** American Le Mans Series standouts Allan McNish and Olivier Beretta have been named to the "All-America Auto Racing Team," as selected in ballotting by the membership of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. McNish,...
** American Le Mans Series standouts Allan McNish and Olivier Beretta have been named to the "All-America Auto Racing Team," as selected in ballotting by the membership of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.
McNish, who most likely will clinch the 2000 ALMS Prototype championship in the season finale at Adelaide, was one of 12 racing stars named to the first team. It was the first such honor of the Scottish driver's career.
Beretta, who is close to clinching the ALMS GTS title, was named to the second team for the second consecutive year.
McNish and BF Goodrich Trans Am champion Brian Simo composed the Road Racing category on the first team. They joined such other racing luminaries as NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte, Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Buddy Lazier, CART Fed Ex Series champion Gil de Ferran, Pennzoil World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser and NHRA champions John Force and Gary Scelzi.
The honorees will be feted at the annual AARWBA banquet in Pomona, Calif., on Jan. 13.
** Arizona's Mike Fitzgerald, whose diverse racing schedule for 2000 has included all but two of the ALMS races, has captured the prestigious Porsche Cup trophy honoring the world's top Porsche driver for a private team.
In the ALMS, Fitzgerald has driven in both the GTS and GT class, making starts for Alex Job Racing, Peterson Motorsports and Roock Racing. He will contest the entire 2001 ALMS schedule with the Peterson team, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R in GT competition.
"As my competition was all Porsche drivers worldwide, I am proud of this trophy," said Fitzgerald, who also collected $38,000. "Following Cort Wagner and Price Cobb as the only Americans to win this award in its 30-year history, I also realize that I am privileged to join a list of Porsche Cup champions that includes Bob Wollek, Klaus Ludwig, John Fitzpatrick and Henri Pescarolo."
French GT veteran Christophe Bouchut, who has also done some ALMS racing this year, finished second in the Porsche Cup standings, with ALMS regular Wollek third. Other ALMS drivers who placed in the top 15 include Sascha Maassen (fifth), Bruno Lambert (seventh), Darren Law (eighth), Randy Pobst (ninth), Lucas Luhr (10th), Dirk Muller (11th) and David Murry (15th).
Fitzgerald resides in the Phoenix suburb of Fountain Hills, Ariz., and works as a high performance driving school instructor.
** Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., who has competed in many of the 11 American Le Mans Series races held this season, has won the BMW Sports Trophy 2000 to become the world's most successful non-works BMW race car driver.
Cunningham drove a BMW M3 in the GT class of the ALMS and also competed in the Speedvision World Challenge GT Series. His placings earned 330 points in the battle for the award, 10 more than runner-up Mikhail Ukhov, a driver in the Russian Touring Car Championship.
ALMS driver Brian Cunningham placed fifth, while other ALMS drivers to finish in the top 20 were Boris Said (eighth) and Johannes van Overbeek (18th).
** Olive Garden/Team Rafanelli driver Didier de Radigues recently competed in a different sort of endurance race than the Prototype pilot usually sees on the American Le Mans Series.
The Monaco resident raced in the third annual Bakel - Saint Louis - Dakar Corona Extra jetraid. The race on jet skis took place in and off the coast of Senegal, including 1.8 kms of river and sea in 15 days. The competition included three closed courses, two oval races, two flash races and three offshores.
Despite being one of the few non-professional jet ski racers to take part, de Radigues won one open sea heat race and finished in the top six in the balance of the offshore portions to take 18th overall out of the 24 F1 category jet skis.
A former Grand Prix motorbike racer, de Radigues enjoys sailing and jet skiing for recreation when not racing. He was competing in the event for the first time.
** The Peterson Motorsports/White Lightning GT team has put together a star-studded trio of drivers for the Race of a Thousand Years at Adelaide to close the 2000 American Le Mans Series season.
Mike Peterson, Mike Fitzgerald and Randy Pobst will share driving duties in the Westward Ho Casino/MPIE-sponsored Porsche 911 GT3 R in the six-hour race, and each brings strong credentials to the driver's seat.
Pobst, who spent the 2000 ALMS season driving for Alex Job Racing, was especially happy to get the chance to drive for the White Lightning team in Australia. "When Alex Job Racing elected not to compete in Australia, I was thrilled to team up with Peterson Motorsports. Their team manager, Dale White, and their crew chief, Walter Gerber, are tops. With their help, we should easily be able to hit our mark."
Posbt, from Melbourne, Fla., was a two-time race winner during the ALMS season and is fifth in the GT class points entering the Adelaide race. Fitzgerald, who competed in a few races for the Peterson team during the season, will be its fulltime driver in 2001.
"I'm excited about racing this event," said team owner Peterson. "What a great ending to this year's American Le Mans Series. Racing on the famed Adelaide street circuit that formerly hosted Formula One events is something I've been looking forward to all year. I think our chances of doing well are excellent."
** American Le Mans Series driver Milka Duno of Venezuela will be making many trans-Atlantic flights next year as she has earned a fulltime ride in the eight-race Formula Nissan Series in Spain and Italy. She will compete in the open-cockpit, single-seat race cars in addition to running a full ALMS schedule in 2001 for a team that will be announced soon.
Duno competed in the Women's Global GT Series the past two years, and made her ALMS debut for Chamberlain Motorsports in the GTS class in September at the Petit Le Mans. She will drive for the Chamberlain team in the season finale in Adelaide, Australia.
The Formula Nissan cars are powered by four-cylinder, two-liter engines that produce 260 horsepower. The series is considered a valid training ground and stepping stone in Europe to Formula 3000 competition.
Duno traveled to Italy's famed Monza circuit for the try-out drive with Vergani Racing, an Italian team considered among the top three teams in the series. Francesco Marzi is the team owner and manager. Vic Elford, a former driver who is now Duno's manager and adviser, arranged the try-out.
** ALMS cars will be on the circuit at Adelaide 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). The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com.
** 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: Dana Moore, who won the Most Improved Driver award on the WGGTS last season, now has a new website online at www.danamooreracing.com. She hopes to race in the new Panoz GT Series in 2001 if sponsorship can be arranged .... The Panoz team has paired Klaus Graf of Germany with Jan Magnussen for the Adelaide event, and has created an "All Down Under" team with Australians David Brabham and Jason Bright driving with Greg Murphy of New Zealand. The third Panoz Prototype will be driven by regulars Johnny O'Connell and Hiroki Katoh .... Highlights of the Adelaide event can be seen on Eurosport on Jan 7 at 2130 Central European Time .... kk