Long Beach: VICI Racing preview

T-MOBILE AND VICI RACING READY FOR CHALLENGE ON STREETS OF LONG BEACH A new chapter for T-Mobile USA and VICI Racing in the American Le Mans series opens tomorrow at one of the world's most famous race circuits, the tough temporary street course...

T-MOBILE AND VICI RACING READY FOR CHALLENGE ON STREETS OF LONG BEACH

A new chapter for T-Mobile USA and VICI Racing in the American Le Mans series opens tomorrow at one of the world's most famous race circuits, the tough temporary street course round Long Beach in Southern California, a concrete-lined amphitheatre where the greats of motor racing have lined up annually to do battle for more than a third of a century.

Long Beach signifies the start of the T-Mobile® and VICI Racing track programme in 2009 and the dawn of an exciting new partnership that will mount a bold challenge for honours in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). It will be the team's second appearance on the streets of Long Beach as last year a very solid points paying result followed a trouble free run to the checkered on a circuit that is often referred to as the North American equivalent of the famous Monte Carlo Grand Prix.

VICI Racing is a long time established German/US racing team which is setting out this week on its second year in the prestigious series. T- Mobile USA is a leading innovator and provider of mobile communications. At the end of 2008, T-Mobile USA served more than 32.8 million customers. T- Mobile USA is the U.S. operation of Deutsche Telekom AG's Mobile Communications Business, and a wholly owned subsidiary of T-Mobile International, one of the world's leading companies in mobile communications. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG.

VICI Racing will enter the #18 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the 90-minute race on the demanding 1.968 mile Long Beach temporary road course, and everyone in the new partnership is looking forward to the tough challenge posed by this legendary temporary circuit. VICI Racing is also pleased to announce that Richard Westbrook and Johannes Stuck from its driver roster will pilot the #18 car this week. For Richard and Johannes this will be their first race with VICI Racing although both drivers took part in the team's winter testing programme. Richard is a proven race winner with numerous championships under his belt with the Porsche brand, including in the Porsche Carrera Cup and Porsche Supercup. Last year he was the only driver to claim wins in the ALMS, FIA GT Championship and Le Mans Series. The team is delighted to sign him for this year and pairing him up with Johannes Stuck, the son of legendary sports car racer Hans-Joachim Stuck, and a youngster who is quickly following in the family footsteps and plying his craft as a racing driver having already proved himself very fast and smooth at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in Europe. Both drivers will take to the Long Beach track for the first time in their careers tomorrow afternoon."

The Long Beach road course traces its roots back to its first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1977. Many reputations have been made and broken on its demanding course. In 1984 Long Beach switched to hosting the ChampCar series. Then last year, the American Le Mans Series arrived in town, the stunning sports cars taking Southern California by storm. The ALMS' stars and cars now return for the third straight year in one of the most anticipated races of the season this Saturday. This will be the 35th consecutive year of racing on the track.

The American Le Mans Series Race at Long Beach gets underway tomorrow (Thursday April 16) with two afternoon promoter test sessions adding up to 1 hour and 45 minutes of track time (3:00 to 4:00 PM followed by 5:00 to 5:45 AM PT). The next day (Friday April 17) starts with an hour's free practice (9:00 to 9:45 AM PT) before the 25 minute afternoon qualifying session (4:00 to 4:24 PM PT) decides the grid. Race day (Saturday April 18) kicks off early with a short warm-up session (7:30 to 7:45 AM PT) before the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach Race, round 3 of the 2009 series, goes to green flag at 4:15 PM PT. The checkered flag is scheduled to be waved on the 1 hour and 30 minute race at 5:45 PM PT. The race will be televised from 12:30 to 2:30 PM ET on Sunday, April 19 on ABC. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com. The race also will be aired on XM Channel 242 and Sirius Channel 126 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM ET on Saturday. The race also will mark the next round for the MICHELIN® Green X® Challenge.

Ron C Meixner, President VICI Racing: "Long Beach sees the start of our programme for this year and the first race that we will be entering with our new partner T-Mobile®. It's a very exciting time for everyone as we have really got the building blocks in place to challenge for success, we have a strong partner in T-Mobile® that shares all our values in the relentless pursuit of success and is accustomed to winning. This partnership has come together at an amazing speed and every issue deal has been ticked off swiftly, thanks to the drive and commitment of all sides, and so I know that we can look forward to a promising future together. Long Beach has come around very quickly so we have a lot of work to do here this week but everyone is highly motivated and focused and we will look to turn in a professional performance, and go on and deliver the results that this team is capable of."

Roland Wall, Technical Director VICI Racing: "We're all looking forward to Long Beach and I think we are ready to build on last year's performance and are quickly getting all the ingredients in place to stake our place so we have to knuckle down and work hard to turn the mix into a winning one. I'm pleased to have Richard [Westbrook] and Johannes [Stuck] in the car for the weekend; they are both young, hungry for success and have a lot of experience with the RSR, and I am sure they will learn the track very quickly. I have worked with them both and I'm pleased we can pair them up here. They should be an excellent combination. I like Long Beach, I like tight tracks with changing surfaces because it is a good challenge for the engineer, they require a smooth car that generates loads of mechanic grip which is pretty difficult to find, so we have to work carefully to get the right setup."

Richard Westbrook (England) #18: "I'm pleased that I will be driving for VICI Racing at Long Beach, I would like to thank Ron [Meixner] for the opportunity to drive for the team this year and I have seen a lot of positives in the team during our pre-season programme so I am sure we have the right guys to challenge in a tough class; everyone is very motivated. Our programme is getting going a bit late so we have to work very hard and chase good results and I am sure we can have a very good season. I am happy to be driving with Joe [Stuck] I know him well from racing Porsches I am sure we will form an effective partnership in Long Beach. I am also looking forward to Long Beach, it will be my first time there and it has a great reputation and history so it will be good to get onto this track. I have plenty of experience on tight street circuits, like Monaco and Bucharest, I like the challenge and the focus that they pose, so I'm sure I can learn the track quickly. It looked interesting when I drove round it this morning to get a first look at the layout, there are lots of different surfaces for sure, and I know Roland [Wall] will set up a great car for us."

Johannes Stuck (Austria) #18: "I'm excited to be driving for VICI Racing at Long Beach. This is the start of something really new in my career, racing in the United States, and something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Long Beach is one of the most famous circuits in the world and its also special for me as my Dad [Hans-Joachim Stuck] raced here in his F1 days and also raced in the first ever F1 Long Beach Grand Prix [in 1976] so it will be great for me that he will be on the pitwall this weekend to support me and the team. I have been to several US tracks with my Dad over the years and I tested for VICI Racing at Sebring in December, but this will be my first time racing in the US so it's a great opportunity for me and I'm grateful that Ron [Meixner] and Roland [Wall] have shown faith in me to give me this drive and I really look forward to repaying them. I'm pleased to be racing with Richard, he's very quick and proven, I have raced against him lots of times but it will be the first time we are team mates, so I think I will learn from him also. We have a great team, the Michelin tires will be really good on this track I think, so I think a really good year is in prospect."

-credit: vici

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Series ALMS
Drivers Hans-Joachim Stuck , Richard Westbrook , Johannes Stuck