Corsa Motorsports To Be Well Represented at Le Mans Owner Pruitt Traveling to See Event and All Three Drivers Competing SALT LAKE CITY -- Despite not having an entry in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Corsa Motorsports team will be ...
Corsa Motorsports To Be Well Represented at Le Mans
Owner Pruitt Traveling to See Event and All Three Drivers Competing
SALT LAKE CITY -- Despite not having an entry in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Corsa Motorsports team will be well represented at the event next week. Team owner Steve Pruitt plans to attend the race activities, and all three drivers on the Corsa roster have secured rides with other teams. Gunnar Jeannette will share the wheel of the Radical AER (LMP1), Johnny Mowlem will team with Creation AIM (LMP2), and Ralf Kelleners, who will drive with Mowlem and Jeannette at Petit Le Mans, is in the Spyker C8 Laviolette (GT2).
"I want to be at Le Mans next year as a competitor rather than as a spectator," Pruitt states sternly. "This trip, for me, is really about learning the logistics and how things operate. I've spent time watching the Risi [Competizione] guys trying to see how everything is crated and packaged. There are a lot of things to learn and rather than walking in blindly into the folds next year, I think it will help to get a lay of the land attending this year as a spectator. Someone can tell you details, but there is nothing better to do it first hand."
Additionally, Pruitt is interested in further development of the Dunlop tires. "I plan to meet with official from Dunlop and am very interested to see how Virgo Motorsport does on its Dunlops versus what the other Ferraris are doing on Michelins. The whole trip is going to be a learning experience and we're really looking forward to it."
Corsa Motorsports has made three consecutive points-paying finishes with fourth-place finishes at St. Petersburg and Long Beach, followed by a tumultuous day at Miller Motorsports Park, the team's unofficial home track, where it finished ninth after several on-track incidents while battling for position.
Jeannette was a late addition to the Radical roster, but no doubt a great one. He remains in the books as the youngest driver ever to complete the endurance race, finishing 6th in 2000 at the age of 18. Now, still fresh and young at 26, he has competed six times at the circuit, with great finishes of second in GT in 2001, and third, fifth overall, in the Panoz Prototype in 2003.
Jeannette relishes the opportunity to compete at his favorite track, and is excited he got the call. "Not only is Le Mans a great track to drive with a great mixture of high and low speed corners, plus the highest straight line speed we'll see all year, but it is a fantastic event," he says. "The race has been going on for 80 some odd years and it's one of the four most famous automobile races in the world, and generally draws three to five hundred thousand spectators."
The race itself is always the main event, but the atmosphere and pageantry of the driver's parade also creates life-long memories. "The driver parade is very special, there is no other race that I can think of that closes off the streets of a large portion of town so that spectators can pack in and see their favorite drivers come past and sign autographs," Jeannette explains. "We drivers also get shuttled around by some really cool and very vintage 20's and 30's type Bentley's, Citroen's, Peugeot's and other amazing cars. It's just incredible to be a part of such an amazing event."
Mowlem is making his sixth appearance at Le Mans. In his last outing in 2006, he finished 6th in GT and 11th overall. His best result was in 2000 when he placed second in GT.
"Although I am excited about the challenge ahead, I am intending to enter this race with a very cool head and steady approach," Mowlem says about his chances in the race. "If we have a clear run, there is no conceivable reason why we won't have a great result."
Kelleners, Corsa's third wheelman, will also be a part of the festivities and has a new fan cheering him at home when he returns from competition. He was at his wife's side when she delivered a baby girl Saturday evening before the official test day. His resume includes seven starts at Le Mans and a GT class win.
"These guys work hard year-round, so I'm looking forward to seeing them compete at Le Mans and am really hopeful they do well," said Pruitt of the Corsa drivers. "Any success they have at Le Mans has the potential to translate into what we do with our team. It should be really exciting for everyone."
-credit: corsa motorsports