Petersen/White Lightning preliminary test notes

Petersen/ White Lightning Destroys Track Record At Le Mans Pre-Test LE MANS, France, April 25, 2004 -- The No. 90 Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR obliterated the LM GT class track record, set last year in ...

Petersen/ White Lightning Destroys Track Record At Le Mans Pre-Test

LE MANS, France, April 25, 2004 -- The No. 90 Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR obliterated the LM GT class track record, set last year in qualifying, by over one second here in preliminary testing for June's 24 Heures Du Mans. The four minute, 5.975 second lap, turned in by Jorg Bergmeister of Langenfield, Germany, was done in the closing lap of the day's second of two, four- hour practice sessions. The eight hour test of the Westward Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Mail2Web.com/ Michelin Porsche is the sole time that the Petersen/ White Lightning crew is able to run on the Circuit Des 24 Heures Du Mans in preparation for the world's greatest sports car race. Bergmeister, Patrick Long (Oak Park, Calif.) and Michael Petersen, (Las Vegas, Nev.) all took turns in the 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR familiarizing themselves with the course and preparing for the team's return to compete in the 72nd Annual 24 Heures Du Mans on the weekend of June 12-13.

Earlier in the day, Bergmeister was the first in the car for the morning session at 9 am turning a 4 minute, 12.398 second lap of the 8.6-mile facility. The time was good for the third position of the session. Long, a rookie at Le Mans, attended to the 10 laps required by the Automobile Club De l'Ouest (ACO) to be cleared to participate in the event and then quickly brought his lap times down to times competitive with Bergmeister. Sascha Maassen, the 2003 LM GT class pole sitter and race winner here at Le Mans, will join Bergmeister and Long for final qualifying and the race in June. Petersen will return as a reserve driver for the race.

The team adjusted quickly to Michelin's new 28 71 18 rear tire. The tire, designed to reduce wear and improve overall performance through a larger circumference, was immediately quick and proved to be fast, durable. The new racing slick was a superior performer over even Michelin's preceding, excellent design.

The 2004 24 Heures Du Mans will take the French Tri-Color signaling the start of the event on June 12 with a local start time of 16:00 (4 pm).

Mike Petersen, team owner/ driver: "We're really happy with the way things turned out as Jorg pulled out another awesome performance. It was pretty close most of the day as we were just working on race setup and going over different tire combinations that we'll use in different parts of the race. The team will savor this short-lived practice session but, ultimately, to do good in the race is why we are all here. I'd like to thank the sponsors and the crew for all their hard work and support. We can hardly wait to get back for the race in June. Now if I can just have Jorg show me how to go that fast. "

Dale White, team manager: "I want to thank the guys. We have all been working on this, as a team, since the end of last season. I can't explain how much work is really involved in getting here. Everyone, from the drivers to the crew to the guys from Porsche and Michelin, performed extremely well. It shows how strong we are and how we are watching every detail. We are very eager to get back to race in a couple of months."

Jorg Bergmeister: "The team did a really great job. At the beginning of the day we had some handling problems but we really improved upon that and that is the way it should be. At the end we put on some qualifiers [Michelin tires] and I had a clear lap and the car felt really, really good. We worked a lot on the race setup during the day and I think we have a good car for the race. We'll see. Hopefully it will go that good at the race as well."

Patrick Long: "For the team it's great to have both an excellent race car and a great qualifying pace, as we showed in the end of the day. Jorg drove flawless and got a really good setup. That allowed me to get settled in the late afternoon and put up some really consistent laps together. I came out of the day with what I wanted to accomplish and I am quite sure that the team did as well with that great lap of Jorg's. So everyone is happy. I'm thankful to Mike and Dale for the opportunity and I'm looking forward to the race."

For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com.

-dhc/tm-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Sascha Maassen , Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Michael Petersen