Johnny Herbert To Drive Second Champion Audi in Final Two American Le Mans Series Events Braselton, GA - International racing star Johnny Herbert will pilot a second Audi R8 Prototype from ADT Champion Racing as he returns to the American Le...
Johnny Herbert To Drive Second Champion Audi in Final Two American Le Mans Series Events
Braselton, GA - International racing star Johnny Herbert will pilot a second Audi R8 Prototype from ADT Champion Racing as he returns to the American Le Mans Series for the final two races of the 2004 season, team officials have announced.
Herbert, a three-time winner in Formula One racing, will team with rising young German driver Pierre Kaffer as they compete in the Sep. 22-25 Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and the season-ending Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., Oct. 14-16.
ADT Champion Racing, owned by Dave Maraj, has taken overall wins in five of the seven ALMS races held this season with drivers JJ Lehto and Marco Werner. Lehto and Werner have already clinched the 2004 ALMS driving title for the top Prototype class but the Champion team still wants to wrap up the team title, as well as manufacturer championships for Audi and tire supplier Michelin.
England's Herbert will be reuniting with the Florida-based Champion team for which he contested the 2001-2003 seasons of the American Le Mans series. He scored four ALMS race wins for Champion in 2003, including a victory at Road Atlanta in the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans. He has spent the 2004 season driving for Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx, finishing third in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring that opened the ALMS season and second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Herbert also won a Le Mans Endurance Series race for Audi UK at Monza, Italy.
"I am really happy to have this opportunity to race in the last two races of the ALMS series with Champion Racing," said Herbert. "I have missed not racing with them this season and it will be good to get back into the team and see everybody again. I have raced against Pierre Kaffer in the LMES championship this year and I know him to be a very good driver. I'm looking forward to having him as my teammate. This is going to be a great challenge, the Audi R8 has won six of the ALMS races this year and having been given the opportunity to win Petit Le Mans again I intend to do just that. I am also looking forward to finishing the series on a high note at Laguna Seca."
A factory Audi driver, Kaffer was part of the winning team in this year's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the only ALMS race in which he has competed, along with Allan McNish and Frank Biela. He has also scored two wins this season in the Le Mans Endurance Series in Europe, all driving for Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx.
"I am really looking forward to Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca," said Kaffer. "Those are great race tracks and most definitely challenging ones too. I am very proud to drive for Champion Racing and I look forward to coming over and joining them soon. I tested an R8 at Road Atlanta earlier this year and found that track to be very much like Nurburging, lots of ups and downs with fast corners. I especially like the first part of the track, Turn 1 and the Esses. You really need a big heart for this track!"
"We look forward to Johnny driving for Champion again," said Maraj. "He was a huge asset during the three years he drove for us. Pierre Kaffer is definitely an up and coming driver who has already proven himself at Le Mans and in the Le Mans Endurance Series. He'll make a perfect addition to our team."
"The addition of a second Audi R8 from Champion Racing, with accomplished drivers at the wheel, has just made the race for the wins at Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca even tougher," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the ALMS. "Dave Maraj and Audi do everything first-class and we know that this effort by Champion Racing will further that reputation. We appreciate the value their expanded participation brings to the table."
Chevy presents Petit Le Mans is one of two long-distance endurance races on the American Le Mans Series schedule, covering 1,000 miles or 10 hours, whichever comes first on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit. The race starts at 12 noon (Eastern) on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has hosted races for the ALMS every year since the formation of the series in 1999 but will for the first time in its long history conduct a race that goes into darkness with a four-hour ALMS event on Saturday, Oct. 16. The Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships event starts at 4 p.m. (Pacific) on the 2.238-mile circuit.
Ticket information for both events is available online at www.americanlemans.com.