Westward Team debuts as spring training ends

BRASELTON, Ga. (February 18, 2001) -- The new Westward Racing Group, which will compete in selected American Le Mans Series races in 2001 as well as the full European Le Mans Series, made its on-track debut Sunday as ALMS Spring Training...

BRASELTON, Ga. (February 18, 2001) -- The new Westward Racing Group, which will compete in selected American Le Mans Series races in 2001 as well as the full European Le Mans Series, made its on-track debut Sunday as ALMS Spring Training wrapped up at Road Atlanta. Westward Racing, a privateer team that will campaign Panoz LMP-1 Roadster prototypes, arrived at Road Atlanta Sunday with a yellow and green Panoz car. After some initial shakedown laps by Panoz factory driver Klaus Graf, regular Westward Racing driver Jay Cochran took over for the remainder of Sunday's session. Cochran will co-drive with Peter Boss for the new team, which was scheduled to make its racing debut in the Mar.17 Superflo 12 Hours At Sebring, but may compete in the Leather Center Grand Prix of Texas on Mar. 4. Former CART team owner Peter Kuhn is managing director for the English-based team, with Dave Sims as motorsports director. In addition to the Westward team, the prototype teams of Panoz Motor Sports and Lista Doran tested again on Sunday, as did the GT teams of BMW Team PTG and the GT Trinkler Corvette. The Panoz team experienced a problem with the Panoz LMP 07 car while Jan Magnussen was driving at 12:30 p.m. Magnussen had to shut down the engine and was towed in, but the team was able to repair the problem and continue testing. "We've got a lot of work to do," said Graf, who tested a Panoz LMP-1 with co-driver Gualter Salles. "We need to keep working harder. With everything new - new chassis, new gearbox - it's a lot of stuff to sort out. The second car (another new '01 machine) is in the shop right now, it's just a question of when we will be able to use it." Didier Theys was driving the Crawford prototype for Lista Doran, while the Trinkler Corvette drivers included Owen Trinkler, B.J. Zacharias and Jeff Altenburg. Bill Auberlen and Nic Jonsson drove the BMW for a few hours of testing before the team packed up and left the circuit in the late morning.

There were no other major incidents during the day.

-ALMS-

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Series ALMS