Petersen/ White Lightning Looks to Carry Sebring Momentum To Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga., April 13, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing enters Sunday's Grand Prix of Atlanta with momentum on their side. The No. 31 Westward Ho...
Petersen/ White Lightning Looks to Carry Sebring Momentum To Road Atlanta
BRASELTON, Ga., April 13, 2005 -- Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing enters Sunday's Grand Prix of Atlanta with momentum on their side. The No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR opened the 2005 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class season with a dominating race victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (Fla.) winning the race by seven laps. The success at the famous endurance event, which also included the team's first GT2 pole position, put the Michael Petersen-owned team in the lead of the class point chase and drivers Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) in charge of the drivers' standings. More importantly, however, it has given the Las Vegas-based team momentum entering the remaining nine races of the ALMS season.
While just over a tenth of the duration of Sebring, the two hour and 45-minute "sprint" race at the north Georgia track continues to emphasize the importance of preparation, strategy and organization that Petersen/ White Lightning displayed in the season opening endurance race. It was just over Sebring's three-hour mark that the lightning bolt-liveried Porsche took the class lead for the remainder of the race proving that early strategy and attention to detail play key elements to taking the checkered flag first. Since entering the ALMS in 1999, the Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche has finished a remarkable 89 percent of its races, and 95% in the top-ten of its class. The car suffered no DNFs in 2004 on its way to six podium finishes in nine events and the GT (now GT2) 24 Hours of Le Mans title.
Road Atlanta's 2.54-mile road course is one of the sport's fastest tracks and is one of the most popular with fans, drivers and team members alike. Its 12, pine tree-lined turns and long straightaways echo the traditional European tracks on which Bergmeister and Long both fine-tuned their skills behind the wheel. The Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche-- the same car that won at Sebring and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, 2004-- will get its first laps on the track Friday, April 15th for testing. Practice and qualifying begin on Saturday while the final practice and race come on Sunday, April 17th.
Beginning Friday morning, ALMS fans around the world will have the opportunity to do something that, until now, they could only enjoy by visiting the track. The Grand Prix of Atlanta marks the debut of the "Petersen Motorsports Paddock Cam presented by Firetide" which will give real-time, full-color, images of the Petersen Motorsports paddock as the Sebring-winning crew prepares the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for competition. Visitors will be able to log-on to watch the one-of-a-kind 'show' at www.americanlemans.com, www.firetide.com and www.petersenmotorsports.com.
Live TV race coverage can be seen on CBS at 1 pm (ET), Sunday, April 17.
Michael Petersen, team owner: "Road Atlanta should be an interesting race. We are very much looking forward to getting the second race of the season underway and, hopefully, carrying some of the momentum from Sebring over to Road Atlanta. We got a good start on the points, privateer and GT2, at Sebring. We're looking for some success and good luck at Road Atlanta. We'll just see what happens. It has been a good track for us but it has also bitten us a few times."
Dale White, team manager: "Sebring gave us momentum into Atlanta. Now we have to keep that going into Mid-Ohio and into Le Mans. That isn't going to be easy because the competition is going to come back strong. We know that and we're looking forward to it. Some people may have seen our success at Sebring as an exception, not the rule. To our guys, Sebring was another sign that we are on the right track with the changes we've made over the last two seasons. We are coming out to prove that to everyone. We have an agenda and Road Atlanta is next on the list."
Jorg Bergmeister, driver: "I'm very excited to be back in Atlanta. This is one of my favorite tracks in the U.S. The downhill S's feel a little like the Nurburgring Nordschleife, my favorite track where I grew up driving in Germany."
Patrick Long, driver: "The only time I've been to Road Atlanta has been in the last two Petit Le Mans. So, it will be a little different running the shorter distance there. I really enjoy Road Atlanta. I think it is one of the most challenging tracks in America. The elevation changes, the surface changes and the high-speed corners; all three of those present themselves as big challenges on the track. The team is well prepared and the car is going to be even stronger than it was in Sebring. It's too early to play it safe, so I think this will let everyone know where everyone stands on pace for the short races."