Weekly update 2000-11-29

** American Le Mans Series race teams are in the process of shipping cars and equipment across the Pacific for the Dec. 31 Race of a Thousand Years in Adelaide, Australia. The event will be the 12th and final race of the 2000 season for the ...

** American Le Mans Series race teams are in the process of shipping cars and equipment across the Pacific for the Dec. 31 Race of a Thousand Years in Adelaide, Australia. The event will be the 12th and final race of the 2000 season for the ALMS.

The teams that shipped by sea have already sent their cargo on its way, and those shipping by air freight will do so in the coming week. The garage area at the Adelaide street circuit opens for parking and setup on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

ALMS cars will be on the circuit 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 Eurosport will have live coverage. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.

** The Race of a Thousand Years in Australia will be the setting of a reunion of a successful sports car racing team.

Redondo Beach, Calif., driver Bill Auberlen will reunite with BMW Team PTG for the Adelaide race, moving back into a seat and with a team that he is very familiar with.

Auberlen, a BMW Factory driver, raced with BMW Team PTG in 1997 and 1998 and supported the team as a test driver during the 2000 season. While driving for the team, Auberlen won the 1997 IMSA GTS-3 driver championship with five victories, including Daytona and Sebring. The following year, he scored seven victories, including two class wins in one race at Las Vegas, won four pole positions, set four fastest race laps and set five records.

Auberlen was a driver for the now-defunct BMW Prototype effort in 1999 and 2000.

** Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ont., Canada, is undergoing some renovations that will be completed in time for the 2001 racing season at the 2.459-mile circuit. The American Le Mans Series will race at Mosport on Aug. 19, 2001.

Mosport will celebrate its 40th anniversary during the 2001 season.

For the past several weeks, workers have been widening and repaving the track from corner eight to corner four, as well as pit lane. The entire circuit is now 40 feet (12 meters) in width.

Other significant work, all done by local contractors, includes spectator site lines improvements at corner three, as well as new corner marshall stands. The approach to corner two, as well as the corner itself, now have a new retaining wall that is six meters further from the track than the previous wall. The approach to corner six also has a new wall that is further from the track.

Further improvements, relating to spectator amenities, will be announced early in the new year.

** Two more drivers from the Women's Global GT Series have been announced as competitors in a 24-hour SCCA event to be held at Florida's Moroso Motorsports Park Dec. 29-31.

Terri Popielarz (formerly Hundertmark) and Belinda Endress join previously-announced Audrey Zavodsky in the race. Popielarz and Endress will drive with at least one other driver who is yet to be determined and will pilot a Mazda RX-7 in the ITS class for Phoenix Autosports, Inc.

Popielarz, who also competed in the race in 1999, will race for the first time with husband Dave Popielarz working on her crew. Dave, the crew chief for the Mo Nunn CART team, is familiar with Mazda RX-7 race cars as he was a member of the crew that helped Tommy Kendall to the 1987 IMSA GTU title.

"I can't wait to work with Dave," she said. "I couldn't ask for a better crew. He's only seen me race once because his CART schedule always conflicts with mine, so I'm pretty excited that he will be there."

The race will also mark the second time that she will use the "Longest Night of Moroso" as an effort to raise funding for Racing For Kids. The car will collect pledges for the number of laps it completes in the event, and all money raised will be donated to go to the healthcare of needy children in the area. Popielarz is the sole female spokesperson for Racing For Kids.

Those wishing to make pledges can email waterbug@bv.net for further information.

** One of the most significant awards that will be presented at the ALMS awards ceremony in Adelaide on Jan. 1 will be the second annual "From The Fans" award. Fans of the American Le Mans Series have the opportunity to vote online at www.americanlemans.com.

The voting is for the person who has done the most for sports car racing during the 2000 season. The name of the recipient will remain a closely-guarded secret until being revealed during the awards ceremony.

The recipient of the first award in 1999 was ALMS founder Don Panoz.

** Fans of the American Le Mans Series and sports car racing also have the opportunity to vote for the Sports Car Driver of the Millennium, and the Sports Car of the Millennium. The poll is being conducted on the ALMS website at www.americanlemans.com.

The winners will be announced at the Australia race.

A feature of the online poll on the ALMS website will be soundbites with ALMS drivers, owners and team managers talking about their choices in the two categories.

QUICK NOTES: BMW Team PTG driver Hans Stuck of Austria and his wife, Sylvia, will travel to the Great Barrier Reef following the Adelaide race for a delayed honeymoon. The couple married in Austria in August of 1999 .... ALMS GTS class drivers Andy Pilgrim and Ron Fellows joined NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., in a recent testing session of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. The circuit will host the 12 Hours at Sebring for the ALMS on March 17, 2001, and Pilgrim and Fellows are expected entrants .... Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., will host a "Holiday Sobriety Challenge" program on Dec. 14 to bring awareness to the serious problem of drinking and driving. American Le Mans Series driver Johannes van Overbeek of nearby Oakland, Calif., is expected to participate in the program ....

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