Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Believes it has Found Right Blend for Success Past Wins for No. 31 and MÃ¼ller at Mosport Makes Canadian Track Team Favorite BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada, August 21, 2007 - REVISION - Paragraph...
Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Believes it has Found Right Blend for Success
Past Wins for No. 31 and Müller at Mosport Makes Canadian Track Team Favorite
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada, August 21, 2007 - REVISION - Paragraph Four of the news release should be corrected to acknowledge that Dirk Müller qualified on the GT class pole position and finished second in GT class, not overall, in the 2001 Grand Prix of Mosport. Müller raced the BMW M3 GTR not, the BMW prototype in the race.
It is no secret that 2007 has been a difficult season for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. The Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) owned team has won the American Le Mans Series GT2 Driver and IMSA Cup Championships the last two seasons but has only placed one victory on the boards for '07. It is not for a lack of speed; the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT has set the fastest race lap in six of the eight events held thus far and sat on the front-row of the grid seven times. It is not for a lack of reliability; the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed team has not suffered a single mechanical failure all season. On track incidents have been the biggest nemesis to the Nevada-based team's fortunes thus far and that is often the most difficult thing to control. However, entering Sunday's Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway the team believes it has found the correct blend of car, team, track and drivers to right its upended year.
The one race-old driver-pairing of Peter Dumbreck (born in Scotland but living in Adderbury, England) and Dirk Müller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) meshed-together perfectly at Road America two weeks ago. Müller, the 2000 American Le Mans Series GT, now known as GT2, Driver Champion made his return to the Series at Long Beach in April driving the No. 31. Though he has missed two races in the interim due to schedule conflicts, Müller has become a fast but race-savvy team leader earning three of the team's fastest race laps. Dumbreck joined the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winning team ('03 and '04) at Road America showing himself quick- he set the fastest session time in only his third time in the Ferrari F430 GT- and smart, keeping the car in the hunt despite a violent rainstorm that befell the four hour race during his stint. The two immediately fell into a rhythm of teamwork bettering each-other's lap times and the overall success of the program.
Making the driving duo an even greater asset to the organization is that, despite losing a lap early because of the timing of a yellow flag, the No. 31 was not involved in any on-track incidents within its class. In fact, on more than one occasion the lightning bolt- festooned Ferrari took advantage of such driving by its nearest competition to gain position. Only a faulty set of brake lights discovered in post-race technical inspection, believed to be caused by the moisture in the system after nearly four hours of racing on the wet track, cost the team its second podium of the season. The No. 31 Ferrari F430 GT finished fourth, on the lead lap, after being as low as sixth and one lap down.
Mosport has long been a favorite of fans, teams and drivers alike. The fast sweeping corners of the 2.5 mile, 10-turn facility echo back to the great road courses that asked a little more of the driver's courage and commitment to victory. The ultra-fast Bowmanville, Ontario track is a perfect fit for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing and its drivers. The team won the event in the GT2 class in 2005 and finished second, highest finishing privateer, in 2004. While Mosport is new to Dumbreck, Müller has very good memories of the track. In 1999, after his co- driver took the car off in practice requiring repairs that forced them to miss qualifying, Müller was able to drive the car through the field to take an impressive victory. He followed that in 2001 earning the pole position while a factory driver of the BMW M3 GTR in GT class. He finished second in that event.
With all the ingredients now in place, the sole American Le Mans Series event held outside of the United States could be the final component to capture the team's 11th class victory in American Le Mans Series competition.
Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "I think people expect more from us. Mike and I expect more of us than the results we have posted this year. It has been a difficult season because we have the car in the Ferrari F430 GT, we have the speed and we have the team. We have all the pieces that it takes but, in the early part of the season we just had too many on-track issues. We showed well at Road America. If you really look at that event we came from a lap down after being in the wrong spot at the wrong time when the pace car split the field. Considering we finished third on-track but had the brake lights cost us one position in tech inspection, I believe that shows how well the teamed performed there. We know what we have here is strong and we are just going to continue to work hard until it comes together on the track. Mosport has been good to us in the past and with two drivers now comfortable and fast in the car, we are hopeful that it will be good to us again."
Peter Dumbreck, Driver: "The difference for me going into the Mosport race is that I know the car now. So, it's less of a steep learning curve for me getting to know the circuit. The lap is also shorter so that should help me reacclimatise to the car and track after the race here in Japan. It was quite daunting waiting to drive at Road America knowing that heavy rain is on the way and I'm going to have to drive the car for the first time in rain in a race situation. The safety car broke me in a bit easier though and gave me a chance to judge the water levels at specific corners. I am looking forward to coming back over the Atlantic and having another drive in the Petersen/White Lightning Ferrari. I hope that the experience gained in Road America can be put to good use so that Dirk and I can attack harder for the victory."
Dirk Müller, Driver: "I really like Mosport. Like Road America it is a very challenging track. I have been there on the pole position in the BMW and we finished second in 2001. A lot of drivers fear this track because it is very tricky with the speed and blind corners but I am definitely very optimistic that our Petersen/White Lightning Ferrari will suit the race track. I always remember Mosport as a really, really good race track. Mosport is very unique. It is a thrill. It is definitely not an easy race track. You have to have a very good setup there. I am not concerned because we have the whole team behind it and we have nearly the best race car at every track. I'm really confident. For ourselves, I count the last race as a podium finish and I'd like to stay on the podium the rest of the year. It is very promising that for my first time I will have the same teammate in the car as last race. There is not too much new environment around. Peter knows the team, he knows the car. He doesn't know the track but we have the flight to Toronto together so I can start talking quite early and he can start learning the track. But, like we saw last race he suits the team and the car. We had some success in the last event and there is still room for improvement. I am definitely looking for my first pole position and my first win with Petersen/White Lightning which is a goal of mine."
The Grand Prix of Mosport will start at 3 pm (ET) on Sunday, August 26. Television coverage will be carried live on SPEED Channel. The event can also be heard live on the American Le Mans Series Radio Web, available through the American Le Mans Series web site.