Past Petit Le Mans Success Inspires Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing Significance of 10th Petit Not Lost on Dumbreck, Luhr and Muller BRASELTON, Ga., September 28, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing knows the ...
Past Petit Le Mans Success Inspires Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing
Significance of 10th Petit Not Lost on Dumbreck, Luhr and Muller
BRASELTON, Ga., September 28, 2007 - Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing knows the significance of the Petit Le Mans. The Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, Nev.) owned team is the two- time defending GT2 Champion of the 10 hour or 1,000 mile race around Road Atlanta. The October 6 race carries international importance as one of the majors of sports car racing alongside more veteran events like the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours At Daytona, 24 Hours of Nurburgring and the greatest of all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A victory guarantees not only an invitation to next year's Le Mans race but the right to add your name to the elite in sports car racing history. However, the weight of the event to the world is magnified ten-fold for the team behind the No. 31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT. To the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed program a victory would be a sign that the team is back in full stride after a season of starts and stops; that it has returned fulltime to the top of the GT2 ranks. The history of the team's success and a desire to win is the inspiration to the organization entering the penultimate race on the American Le Mans Series schedule.
Team drivers Peter Dumbreck (born in Scotland but living in Adderbury, England), Lucas Luhr (born in Koblenz, Germany but now living in Ermatingen, Switzerland) and Dirk Muller (a native of Germany now living in Monaco) all recognize the importance of the event to the team, to motorsports and to themselves. Luhr, who will be making his first Series start of the year at Petit, has taken the most green flags at Road Atlanta of the driver lineup with six starts. In that time he has claimed a GT2, then known as GT class, victory in 2002. He earned the LMP2 pole position here last year on his way to a podium finish. Muller also has one GT2 victory at Petit Le Mans, earned in the race's second running in 1999. He has started the race on Road Atlanta's 2.54-mile, 12 turn track three times with the most recent coming in 2001. While Dumbreck will be making his first start at Road Atlanta, as a student of the sport, he is keenly aware of the race's prestige and place in the history books.
The team will be celebrating its eighth start- every year since 2000- in the Petit's Tenth Anniversary run. In that time they have scored not only the two victories (2005, 2006) but a second ('02) and third-place ('04) as well. Only once has the team finished outside the top-ten or failed to finish the full distance- both came in 2003 after a first hour accident eliminated the two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans-winners.
Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing has used its Petit Le Mans titles to spur it to consecutive Driver and IMSA Cup Championships the last two seasons. That will not be the case this year as the team has been forced to overcome a number of issues resulting from on-track incidents. Despite having one victory (Salt Lake City) and a podium finish at the most recent race in Detroit, a quick Ferrari F430 GT- the team has sat on pole position three times and taken fastest race lap six times- and no mechanical failures or major pit stop snafus, the team finds itself fighting for third-place in the IMSA Cup and Team Championships. Injuries and scheduling conflicts have rotated too many drivers through the No. 31 to make a serious strike at the Driver Championship in '07. Therefore, it is the overall significance of a victory in this full-pace endurance race that drives every member of Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing. The goal for the last two races of the season- the schedule closes with the October 20th, four-hour Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca- is singular in nature, undeniable in its focus and inspiration: win.
Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "We are here to win. That is all that this is about. We aren't in the battle for the championship this year; we aren't fighting to give the drivers a title. We are here to win for the sake of winning. That is all we are coming to Atlanta to do. Then we will re-focus and go to Laguna with that as our only goal there."
Peter Dumbreck, Driver: "Petit Le Mans is gradually growing in stature and recognition. It is so much so that I know a lot of drivers from Europe that are very keen on joining the ALMS just for this race. As the race is 1,000 miles long there are a lot more factors involved than a normal sprint race. It's harder physically and mentally and you have to think more about not damaging the car. The winner is generally the car that had the fewest problems not necessarily the fastest. I expect that we as a team should be fast in Petit and have a good chance of winning. We have a very strong and experienced driver in Lucas joining Dirk and myself in Atlanta. I have a lot of faith in the team and respect for the work they do. The car has always been 100 percent every time I have left the pits. So, I look forward to the challenge of one of the main races of the year. I would love to be in a position, as I'm sure Dirk and Lucas would, to win the race and thank everyone at Petersen/White Lightning for their efforts this year."
Lucas Luhr, Driver: "I have to say that Petersen/White Lightning is a great team and it feels good to work with them. When you have fun you are strong. Petit is a good race track and also the distance is cool; not so long, not so short. I hope we can continue to the fourth win together in a row; and then the fifth!"
Dirk Muller, Driver: "I love Road Atlanta. I personally believe that our Ferrari will be suited very well to this awesome race track. It is great to have good teammates which I know. This makes the goal to win such a prestigious race much easier. Lucas and I had been leading the race for most of the time in 2000 but we couldn't get the win do to a gearbox problem. So we left something then that we really would like to get this year with Peter and the whole team. We just have to work as a team like before. With the great support from all the guys like Mike, Dale, Frank and all the mechanics we will be able to fight for the victory. 1999 was a really great victory which meant a lot to me. To win such a great race in your early career is unbelievable! To win it this year would mean a lot not only to me personally but because I think that we as a team are really deserving it after all the dramas we have had. The tenth anniversary would just be the krone on top of it."
The 10th Anniversary Petit Le Mans will start at 11:15 AM (ET) on Saturday, October 6 with live television coverage on SPEED Channel. The event can also be heard live on the American Le Mans Series Radio Web, available through the American Le Mans Series web site.