Cirtek Motorsports to field cars at final races

British Cirtek Team Bringing Two Cars, Top Drivers To Challenge American Le Mans Series GT Class Braselton, GA - England's Cirtek Motorsports, a sports car racing team with a winning reputation, has entered two cars of different makes ...

British Cirtek Team Bringing Two Cars, Top Drivers To Challenge American Le Mans Series GT Class

Braselton, GA - England's Cirtek Motorsports, a sports car racing team with a winning reputation, has entered two cars of different makes with top-flight drivers in the final two races of the 2004 American Le Mans Series season.

Cirtek, owned by Rob Schirle, will take the unusual stance of running both a Porsche and a Ferrari in the GT class, bringing the rival cars together on the same racing team. The cars have already been air-freighted to America and will compete in Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Sept. 22-25, as well as the season-ending Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., Oct. 14-16.

"Having competed in the LMES series this year as well as Le Mans in June, coming to America was the only logical thing to do," said Schirle from his team headquarters in England. "The racing in the ALMS is of the highest caliber. We have beaten Friesinger on home soil in Nurburgring and they are regarded as the benchmark European team. So I thought why not see what we can achieve in the USA."

Christophe Bouchut of France and Stephan Ortelli of Monaco will co-drive the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the two races, while Andrea Montermini of Italy, Andrew Kirkaldy of Scotland and Frank Mountain of England will share a Ferrari 360 GTC.

"The drivers in both cars are exceptional," said Schirle. "There are several top teams in the ALMS and the competition in the GT class is widely regarded as the best in the world. The teams should have the upper hand as they all are regularly racing over there (North America), but my choice of driver shows our intent.

"Some people may think it strange that we have strong cars from such rivals as Porsche and Ferrari, but as a team we want to get the best out of each car," said Schirle "That's what we have proved this year and last, we can win with any car. All I know is that we are facing opposition from some very serious teams."

Bouchut, who has competed in ALMS events in the past in both Prototype and GTS cars, is a three-time driving champion in FIA GT racing. In addition, he has two wins in the Spa 24 Hours and one class win in both the Le Mans and Daytona 24-hour races. Bouchut has also won three Porsche Carrera Cup championships and was the 1991 French Formula 3 champion.

Ortelli, who also has previous ALMS experience, was recently ranked by an international racing magazine as one of the top Porsche drivers of the modern era. Part of the overall winning team in the 1998 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ortelli was the winner of the Porsche Supercup in 2002 with seven race wins. He was also the FIA N-GT driving champion in 2002 and 2003.

Montermini has a diverse racing background that includes participation in Formula One and CART events, as well as in sports cars. Success in Formula 3000 helped him make it to Formula One in 1995 and 1996, and he earned FIA GT wins in 2002, his first season in GT cars. He has two career ALMS starts.

"Andrew Kirkaldy raced with Veloqx in the FIA 2003 and has been exceptionally quick in the British series," said Schirle. "He proved his speed by qualifying 2nd after very little running in our 360GTC. Both drivers will assist Frank, who will be racing at Road Atlanta for the first time. We will be testing this weekend and I am sure his times will improve considerably as the week progresses."

EVENT INFORMATION

Chevy presents Petit Le Mans will get the green flag at 12 noon (Eastern) on Saturday, September 25. The race will cover 1,000 miles, or 10 hours, whichever comes first on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit. Qualifying will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, along with an ALMS Fan Forum and an open paddock autograph session featuring all ALMS drivers. ALMS cars will also practice on Wednesday and Thursday of race week.

The race will be televised live in North America by the SPEED Channel and in Europe by MotorsTV. American Le Mans Series Radio will have live coverage of qualifying and the race that can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.

Ticket information for the event is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling the Road Atlanta ticket office at (800) 849-RACE.

The Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships will be a four-hour event at the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, getting the green flag at 4 p.m. (Pacific) and continuing until 8 p.m. The event will mark the first time in the history of the storied track that a race has been run into darkness.

NBC Sports will have tape-delayed television coverage of the event at 2 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday, Oct. 17. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage of the race and of qualifying that can be heard online at www.americanlemans.com.

Ticket information is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling 1-800-327-7322.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Stéphane Ortelli , Andrea Montermini , Christophe Bouchut , Frank Mountain , Andrew Kirkaldy