Tim Bergmeister and Tomas Enge To Wheel Petersen/White Lightning Ferrari in 2007
PAHRUMP, Nev., USA, January 12, 2007 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing has won the American Le Mans Series GT2 Driver Championship the last two seasons. Today, they made a significant move towards a third consecutive title. Team owner Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) and entrant/team manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT) announced that Tim Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Tomas Enge (a native of the Czech Republic who now calls Monaco home) will share the wheel of the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT in 2007. Bergmeister and Enge will race the Ferrari F430 GT together for the full, 12 race American Le Mans Series season beginning with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17.
Both Bergmeister and Enge worked with team engineer Frank Funke (Wetter, Germany) prior to the trio joining again at Petersen/White Lightning. Those past relationships, along with the keen testing skills of both drivers, will accord Petersen/White Lightning the opportunity to bring the new-to-the-team F430 GT up to speed much quicker. That will prove to be a true asset in what promises to be the most intense class battle in American Le Mans Series history.
Bergmeister returns to the team after racing the 2006 season-opener at Sebring, and later testing and practicing at Mosport, for Petersen/White Lightning. He proved a strong fit for the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class-winning team which made him a popular choice for 2007. His experience in formula cars- including Formula 3- as well as sports car racing allows Bergmeister to bring a strong set of skills from multiple disciplines of the sport. While he has only one American Le Mans Series start, he has four 24 hour race starts, has won two formula car titles.
Enge is no stranger to American motorsports fans or to Ferrari's famous Tifosi. He won the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans in GT1, then GTS, driving a Ferrari 550 Maranello and two of his four American Le Mans Series victories came under the Prancing Horse banner. He has 26 career starts in the Series, all in GT1, and has three starts in Formula 1 driving for Prost. He has 17 IndyCar Series starts. In 2006, Enge gave Aston Martin two wins in the GT1 class and had several A1GP starts representing his native Czech Republic.
In other team news, Petersen/White Lightning moved its team headquarters from the Las Vegas-area to nearby Pahrump, Nevada. The shop now sits on the property of Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch providing additional testing opportunities. The team has also made its first start in the daunting Euromilhues Dakar 2007 where owner/driver Michael Petersen currently sits 21st in the overall car standings after six of 15 stages.
Bergmeister and Enge will get their first taste of the neon yellow, red and white F430 GT in a private "shakedown run" at Ferrari's famous Fiorano test track in Maranello. The test follows the mid- February delivery of the car at Ferrari Corse Clienti. The Petersen/White Lightning F430 GT, riding on Michelin tires for the fifth-straight season, will make its North American debut in a multi-day test at Sebring in the days leading up to the 12 hour classic. Petersen/White Lightning is the GT2 class winner of the 2005 12 Hours.
Michael Petersen, Owner: "We are very excited to have Tim Bergmeister and Tomas Enge for the 2007 season. We have worked with Tim in previous races and he is quite familiar with the team and knows how we operate. Dale and I have watched Tomas for a few years. We've always said if we could work things out he would be an asset to the team. All the things fell into place to make it happen this year. Frank [Funke] has worked with both drivers before so they were on his wish list as Christmas came a little late for us all! We are looking forward to the challenge with the new Ferrari F430 and new drivers. This year is going to be very exciting for the entire team and the fans of the American Le Mans Series. I really want to thank our partners for making this happen so effortlessly."
Dale White, Entrant/Team Manager: "The level of drivers available to teams in the American Le Mans Series is staggering. This year it seems that there is more top talent out there than I have ever seen in the past. I feel we got two of the very best available. Frank has worked with both of these drivers extensively and the team gets along very well with them. Both Tim and Tomas have proven to be quick and smart. Neither makes many mistakes but both get everything out of the car. I have no doubt about them fitting right in at Petersen/White Lightning. I have even less concern about their performance on the track. This is going to be a very exciting year."
Tim Bergmeister, Driver: "I'm very happy to drive for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing again. I think it should be very good especially since it is a Ferrari this year. I have already been to the shop at Michelotto and the car looks very nice. I think it should be more like a usual race car. The concept with the engine in the middle is more like a formula car. I am looking forward to driving it. I have known Tomas since F3 and he is a very nice guy. I think we should be a very good team and I am glad to be driving with him. I am also very happy that I will be racing in the States this year. In Europe it is much more business and in the US it is real racing. I am very thankful that I have this chance from Dale, Mike and Ferrari. I will do whatever I can to be competitive."
Tomas Enge, Driver: "It's great for me to be with a championship-winning team and a team that has won its class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans like Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. Obviously, it is a big challenge for me with a new car, a new teammate and a new team. It looks to me like we have all the best equipment, all the best background and the only thing that we have on our mind is to win the championship. I know Tim from nine or tens years ago. Our roads went different ways since then but I know he is a good driver. I think we will be very competitive and equal drivers. It is good to be back in a Ferrari but, for me, it doesn't matter which car I drive as long as the car is a winning car. I know the Ferrari is a winning car. I want to win races and the Ferrari can win races and it is capable of winning the championship."
Maurizio Nardon, Ferrari Corse Clienti: "Ferrari Corse Clienti is very happy and proud that a prestigious and winning team like Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing had decided to run on the 2007 American Le Mans Series with the F430 GT. We also congratulate the team for the choice of two very professional drivers as Tim Bergmeister and Tomas Enge."
-credit: petersen/white lightning racing