Dumbreck and Muller to Team in No. 31 Ferrari for Third-Straight Race DETROIT August 29, 2007 - Saturday's Detroit Sports Car Challenge marks the last of four visits to temporary race circuits this season by Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning...
Dumbreck and Muller to Team in No. 31 Ferrari for Third-Straight Race
DETROIT August 29, 2007 - Saturday's Detroit Sports Car Challenge marks the last of four visits to temporary race circuits this season by Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. Making-up a third of the 2007 American Le Mans Series schedule, the street circuits, like the 2.125- mile, 14-turn course through Detroit's Belle Isle, have proven to be a strong setting for the Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) owned team. Like everywhere during the year, the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT has been fast on these tight courses. However, the team is yet to post their first 2007 GT2 class podium finish on a 'street' course. In fact, the Nevada-based team has never posted a podium finish on a temporary course despite having finished in the top-three 28 percent of the time in their sports car racing career. Peter Dumbreck (born in Scotland but living in Adderbury, England) and Dirk Muller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) will be behind the wheel for the September 1, two- hour and 45-minute event in Detroit. It is their third- straight race sharing the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Ferrari.
The No. 31 Ferrari made its temporary track debut on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. to rave reviews. The team dominated practice, qualifying and the race before, with 45-minutes remaining, the white and neon yellow Ferrari with the red lightning bolt made heavy contact with the unforgiving concrete retaining wall. The 120 mile per hour hit resulted in a destroyed race car and its driver out for two months. In an amazing show of organization and drive, the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed team built a totally new Ferrari F430 GT in three days to take the car to the second street course in as many races; the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.). Muller made his first start with the team there qualifying fourth and finishing sixth. To close the grueling coast-to-coast, three-race street course thrash, two-weeks later Muller ran the Ferrari on the streets surrounding Houston's Reliant Park. It was the team's best showing of the then young season qualifying second, setting the race's fastest lap (Muller had also set the mark in Long Bach) and finishing fourth after a late-race penalty pulled them from the podium.
This will be Dumbreck's first street course with Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing and his first street race since 2004. Dumbreck continues to learn the car but has also had to learn unfamiliar tracks in his first two events (Road America and Mosport). At Belle Isle, the Scot will be on equal footing with the other GT2 drivers as this is the debut event for the American Le Mans Series at the recently re-introduced temporary track. Dumbreck and Muller have been a formidable duo in their two races together. The two have combined for two-top four finishes.
The two-time American Le Mans Series GT2 Driver and IMSA Cup Champions ('05,'06) continue to wait for the final, official standings from the most recent round at Mosport International Raceway. The team was provisionally listed fourth in GT2 on last Sunday's race but a protest was filed that could move the team as high as second. International Motor Sports Association officials expect the official posting of results prior to the Detroit Sports Car Challenge.
Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "We have two drivers who are now very comfortable and very fast in the car. We have a strong Ferrari running on Michelin tires and I'd stack our pit crew up against any one in the paddock under race conditions. We've had a quick car everywhere we have gone this season and we've been quick at every street course. I am really confident this week, just like I am every weekend. We're right there every race and I don't think Detroit will be any different. The last two events we have lost a lap within the first ten minutes of the race and within sight of the class leader because the overall leader split us when a caution flew. There just isn't much we can do about that. We'll attack this track hard, just like we do all of them, and hope that the cautions fall our way."
Peter Dumbreck, Driver: "I'm looking forward to the circuit. It's the same as Mosport, it is quite unforgiving. If you make a mistake you really can pay for it by damaging the car quite heavily. Dirk and I have to concentrate in the practice and get our head around the circuit layout, where the bumps are and braking points, things like that. Street circuits change from the first outing on Friday to the race on Saturday. The change will be massive as the track gets rubber on it. It is important not to get too excited early on. It is knowing that at qualifying you are up to speed; not trying to set the world on fire the first session. There is going to be a lot of cars on the circuit and a lot of position changing from the prototypes to us. We saw numerous cars having contact at Mosport and I expect even more here because of the nature of the circuit. We have to be very vigilant when being overtaken by these other cars, not risking turning in on them or anything like that. Until you are in the race car you can't appreciate everything. Until Friday morning and I do my first laps I am not sure what to expect of the circuit."
Dirk Muller, Driver: "I am definitely thrilled to be back on a street course. I am the sort of guy that takes the challenge of heading to a new race track. For me it is not only a new track but it is a new area. I have never been to Detroit. I can't wait to get out and start with the car. So far by running [n foot] around the track it looks very, very challenging. It is very tricky and bumpy and quick. The biggest challenge is going to be getting to know the secret out of this track. At the moment to me it looks really technical. You need to get the confidence to put the power down and carry the speed. That is why we are here. That is why we are racing in the American Le Mans Series and I am very much looking forward to having a 100 percent weekend."
The Detroit Sports Car Challenge will start at 3:15 pm (ET) on Saturday, September 1. Tape-delayed television coverage will be carried on SPEED Channel 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 to 12:30 a.m. ET Sunday, September 2.
The event can also be heard live on the American Le Mans Series Radio Web, available through the American Le Mans Series web site.