Accident While Running in Second-Place Leads to Water Loss and Retirement BRASELTON, Ga., October 6, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing has officially withdrawn the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT...
Accident While Running in Second-Place Leads to Water Loss and Retirement
BRASELTON, Ga., October 6, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing has officially withdrawn the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT from the running of the Tenth Anniversary Petit Le Mans. Team Manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT) turned in the paperwork to International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) officials after three hours and 45-minutes/123 laps of running. An accident on lap 115 of the ten hour/1,000 mile American Le Mans Series event damaged the left front radiator of the Ferrari F430 GT. As a result, the water drained from the cooling system and caused the engine to run dangerously high temperatures. The two-time defending class champions of the Petit Le Mans worked feverishly to repair the damage to the nose, front splitter and radiator. However, after three pit stops and with as much as five hours and 15 minutes of running remaining, there was little that could be done to ensure that no catastrophic engine damage was done as a result of the loss of water. For the safety of the drivers and other competitors, the team opted to retire the car.
The lap 115 accident occurred as Peter Dumbreck (born in Scotland but living in Adderbury, England) made contact while attempting to lap the No. 53 Panoz at the bottom of hill of Road Atlanta's turn 12. The No. 31 had been running in the top-three for nearly the entire event and was comfortably in second place when the incident occurred. Dirk Muller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) had qualified the car second in yesterday's time trials and had started the car in that position. The Ferrari factory driver immediately took the lead going into turn one and held it during much of his two hour opening stint. Strategy calls were on target and, all things being equal, Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing looked to have an excellent opportunity to return to the victory podium for the third year in a row.
Today marks only the second time this season that the team has failed to finish an event- the first DNF occurred at St. Petersburg, Fla. in March and was the result of an accident as well. It is only the fifth time in 27 endurance race starts (four hours or longer) that the Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) owned operation has not been running at the conclusion of an endurance event. It is the second time that the Nevada-based organization has not finished a Petit Le Mans in seven career starts dating back to 1999. The first came as a result of a turn 12 accident as well in 2003.
The team now turns its attention to the final race of the 2007 American Le Mans Series GT2 season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 20th. The program has finished on the podium of the four-hour race twice in the last two seasons including a victory in 2005 to clinch that year's Driver, Team and IMSA Cup Championships. Driver Lucas Luhr (born in Koblenz, Germany but now living in Ermatingen, Switzerland) - who was scheduled to drive the No. 31 Ferrari in today's event with Dumbreck and Muller before the Audi factory driver was called on by the factory to replace an injured driver in the No. 2 Audi R10 LMP 1 entry- will return to the car at Laguna Seca.