-minutes. With the ALMS point structure rewarding higher marks for endurance race success over the shorter races, Mosport will pay out 20 points for a victory. The final two events, the Petit Le Mans and the American Le Mans at Laguna Seca, are endurance races at 10 hours and four hours respectively. Petit will award an additional six points for a win (26 total) while the Mazda Raceway event yields four extra markers (24). With 70 points available in the next three races, the GT2 battle is likely to go down to the checkered flag at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 15.

The Grand Prix of Mosport can be seen live on SPEED, Sunday, September 4 at 3 PM (EDT). Live timing and scoring for all sessions as well as the Petersen Paddock Cam presented by Firetide can be viewed at www.AmericanLeMans.com.

Quotes--

Mike Petersen, owner/ driver: "We are looking forward to closing the gap in the points' race in Mosport. The points are even closer now and we are looking to put even more pressure on the rest of the GT2 field. The rest of the season, as it has been all year, should be some of the best racing in the ALMS. We'll be pulling out all stops for the top spot for the rest of the year. It should be quite exciting as we eagerly look forward to our Canadian return."

Dale White, team manager: "We know we are in the final swing of races but we are approaching it just like it were Sebring. We're going after wins. You can't think too much about the championship or you'll get caught-up in that and make mistakes. I couldn't have asked for a better string of races to close out the season even if the ALMS had asked us to make the schedule. Road America, Mosport, Road Atlanta and Laguna are great tracks for us. We're going to give it everything we have to win the last three races. Then we'll see where we're at in the championship."

Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "I really like Mosport as it is a fast track with elevation changes and blind, quick corners. I think it will be as an interesting race as we had last year. Lap times are usually really close so it's hard to overtake in the race without risking too much. Of course, it's also important to watch your mirrors very often as the prototypes come up very quickly in the fast corner combinations and it can be hard getting out of their way."

Patrick Long, driver: "Coming off a very sweet victory at Road America the momentum is behind us and that is what we are going to build off of for Mosport. We're still improving and that's the most fun. Every weekend we spend together as a team we gain confidence. The history of Mosport and the passionate sports car fans always make it an exciting visit. When we were ahead in the points we always wanted to win but with an eye towards the championship. Then, after Portland, our strategy became win at all cost. Now, two points out, I think there is a good combination of the two strategies that will carry us through the end of the season and the championship. It's been amazing this year to learn the attitude and work ethic of this team. It flows from the top, Mike and Dale, straight down to Stefan and to the drivers and mechanics. Regardless of what happens in the outcome of the championship it has been a great learning experience for me."

-pm-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long