Petersen/ White Lightning to Start Petit Enduro from Third on GT2 Grid BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 30, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class point leader, will start tomorrow's 10 hour/...
Petersen/ White Lightning to Start Petit Enduro from Third on GT2 Grid
BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 30, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class point leader, will start tomorrow's 10 hour/ 1,000 mile Petit Le Mans third on the class grid. Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) turned a lap of one minute, 22.515 seconds in the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in today's 25 minute qualifying session for the ninth race of the ten event ALMS season. Long will be joined by Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Craig Stanton (Long Beach, Calif.) behind the wheel of the No. 31 Porsche in the eighth annual Road Atlanta event. The Michael Petersen-owned team has won the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as well as the two most recent rounds on the ALMS schedule already this season and holds a 12 point lead in the driver championship and a two point lead in the team championship with 26 points available this weekend and an additional 23 markers at the season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 15th.
Long's lap on the 2.54-mile, 12 turn facility was the team's quickest of the weekend and positions the team strongly for the endurance event. Tomorrow's race will begin at approximately 11:20 AM (EDT) and will run into the night as the Petersen/ White Lightning team challenges for their fourth victory of the season and their first at the Petit Le Mans. A win at Saturday's race will place them as part of an elite group of sports car racing teams that have won two 24 Hours of Le Mans (the Dale White-managed team won in GT class in both 2003, 2004), the 12 Hours of Sebring (2005), the 24 Hours At Daytona (2001) and the Six Hours At the Glen (1998). The team has also had remarkable success in off-road racing where they have won four straight Baja 1000s and Baja 500 events. A victory would also be the third straight Petit title for Bergmeister and, while a first for Long and Stanton, each have earned podiums at the track before.
The Petit Le Mans can be seen live on SPEED, Saturday, October 1 beginning at 11 AM (EDT). Live timing and scoring for all sessions as well as the Petersen Paddock Cam presented by Firetide can be viewed at www.AmericanLeMans.com.
Mike Petersen, owner: "P3 [position three] is not exactly where we wanted to be but it's a fairly good spot to be in for the long race that is quickly approaching. Many, many things can happen. We're going to do what we've done all year and that's to go for the win; second-place is not really an option for us. We'll throw the dice down and see if we get Yahtzee."
Dale White, team manager: "This week is going pretty much to plan. We would have loved a pole position here but we are interested in the win. We've been focusing all of our time on getting the guys a car they can race fast for a full stint, hour after hour. The whole team is really focused, the drivers are working well together to get the right setup and I feel good about tomorrow. It's a long race and anything can happen, but the more things you plan for, the less 'luck' is required to do well."
Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "This is like a 10 hour sprint race. It isn't like you can take care of the car or anything like that. You have to push from the beginning to the end. Otherwise, you will just fall back and suffer. So we will just push like we did all season. I think we should have a good racecar. The car felt really good on used tires. I am pretty optimistic. We still need to work on it a little in the morning warm-up but I feel that we can run with the 23 and 24 cars. We'll try to be right there."
Patrick Long, driver: "I'm pretty happy with how qualifying went. I think we got the most out of the car that was there. Our focus, as always, was on the race setup because this is a long race. We'll know by the end of the first stint where everyone settles in. But, until then, our focus is on our own program and making sure we do the best that we can do. Everything else is in the hands of the race."
Craig Stanton, driver: "We've had a great two days on the track. It's great driving with Jorg and Patrick. They are two highly motivated, professional drivers. It's been fun to reunite with the team that I drove with the previous two years. It's a win-win situation all the way around for me. The weather's going to be good, there are a lot of fans here and I have a good feeling for the race. I want to thank Dale and Mike for the opportunity."
More on Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing can be found at www.PetersenMotorsports.com. Learn more about Porsche at www.Porsche.com.