INDIANAPOLIS (December 18, 2000) -- Eighteen-year-old Michael Mallock, the reigning British Supersports champion, will be the youngest driver in the field as he makes his American Le Mans Series debut in the 2000 season finale at Adelaide, Australia, on Dec. 31.
The Race of a Thousand Years will be a six-hour sports car endurance race on the famed Adelaide street circuit that formerly hosted Formula One events. Mallock will co-drive with Australian Jim Cornish and Britain's Jamie Wall in the event.
"Although it means a lot to me to be the youngest driver in the race, I won't be thinking too much about that," said Mallock. "I still have a long career ahead of me. I want to learn as much as I can from the experience and further my career prospects by doing my best for my team."
The trio will drive a factory Pilbeam MP84 Prototype powered by a works-supported Nissan 3 litre V6 engine. The car will fit the LMP 675 class rules that were introduced to the ALMS this season. The LMP 675 will become the fourth championship class in the series in 2001.
Mallock, who lives in Northamptonshire (U.K.), has been around sports car racing most of his life, much of it as a supporter of his father's racing career. The younger Mallock got his first taste of driving in GT racing this year in the British GT at Silverstone and at Spa-Francorchamps in a Marcos GT3.
"It was good training to discipline myself into learning the art of GT and sports car racing," he said of the races. "I believe it takes a different mental approach for a driver if one is to be successful, and Adelaide is just another step in that direction for me."
Mallock has been physically training to prepare for the warm temperatures that ALMS teams are expected to encounter in the Australian summer, and said that he knows that many people involved with the ALMS have never seen a Pilbeam chassis.
"I'm confident that people in the series will be impressed with the Pilbeam," he said. "My team is built on experience and we have a good strategy for the race. I can't wait to get started."
ALMS cars will be on the circuit at Adelaide for the first time on Friday, Dec. 29, for practice, while qualifying will be held on Saturday, Dec. 30. The six-hour race starts at 4 p.m. (Adelaide time) on Sunday.
The race will be televised in the United States by NBC Sports on a same-day, tape-delay basis at 2 p.m. (Eastern time), and highlights will be shown on Eurosport on Jan. 7. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.