Petit Le Mans coming to Road Atlanta

BRASELTON, Ga. (September 17, 2000) -- The culture and tradition of France and the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race will be coming to Georgia as the Road Atlanta Motorsports Center hosts the third running of the Petit Le Mans, ...

BRASELTON, Ga. (September 17, 2000) -- The culture and tradition of France and the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race will be coming to Georgia as the Road Atlanta Motorsports Center hosts the third running of the Petit Le Mans, Presented by Audi, on Saturday, September 30.

The Petit Le Mans, featuring many of the same drivers and race cars that compete in the world's most famous endurance race, will cover 10 hours or 1,000 racing miles, whichever comes first. The event for American Le Mans Series sports cars will get the green flag at 12:30 p.m.

The powerful Audi R8 team, winner of the 2000 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the 12 Hours at Sebring and four consecutive American Le Mans Series races, will come into the Petit Le Mans as the race favorite.

Scotland's Allan McNish, who will be moving to Formula One competition next year, will co-drive one of the Audis with Rinaldo Capello of Italy. The duo has recorded three wins this season. Audi will also field a car for the duo of Frank Biela of Monaco and Emanuele Pirro of Italy, winners of the Sebring endurance event earlier this year.

Strong competition for the Audi R8 in the Prototype class will come from the Panoz LMP-1 Roadster, winner of last year's Petit Le Mans. England's David Brabham will co-drive with Denmark's Jan Magnussen, who now lives in Gainesville, Ga., in one of the Panoz vehicles, while the other car will be driven by Johnny O'Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., along with Hiroki Katoh of Japan and Germany's Klaus Graf.

The highly-competitive BMW team, with ALMS points leader Jorg Muller of Monaco co-driving with JJ Lehto of Finland, will also be a threat for the Petit Le Mans win, as will the other BMW V12 LMR driven by Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Jean-Marc Gounon of France.

GM Racing has entered four Cadillac Northstar LMP cars in the event.

In the GTS class, the rivalry between the Dodge Viper and Chevrolet Corvette will continue, with Corvette returning to action for the first time since snapping the year-long winning streak of the Viper in the recent ALMS event at Texas Motor Speedway.

In the GT class, Porsche will look to continue its winning streak, with BMW offering strong competition.

The running of the Petit Le Mans will be the focal point of several intense days of action at Road Atlanta.

The Women's Global GT Series, the only professional racing series in North America for women drivers, will hold a 45-minute race at 4 p.m. on Friday, September 29. Events will also be held during the weekend for the Speedvision World Challenge, the Star Mazda Series, the Barber Dodge Pro Series and the USF2000 Series. The celebrity-filled Bettle Cup, featuring equally-prepared VW Beetles, will run a 30-minute race prior to the start of the Petit Le Mans.

Visitors to Road Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans will not only have the opportunity to see highly-competitve race cars up close, they will also be able to experience and sample the European flavor of Le Mans at many displays and food locations around the facility.

Road Atlanta is located on Highway 53, just off Interstate 85 north of Atlanta. Ticket information is available by calling 1-800-849-RACE or by visiting www.roadatlanta.com.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Rinaldo Capello , Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Klaus Graf , Johnny O'Connell , Jorg Muller , Hiroki Katoh , Jean-Marc Gounon , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto