Porsche look to challenge Sebring

ATLANTA -- March 13, 2001 -- Fifty drivers from around the world, representing championships at Le Mans, Daytona, Formula One, Indy Car and GT series over 30 years, will all be driving Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars in this weekend's Superflo 12...

ATLANTA -- March 13, 2001 -- Fifty drivers from around the world, representing championships at Le Mans, Daytona, Formula One, Indy Car and GT series over 30 years, will all be driving Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars in this weekend's Superflo 12 Hours at S ebring presented by Dodge.

With one of the strongest Porsche driver groups ever assembled, the 19 Porsche 911 GT3 RS racers entered will be seeking Porsche's 20th American Le Mans Series GT victory in 22 events, but Porsche Motorsport North America President Alwin Springer cautions that numbers don't tell the whole story.

"The BMW M3 presents its greatest challenge ever, with new cars and a championship stable of drivers including Hans Stuck, Boris Said, Dirk Muller and J.J. Lehto, we know the Porsche teams will have to be well prepared to win the race," said Springer, whos e team of engineers will be on hand with parts and expertise to help the Porsche contingent as they do at all ALMS events.

These technicians help customer teams diagnose problems, provide repair. solutions, and advise them on the right parts to use for their Porsche . racecars Porsche is by far the most successful manufacturer to ever . race at Sebring, with 17 overall wins, 43 class wins, and an amazing 13. overall winning streak (1976 -- 1988) .

Leading the way will be a two-car team prepared by Alex Job Racing of Tavaras, Florida. Team owner Alex Job, with more than a decade of experience preparing Porsche racecars, will field a two-car Porsche 911 GT3 RS team with German drivers Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen in one car, and German GT specialist Christian Menzel and leading American driver Randy Pobst of Melbourne, Fla., in the other. Maassen, Luhr and Pobst all battled for the ALMS championship a year ago, losing out to teammate Dirk Muller at the last event in Australia.

Luhr/Maassen jumped into the early lead at the opening ALMS event earlier this month in Texas, and cruised to a one-lap GT win, while Pobst/Menzel held off two BMWs and three other Porsches to finish second. For the Sebring event, Luhr/Maassen will be joi ned by French GT champion Emmanuel Collard, while Pobst/Menzel will share driving chores with Porsche SuperCup star Timo Bernhard from Germany.

Sponsored by McKenna Porsche in Norwalk, Calif. -- part of the McKenna Automotive Group of 12 auto dealerships in Southern California and Hawaii -- Alex Job Racing will be trying to recapture the magic that earned its team the ALMS GT championship in 1999, w ith Cort Wagner and Dirk Muller at the helm. Fresh from its GT victory and second overall finish at the 2001 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, Dale White and Mike Petersen's White Lightning/Westward Ho Casino race team will be preparing a Porsche 911 GT3 RS for Britain's Johnny Mowlem and France's Bob Wolle k. Wollek was headed for a third-place finish in Texas when he was spun off the track by one of the BMW racers late in the race, dropping the team to its fourth-place finish.

Kelly-Moss Racing, a Madison, Wisconsin--based racing team which has both USRRC and World Challenge experience, will be entering two Porsche 911 GT3 RS racers with veterans David Murry and Anthony Lazzaro driving the the lead car. Both Murry and Lazzaro, w ho reside in the metropolitan Atlanta area, had podium finishes in ALMS last year -- Murry with Skea Racing and Lazzaro with Alex Job Racing. The second Kelly--Moss car will be driven by Rick Polk from Madison, Wisc. and 1999 ALMS GT champion Cort Wagner, f rom Los Angeles. Veteran crew chief Tony Dowe will be in charge of the Kelly-Moss effort.

For Sebring, Grand-Am runner-up driving champion Darren Law, from Phoenix, AZ, will join Murry and Lazzaro, while Vincenzo Sospiri will drive with Polk/Wagner. Dick Barbour Racing, which won the ALMS GT Team Championship last year in a Porsche 911 GT3 R, has opted to race a LMP 675 car which will debut later this season and will not defend its GT championship. The team has entered one 911 GT3 R for Sebring with R andy Wars and Mark Neuhaus listed as drivers. Last year, the Barbour-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R with Drk Muller/Lucas Luhr won the Sebring GT battle.

Other top Porsche 911 GT3 RS teams include last year's Le Mans pole sitters -- the French Larbre Competition team of Christophe Bouchut/Jean-Luc Chereau/Patrice Goueslard; the RWS Motorsport Red Bull entrant with drivers Dieter Quester, Peter Phillip/Norman Simon; the 2001 Rolex 24 third-place overall car from Freisinger Motorsport with Wolfgang Kaufman and '98 Le Mans champion Stephane Ortelli; and 2000 Daytona champions Gabrio Rosa and Fabio Babini from Italy with Indy Car star Alex Caffi in a Seikel Motor sport entry -- also top ten finishers at this year's Rolex 24.

Built by Porsche Motorsport in the Research and Development Department at Weissach, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS delivers 420 horsepower from its 3.6-liter normally-aspirated engine. In 1999, its first year of competition, the car finished 1-2 in class at Le M ans, and has won its class in the American Le Mans Series two years in a row. Porsche also won its class with the GT3 R in the Grand American Road Racing series in 2000, and is off to a fast start to defend that title with a 1-2-3 GT finish at the recent Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. More than 70 Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and GT3 RS' have been sold so far worldwide, with almost half of those cars having raced in the U.S.

The new 2001 model of the Porsche 911 has been designated as the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and is almost identical to the 2000 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The new car has a larger front radiator, a slightly different front spoiler and rear wing, and other minor changes, but remains the same for the major components. Current GT3 R owners can purchase an update kit from Porsche which incorporates all the improvements in the new car.

The Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring presented by Dodge will be telecast live on the Speedvision network starting at 10:30 AM Eastern time on Saturday, March 17, beginning with the 30 minute pre-race show. Then Speedvision will telecast the entire 12-hour eve nt live starting at 11:00 AM. The race, along with qualifying sessions starting March 14, will be broadcast live on the Le Mans Radio Network, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. That same American Le Mans Series web site will also have live timing and scoring during qualifying and the race event.

The official Porsche web site -- www.porsche.com -- will have qualifying information on the 12 Hours at Sebring for all the Porsches entered, and will file stories and photos during and after the race. Porsche web site users should choose "North America" on the home page when prompted to choose a country, then choose "motorsports," then "motorsport news" to find the ALMS updates.

Other web sites that will follow the overall event include the American Le Mans site mentioned above, the ON TRACK ONLINE site, (www.ontrackonline.com), The Race Site (www.theRaceSite.com), the Speedvision site (www.speedvision.com), Motorsport.com (www.mo torsport.com) and the CompuServe site (www.motorsportsforum.com).

-Porsche

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Series ALMS
Drivers Dirk Müller , J.J. Lehto , Boris Said , Norman Simon , Emmanuel Collard , David Murry , Stéphane Ortelli , Anthony Lazzaro , Randy Pobst , Sascha Maassen , Lucas Luhr , Darren Law , Dick Barbour , Timo Bernhard , Phillip Peter , Patrice Goueslard , Jean-Luc Chereau , Mark Neuhaus , Dieter Quester , Johnny Mowlem , Alex Caffi , Fabio Babini , Alex Job , Vincenzo Sospiri , Rick Polk , Christian Menzel , Cort Wagner
Teams Larbre Competition , Alex Job Racing