Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing ALMS winners At Road America. ELKHART LAKE, Wis., August 24, 2003 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing won their first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT class event today in the Road...
Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing ALMS winners At Road America.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., August 24, 2003 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing won their first American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT class event today in the Road America 500. Starting fifth in class, Craig Stanton, of Long Beach, Calif., took the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ XtraJet/ Justice Brothers Porsche 911 GT3 RS up to second-place within the first 35 minutes of the two hour and 45 minute multi-class sports car event. Stanton handed driving chores over to Johnny Mowlem of Warfield, England at the one hour and 23 minute mark. Mowlem piloted the car into the lead less than 20 minutes later and held a one lap lead on the GT class 40 minutes after that. Despite a late race pit stop for a splash of fuel and new Michelin tires, Mowlem held the lead giving team owner Michael Petersen and Porsche preparation expert Dale White their first ALMS victories. This also ranked as Stanton's first win but was the second for Mowlem. Mowlem's first career ALMS win came at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca-- which is the next stop on the ALMS circuit scheduled for September 7th-- in 1999. Petersen/ White Lightning, in cooperation with Alex Job Racing, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans (a non-ALMS race) and finished second at the season opening 12 Hours of Sebring.
"This has been a longtime coming," commented Mowlem. "The whole team has earned it. We don't run all the races but we are always right there when we do race. We got a little lost early in the weekend when we tried a new differential in the car. However, we changed the diff back to the one that Bob Wollek put in the car at Sebring in 2001. Maybe Bob was looking over us today."
Stanton was ecstatic about his first ALMS victory; "This is unbelievable. It 'll probably sink in tomorrow on the plane. Winning in the ALMS is so tough, especially in GT class. This means a lot to win here at Road America. This track has so much heritage and so many great drivers have won here. It's pretty humbling to have my name on that list."
"Anytime you can win at Road America, no matter how you do it, is a big win," offered engineer Harry Haggard. "Road America is the best race track in America."
"We've been so close so many times," reflected White. "We had absolutely no trouble at all today and that it what it takes to win. We won our first Trans-Am race here at Road America so this track has been good to us. Everyone wanted this really bad. No one wants to win more than we do. We come here to win so it has been frustrating getting so close at Petit (Le Mans) last year and Sebring this year [the team finished second in both]. Now we can relax. It felt like we had a monkey on our back. This is a great boost. A lot of these guys didn't get to go to Le Mans and experience this feeling."
Michael Petersen, who has supported the ALMS since 1999, took great pride in the win. "It means a lot because we've been together for such a long time. It's good to bounce back from what we consider a sub par performance (a fifth in GT class) at Sonoma. We had hoped to carry the momentum from the Le Mans win into the ALMS but it didn't happen. Maybe now we have recaptured it and we can carry it on to Laguna Seca. We definitely need to thank Michelin for the great tires, Porsche North America, PAWS, MMPIE, XtraJet and Westward Ho Casino. And, especially my Mom who has been behind this team since the start."
Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing began operation in the late 1980s competing in off-road endurance events. The duo of Petersen and White joined to win over 50 off-road truck victories including three-consecutive overall wins at the Baja 1000 and Baja 500 and four SCORE, SNORE and SODA championships. Since introducing the team to sports car racing, the effort has scored victories in the Trans-Am Series, Speed Challenge Series and endurance sports car wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Watkins Glen and at the Rolex 24 of Daytona.