Tomas Enge Returns to Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing at Salt Lake City Darren Turner Joins Nevada-Based Team for Rounds Five and Six of ALMS Season SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 3, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing ...
Tomas Enge Returns to Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing at Salt Lake City
Darren Turner Joins Nevada-Based Team for Rounds Five and Six of ALMS Season
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 3, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing received two pieces of good news this week that will directly impact the remainder of its 2007 American Le Mans Series season. On Wednesday, Dr. Tim Weber, Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon at OrthoIndy, released team driver Tomas Enge (a native of the Czech Republic now living in Monaco) to drive the No.31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT beginning at the Larry H. Miller Dealership's Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park. Today, team owner Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) announced that British racing standout Darren Turner (Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England) will join Enge behind the wheel of the V8-powered machine at round five of the American Le Mans Series season at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah and round six at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT. The combination of Enge and Turner is a proven pair at Miller Motorsports Park, the drivers having teamed at Aston Martin Racing to win the GT1 class there last year.
Enge returns to the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed team after missing the two most recent events, the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) and the Lonestar Grand Prix of Houston, following injuries sustained at the Sports Car Challenge at St. Petersburg (Fla.) on March 31. The most serious of the injuries was a shattered left elbow which required two hours of surgery on April 6. The surgery and Enge's subsequent dedication to return to racing went so well that Weber felt comfortable releasing the Czech to drive almost a month ahead of schedule.
Turner, who will be making his GT2 class debut at Miller, has 15 career American Le Mans Series starts since his 2003 Series debut. In that time he has had four victories, all driving for Aston Martin Racing, including the win here last year with Enge and impressive class wins at the Petit Le Mans ('06) and the 12 Hours of Sebring ('05). He has one Series start this season coming at Sebring where he drove an Aston Martin DBR9 to third in the GT1 class. Outside of his recently acquired role with the two-time GT2 class championship-winning program, Turner is competing in the British Touring Car Championship for SEAT Sport UK. He will also join Enge at the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving for Aston Martin in June.
Dirk Müller (a German now living in Monaco) was announced as a fulltime driver for Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing on April 23rd. As noted at that time, Müller's previous commitment to AF Corse Motorola in the FIA GT Championship, where he is the current point leader, will exclude him from the Utah and Connecticut events. The 2000 American Le Mans Series GT2 (then known as GT) champion will return to team with Enge at the Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio on July 22. The two will pair in the mid-engine, Italian exotic for the remainder of the season with the exception of season-ending Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 20.
Enge will get his first laps back in the Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Ferrari at Miller on May 12th and 13th where the team will be testing. Turner will arrive for testing on Sunday, the 13th, to become familiar with the F430 GT. Mike Petersen, an accomplished racer who often does test and development work for his team, will also run the car in the two-day test.
Mike Petersen, Owner: "Tomas getting back is a blessing. We are all looking forward to gathering things up for this season and try to make some good things happen. We have had a great race car; we just have not had the results to show this yet. With the addition of Darren we are looking forward to getting to the top spot as the guys really have been working so hard to get things going. The test that we are going to do at Salt Lake should help us for the race and the rest of the year. We will be able to get more accustomed to the Ferrari with more time at a track and try things we have not been able to try with the limited time at the past races. Welcome back Tomas and we are happy that he is progressing so quickly!"
Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "Having Tomas back is a great for the team. Just his presence at Houston helped get everyone focused and even more upbeat. Now, having him back in the car for the rest of the season, we feel like it is all coming together. To be able to bring in a driver the caliber of Darren Turner is also a big deal for the team. There is no shortage of talented drivers in sports car racing but with all the international racing going on, finding one that is available and works well within the team is not easy. To bring Darren into drive with Tomas these two races and then to have Dirk in after that, really makes us feel like we have turned the corner on this season."
Tomas Enge, Driver: "I am overjoyed. My doctor Tim Weber told me after Wednesday's checks that there is nothing to prevent my return to the cockpit. He told me this after he saw my latest X-ray pictures. I have got permission to test with my team Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning at Salt Lake next week and to race there on May 19th. I am going to continue my intensive rehabilitation before I will climb behind the wheel. I can do exercises with weight again. I am sure that my determination to get back was a big help in my recovery. I did everything what I could have done and I think that I was an extraordinary obedient and cooperative patient. I said the news about my return to the bosses of my team and basically immediately I got phone calls from all team members that they are looking forward to see me back in the car. I cannot wait and I believe that I will be soon as quick as I was before the accident. I am taking the test and race also as a preparation for the 24 Hours Le Mans. I should have better idea after a race in the Ferrari 430 how I will behind the wheel of more powerful Aston Martin DBR9."
Darren Turner, Driver: "First of all I want to thank Mike Petersen, Dale White and the Petersen/White Lightning team for the opportunity to drive for them in these two ALMS rounds. I'm very much looking forward to teaming up with Tomas Enge again as we had a great relationship racing with each other last year. Hopefully we can repeat our 2006 success at Salt Lake City with another class win, this time in GT2. I haven't driven the Ferrari F430 GT but had a fair amount of experience with its predecessor, the F360, and everything I've heard about the car sounds impressive."