Road Atlanta II: Prodrive Ferrari preview

Prodrive Ferrari all out for success at Petit Le Mans Three scarlet Care Racing-supported Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranellos will be entered for the final round of the American Le Mans Series, the prestigious 1000 mile (or maximum of 10 hours)...

Prodrive Ferrari all out for success at Petit Le Mans

Three scarlet Care Racing-supported Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranellos will be entered for the final round of the American Le Mans Series, the prestigious 1000 mile (or maximum of 10 hours) Petit Le Mans race on Saturday, 18th October.

The battle for the GTS Manufacturers' Championship is still there to be won and, with just 8 points difference to the current leaders, victory is very much the purpose in mind for all within the Prodrive Ferrari team. While the GTS Drivers' title has already been won by Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell - who were warmly congratulated by the boys in red - David Brabham is poised to be able to take the runner-up spot in that Championship chase, the Australian having taken class victories in the last three races to help along his cause.

Brabham will be reunited with his regular driving partner, Jan Magnussen, who made up for his absence at Miami by winning the Danish Touring Car Championship in his home country that same weekend. Both drivers will be coming to Atlanta directly from Australia where they are taking part in the Bathurst 1000 Km race. They will be joined in the car by Briton Anthony Davidson who, although new to the track, has plenty of experience with the 550 from Sebring and Le Mans. The BAR F1 test driver will be flying in from his Japanese Grand Prix duties to take part in the pre-event test taking place at Road Atlanta this coming weekend, so will have plenty of opportunity to learn the track before the green flag falls, and is really looking forward to racing again.

Also anxious for victory - and revenge for their narrow defeat this time last year - are Tomas Enge of the Czech Republic, Netherlander Peter Kox, and their Petit Le Mans driving partner, Alain Menu of Switzerland. The same trio were comfortably leading the 2002 event up until the 9th hour, when a series of minor misfortunes turned their luck. The disappointment felt by the team at the end result was palpable. Menu returns to the American Le Mans Series for the first time this year from the highly competitive, German DTM Series.

The third Prodrive Ferrari entry will see some familiar faces, brought together by Frederic Dor's Care Racing Development company. Frederic will himself be competing at Petit Le Mans for the first time, and will be teamed with two of the international sportscar world's most experienced names - Jan Lammers of the Netherlands and Jerome Policand of France. Policand drove the Prodrive Ferrari 550 at the Road Atlanta race earlier this season, while Lammers - double FIA Sportscar Champion, Le Mans and Daytona 24 Hour winner - needs no introduction.

Frederic Dor: "We have had a fantastic season with all our Care Racing cars - in the ALMS and in the FIA GT Championship in Europe - and we would really like to end the season with another victory. I think we have the driver line-up to produce a very positive result, and I am personally looking forward to the exciting challenge of racing at Road Atlanta.

"It is a shame that we were not able to include Danica [Patrick] in our team for this race, but we are still talking to her and her management team about plans for next year and I would very much like to see her in a Ferrari again."

The 6-litre, V12 engined Ferrari 550s, built and prepared by British based Prodrive, one of the world's leading motorsport and automotive technology businesses, will be taking to the 2.54 mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta track for a three day test, 10th -12th October inclusive, and then for the race meeting itself. Official testing for Petit Le Mans begins on Wednesday, 15th October, and the race itself will start at 11.30am on Saturday, 18th October.

The race will be televised live by SPEED Channel (airtime: 11:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. LIVE; 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. LIVE; 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. LIVE + post- race show) and on Eurosport in Europe at 20:00hrs (Central European Time) on 26th October, 2003. It will also be possible to follow all the action live on the American Le Mans Series Radio Web, www.americanlemans.com.

-cr/pdr/fm-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Jan Lammers , Tomas Enge , Jan Magnussen , Ron Fellows , Peter Kox , Jérome Policand , Frederic Dor , Alain Menu