Petersen/White Lightning -- LM GT Class Leader -- Le Mans Eight Hour Report
LE MANS, France, June 13, 2004 -- The No. 90 Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR continues to lead the LM GT class of the 72nd Annual 24 Heures Du Mans. The
Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ mail2web.com/ Michelin Porsche driven by Sascha Maassen (Raeren, Belgium), Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfield, Germany) and Patrick Long (Oak Park, Calif.) has led every lap of the event except one- which came with the first pit stop and only lasted until the second-place car made its first scheduled stop. Maassen, the pole sitter, currently holds the fastest class lap of the race (4 minutes 8.769 seconds) set in the fifth hour of the race.
The cooler night temperatures and strong performance of the Michelin Tires have allowed the Michael Petersen-owned and Dale White-managed team to begin 'double stinting' both Michelin tires and drivers. Maassen took the wheel of the car on lap 90, approximately 10:30 pm/ 22:30, and has continued there since. Double-stinting is the strategy which calls for the same driver and/or tires to remain in the car through two stops for fuel, roughly 30 laps. Bergmeister will be the next to double stint.
fuel: Fuel continues to play a role in the overall strategy for the team. While not on a fuel conservation mode, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 'boxer' engine and sequential six speed gearbox continue to allow the team to set its own pace thereby saving fuel.
Michelins: The Michelin Pilot racing slicks are performing even above the high expectations of Petersen/ White Lightning. That performance, cooler night temperatures and skillful driving have allowed the team to begin to ''double-stint" the tires. Only one concern involving the tires surfaced during the second four hours of the event, during Long's second stint, when he feared a punctured right rear tire. However, it was determined that it was residue rubber, or 'marbles', which built-up on the hot tire when Long passed a prototype off the racing line.
Dale White, team manager:
(about the team's strategy): "We are right on schedule. Everything is going just to plan. To this point, we have not had any major worries. The drivers are doing all we can ask of them and the crew is working so well together right now. We've just had awesome pit stops all day long. We still have the majority of the race to go, but, right now, we are keeping with our plan."
(about the tires): "It has been our plan to double stint the drivers and the Michelin tires as soon as it got cool enough to do it. The Michelins are performing so well we are ahead of schedule and if events forced us to, we could likely do a triple stint. The Michelins' performance has been beyond even our expectations."