Russian drivers enter Sebring 12-Hour event, adding to international flavor.

BRASELTON, Ga. (January 15, 2003) -- The international flavor of the American Le Mans Series has become even stronger with the entry of two Russian drivers in the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The two drivers will be the first from Russia in the 51 years of America's oldest sports car race and are believed to be among the few ever to compete in any major automobile race in the United States. The event will be held on Saturday, Mar. 15, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.

Nikolay Fomenko and Alexey Vassiliev, both of Moscow, will co-drive a Porsche 911 GT3 RS fielded by RWS-Yukos Motorsports of Switzerland. The racing team is operated by longtime racer Rudi Walch, who co-owns it with Hans Jorg Hofer.

Both drivers are veterans of auto racing, most recently as competitors in the FIA GT Series in Europe in 2001 and 2002. Fomenko, 40, has been racing since 1995 and is well-known in Russia as an actor, showman, TV and radio presenter. Vasiliev, 31, has been racing since he was 14 and has enjoyed success in karting, rallying, ice racing and in touring cars. In GT racing, they drove Porsches for a German team, TNK Racing.

Four classes of American Le Mans Series cars will compete in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, competing for class honors as well as the overall win. Two classes of the sleek and ultra-fast Prototype cars will battle with production-based cars in the GTS and GT classes for 12 hours on the historic 3.7-mile Sebring circuit. Some 60 cars are expected to take the green flag.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will start at 10:30 a.m. Ticket information is available online at or by calling (863) 655-1442, or toll-free in Florida (800) 626-RACE. The race will be televised live from flag-to-flag by the SPEED Channel, with live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web online at