BRASELTON, Ga. (August 31, 2001) -- The mystical Ferrari marque will return to sports car endurance racing in the American Le Mans Series in the Audi Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 6. The 2001 season finale event for the series will be...
BRASELTON, Ga. (August 31, 2001) -- The mystical Ferrari marque will return to sports car endurance racing in the American Le Mans Series in the Audi Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 6.
The 2001 season finale event for the series will be the scene for the debut of a Ferrari 550 Maranello, entered in the GTS class by the England-based Prodrive team. The car, which will be racing for the first time, is a sister to the machine that recently, in only its third outing, scored Ferrari's first-ever victory in the FIA GT Championship in Europe.
Rickard Rydell of Sweden and Peter Kox of Holland, who co-drove to victory in that event in Austria, will drive the new car in the Audi Petit Le Mans along with a third driver to be selected. The new car, built to ACO rules for the ALMS, will be tested in England before being shipped to America for the race. Dave Price, a veteran team manager and crew chief in the ALMS, is working with Prodrive for its effort in the Audi Petit Le Mans.
The third driver, Price said, will most likely be an American, and he has several candidates.
The Ferrari name has not been seen in the ALMS since early in the 2000 season, when several Ferrari Prototypes competed in events. The Prodrive car will be the first in the series in the GTS class for production-based cars.
While the Prodrive entry is a semi-factory works effort, Price said that the Ferrari 550 Maranello will be available as a customer car for the 2002 season. "We believe that America will be a big market for us," he said, adding that several potential customers will visit the car and team at Road Atlanta.
In the GTS class of the ALMS at the Audi Petit Le Mans, the Ferrari will compete against the two-car Chevrolet Corvette C5-R factory team, as well as several Saleen S7R machines and privately-entered Dodge Viper GTS-R racers.
The Audi Petit Le Mans, which will cover 10 hours or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first, will get the green flag at 12 noon on Saturday, October 6. In only three years of existence, the event has become one of the most popular sporting events in the Southeast. As its name implies, the Petit Le Mans is a smaller version of the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
Ticket information is available online at www.roadatlanta.com, or by calling 1-800-849-7223.