CASTRONEVES, BRISCOE TEAM FOR PENSKE AT PETIT LE MANS Two more of racing's biggest names will take part in this year's Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6 with the entry of a third Penske Porsche RS Spyder for former works driver...
CASTRONEVES, BRISCOE TEAM FOR PENSKE AT PETIT LE MANS
Two more of racing's biggest names will take part in this year's Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6 with the entry of a third Penske Porsche RS Spyder for former works driver Ryan Briscoe and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. The pair will race the No. 5 Penske Motorsports entry October 4 in the annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic that is the cornerstone event of the American Le Mans Series.
In addition to gaining fame by winning ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" contest in 2007, Castroneves became the only driver to win at Indianapolis in his first two starts in 2001 and 2002. He finished second in this season's IndyCar championship with a pair of victories and four pole positions for Team Penske.
Petit Le Mans will mark Castroneves' second start in the American Le Mans Series. He drove to a third-place LMP2 finish at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2007 with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, who went on to claim the Series' P2 championship. The Porsche certainly found favor with Castroneves in all areas, a natural given his nickname "Spiderman."
Castroneves will join two other Indy 500 winners in the field - de Ferran Motorsports' pair of team owner Gil de Ferran (2003) and Scott Dixon (2008).
Last season's American Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year, Briscoe finished fifth overall and in class with Patrick Long for Penske at the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch. In 2007, he won three times with Sascha Maassen in LMP2 with two of those resulting in overall victories. They finished second in the P2 championship.
Briscoe moved to Team Penske in IndyCar as Castroneves' teammate for 2008. The Australian also won two times this season with a fifth-place finish in the championship.
Long and Maassen will drive Penske Racing's No. 6 Porsche with championship leaders Bernhard and Dumas in the No. 7 car. Emmanuel Collard, winner of this year's Sebring 12 Hours with Bernhard and Dumas, will qualify on all three Penske cars in order to be able to support the team as a third driver, should it be necessary.
Penske Racing enters Petit Le Mans with an 11-point lead for the P2 team title while Porsche trails Acura by 4 points in the manufacturer standings.
Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6 is the 10th round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series. The 1,000-mile/10-hour race is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Saturday, October 4 from Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. SPEED will televise the race live with XM Satellite Radio airing live race coverage throughout the day on Channel 166. Live coverage from American Le Mans Radio will be available at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring.