Petersen/ White Lightning Stays Hungry for Race Wins Entering ALMS Laguna Finale MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 10, 2005 -- Despite entering the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a commanding lead in the...
Petersen/ White Lightning Stays Hungry for Race Wins Entering ALMS Laguna Finale
MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 10, 2005 -- Despite entering the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a commanding lead in the GT2 driver championship and a six point buffer in the team championship, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing is focused on winning Saturday's race. While other teams in this position might approach the four-hour Monterey Sports Car Championships with point management on their minds, the Michael Petersen-owned operation is entering the daylight-to-darkness event on a mission to win their fourth-straight ALMS GT2 event, fifth of the season. A win here would make a sweep of ALMS endurance races (four hours or more) for 2005 as the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has been first across the line at the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the most recent event, the Petit Le Mans. The temptation to stop chasing race victories and start running for points would be very appealing to most teams eager to win their first title. Not so for the small, tight-knit group from Nevada. With both titles still up for grabs, the team is going to continue to pursue victory on the Monterey Peninsula as if hungry for their first-ever win.
The Dale White-managed team has claimed one championship already; the 2005 GT2 IMSA Cup. Awarded to the highest-finishing, privateer entrant for the season, the team clinched the title by winning the Petit Le Mans. In fact, the team dominated the category this season winning eight of the nine event IMSA Cups awarded thus far. They hold an insurmountable 51 point lead entering the final race. Initially the 2005 goal of the team, the IMSA Cup is a prestigious addition to over 20 years worth of accolades that Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing has garnered in off-road competition ('99 SCORE and SNORE Truck championships, '98 Protruck Stadium Series championship, '97 SODA Unlimited 2wd Champions, '95-'97 Baja 1000 and Baja 500 overall titles, class titles in each in '98, 50 victories) and sports car racing ('03 and '04 24 Hours of Le Mans GT(2) victories, class titles at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit Le Mans, the 24 At Daytona and the Six Hours at The Glen, five ALMS race wins, three SCCA World Challenge wins and one SCCA Trans-Am win). 23 points are available for each championship this weekend.
The team has also assisted technical partner Porsche Cars North America to a crushing (122 point lead entering this weekend) GT2 Automobile Manufacturer's title with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. By winning four times already this season, Petersen/ White Lightning also helped Michelin's Pilot SX racing slick clinch the GT2 Tire Manufacturer Championship with a 79 point margin entering the season-finale.
The Monterey Sports Car Championships on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca can be seen on SPEED, Sunday, Oct. 16 beginning at 3 PM (EDT). Live timing and scoring for all sessions can be viewed at www.AmericanLeMans.com.
Dale White, team manager: "This race is very important to us for a lot of reasons. But, we're going to do things just like we have all season. Winning is the goal. So far we have been very successful in getting to where we are by going for the wins and that is what we're doing this weekend too. We're just taking every day one-day, one session, at a time. We have the best group of guys that have ever been on this team and they are working together better than they ever have. This has always been a pretty good track for Mike and me so I am pretty excited about it."
Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "After having already run this year at Laguna, unfortunately with some bad luck at the end, I am really excited about coming back and improving the result there. Definitely, Laguna is one of my favorite tracks. It will be an interesting race. Hopefully, it will be dry all day because the risk is very high there in the rain. I hope it is sunny not just for drivers but the spectators. We just had a ten hour race and this is sort of a short race again. We just need to do what we did pretty much all year; not looking at the championship and just try to win the race."
Patrick Long, driver: "Our strategy has been the same all year and it will be the same in Laguna. That is to continue striving for victories. The second side of that strategy is that, if we were to take too conservative of an approach, I don't think it is the right thing to do. You can never write a script and trying to manipulate the race outcome to get a certain amount of points is to tempt fate. It has been a unique challenge battling Alex Job, who has two race cars against ourselves who have one. But we want this team championship more than anything. So it is about doing what we do best. We need to be smart in traffic, meaning taking no unneeded risk. We were proud to finish the Petit with one of the cleanest, untouched cars in the field. Laguna is a challenging track, it's quite narrow. So we have to go in there as concentrated as we've ever been. Pit strategy and pit stops and lap times. If that is all done we couldn't ask for anything better. It's a California race, which for me, means lots of friends and family for support."
More on Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing can be found at www.PetersenMotorsports.com. Learn more about Porsche at www.Porsche.com.