Petersen/ White Lightning's Bergmeister and Long Named to All-American Team
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., November 10, 2005 -- The American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) announced today that Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing co-drivers Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) have been named to the First Team of the prestigious 2005 All-American Auto Racing Team in the "At Large" category. Bergmeister and Long each earned their first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class Driver Championship this season after a dominating performance that saw them win 50% of all the ALMS races. Their No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR took them to podium finishes in nine of the ten events including five victories, three second-places and one third. They had two pole positions (Sebring and Lime Rock) and never failed to finish in the top-10. Petersen/ White Lightning earned their first ALMS GT2 Team Championship and nine of ten IMSA Cups-- awarded to the highest finishing privately-entered car in each class-- gave them the season-long IMSA Cup for the production-based Grand Touring (GT) 2 class.
"It's a big honor for me," spoke an obviously humbled Bergmeister. "It is the first award that I have won like this and is coming at the end of a very good year for me. While Patrick and I will be honored in name, it is the team that should receive so much of the credit. They gave us the car every weekend to win races and win the championship. I am really, really pleased that other people recognized our season. I am very thankful for this honor and want to say 'thank you' to AARWBA, the Petersen/ White Lightning team and Mike [Petersen] and Dale [White]."
AARWBA is made-up of the top motorsports media members in the country from the disciplines of print (newspapers and magazines), internet, television and radio broadcasters as well as public relations representatives. As the single most knowledgeable group on the subject of motorsports, AARWBA has created the annual All-American Auto Racing Team for 35 years. Each year drivers are nominated and voted upon by its members for seven categories of American auto racing (Open Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Short Track, Touring Series and At Large). The votes are tallied with the highest votes given "First Team" status. There is also a "Second Team" and an "Honorable Mention Team" to drivers nominated but not at the top of the seven categories. Two drivers, or driving pairs such as Bergmeister and Long, are elected to the All- American Auto Racing Team from each of category. The "At Large" category, for which both Bergmeister and Long have jointly earned a spot, covers a wide range of classes in motorsports. As the largest of the seven categories, the honor is doubly impressive for the two. The AARWBA team is the only one of its kind and, due to the make-up of the panelists, is the equivalent to similar teams drafted in other major sports. As the only representatives from the ALMS on the "First Team", Bergmeister and Long will receive their "Horsepower Award" recognizing their place on the '05 All-American Auto Racing Team at the AARWBA Banquet in Indianapolis on December 3. They are also eligible for the Jerry Titus Award-- awarded to the driver who receives the highest number of votes overall. Similar to the Heisman Trophy in stature; the Jerry Titus Award will also be announced at the AARWBA Banquet.
"To be announced to the AARWBA All-American Auto Racing Team really is a dream come true for me," commented Long. "It caps off a dream season in the ALMS with Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing. Anytime you can be listed beside the great names that are on this team, and to be the sole representatives of the ALMS with all the great drivers in the series, that is pretty special. I won the Gorsline Scholarship at the AARWBA banquet in 2001 so I have seen firsthand how impressive this all is. This is one of the greatest honors of my career and I need to thank Jorg, Mike [Petersen], Dale [White] and all the guys on the team and at Porsche for making it happen."
Highlights for the season were many and included a sweep of all the ALMS endurance events counting the first victory for both drivers and the Las Vegas-based team at the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the team's and Long's first Petit Le Mans title-- it was Bergmeister's third-consecutive win at the 10 hour/ 1,000 mile race-- and the season-ending four hour Monterey Sports Car Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Monterey victory marked the culmination of a four-race win streak to close-out the season which started at the Generac 500 at Road America and included victories at the Grand Prix of Mosport and the Petit Le Mans. The duo also combined with the Petersen/ White Lightning team to return to defend their 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans GT, now GT2, race victory. After 24 hours of the famous Circuit de la Sarthe, Bergmeister, Long and Le Mans teammate and direct championship competitor Timo Bernhard (Germany) finished just minutes behind the winner. Since joining Petersen/ White Lightning, Bergmeister and Long have only finished off the podium in one of the 12 events including ALMS and Le Mans races.
It is the first such award for both drivers though Long was a recipient of the John Gorsline Scholarship, also awarded at the annual AARWBA Banquet, in 2001. Bergmeister became the first non-factory driver since 1999 to win the Drivers Championship while Long, a Porsche "works" driver, became the first American since '99 to win the title. The Michael Petersen (Las Vegas) owned and Dale White (Bozeman, Mont.) managed team became the first non-factory team to ever win an ALMS title in GT2 dating back to the series inaugural season in 1999.
More on Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing can be found at www.PetersenMotorsports.com.
For more on AARWBA, please visit www.AARWBA.com .
For more on the ALMS, please visit www.AmericanLeMans.com .