European Porsche GT Regulars Add Aid, Competition to ALMS GR Title Chase for 7th Annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta this Weekend --With only two races remaining and only three points separating the top drivers for American Le Mans Series GT ...
European Porsche GT Regulars Add Aid, Competition to ALMS GR Title Chase for 7th Annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta this Weekend
--With only two races remaining and only three points separating the top drivers for American Le Mans Series GT championship, the ALMS GT Porsche teams have added the top European drivers to their teams for the ten-hour Petit Le Mans event this weekend at Road Atlanta -
BRASELTON, Georgia - September 23, 2004 - While Alex Job Racing's Timo Bernhard (113 points) battles Flying Lizard Motorsports teammates Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law (110 points each) for the ALMS drivers title, all the contending Porsche GT teams will have outside help to complete the ten-hour, 1000-mile Chevy presents Petit Le Mans event, scheduled for Road Atlanta on Saturday, September 25.
In addition to the group of GT drivers coming over from Europe to driver with the American teams, Cirtek Motorsport, a leading Porsche team in Europe, will contend for the Petit Le Mans GT victory with former Le Mans and Porsche Supercup champion Stephane Ortelli from Monaco and Christophe Bouchut from France, a multi-time FIA- GT champion.
"This field of cars and drivers not only showcases our Porsche 911 GT3 RSR race cars against the Ferrari and Esperante racers, but they give this race a status that rivals Sebring and Le Mans as an event for the world's best sports car drivers," said Uwe Brettel, president of Porsche Motorsport North America.
Although Alex Job Racing has a comfortable lead in the team championship, the Timo Bernhard/Jorg Bergmeister Alex Job Racing McKenna mail2web.com Porsche has only a three-point lead going into this weekend's event. The car has won 2004 ALMS events at Sebring, Infineon Raceway, Mosport and Raod America, although Bergmeister had to bow out of the Sebring event due to illness, so only Bernhard is in championship contention. Joining them this weekend is two-time defending ALMS GT co-champion Sascha Maassen, who also helped the car to its Sebring win.
The other Alex Job Porsche, driven by Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, who claimed victory at the ALMS event in Portland, fell back in the points at Mosport when an early race crash results in an 11th place finish - and no points. Their luck did not improve at
Road America when a broken axle also led to no points. 2004 Porsche Supercup champion Wolf Henzler from Germany, who surprised the Speed GT field with a win in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at Infineon Raceway in July, will be the car's third driver.
The #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will also feature a former Porsche Supercup champion, Patrick Huisman from The Netherlands. Huisman, who clinched the fourth of four straight Supercup championships at the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis in 2000, has driven at Petit Le Mans previously in a Viper. Huisman joins Lizard regulars Johannes van Overbeek and Darren Law, who trail Bernhard by only three points for the drivers title chase. Their position in the standings has come as a result of a win at Mid-Ohio, a fourth at Sebring, and podium finishes (second or third) at all the other events.
Flying Lizard Motorsports also has a second car, the #44 Porsche, driven by Seth Neiman, of Hillsborough, Calif., and Lonnie Pechnik, of Pacific Grove, Calif. They will be joined by former Formula Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty from San Franciso, who helped the team to a fourth place finish at Sebring.
The Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Porsche 911 GT3 RSR has been competitive all season, leading several races at the halfway point, and one race (Portland) with only ten minutes to go - but has yet to register a win. Drivers Craig Stanton and David Murry hope they can break through for their first win of the season. Earlier in the year, the car made its racing debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, when Sascha Maassen, Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long drove to the car to a GT class win.
The Racer's Group Porsche team, also with two 911 GT3 RSR cars entered, features Patrick Long and Cort Wagner at the helm of the lead car. They have been joined by Mike Rockenfeller, the German Porsche factory driver who is driving Porsche Carrera Cup and Supercup cars in Europe this year. Wagner, a former ALMS GT champion, and Long, the 22 year-old Porsche factory driver, who was recently on the winning GT team at Le Mans, are still looking for their first podium finish of the year. Long also led at Portland and Mosport for a time, but extra pit stops for mechanical ills and flat tires torpedoed their efforts for a top finish.
Pierre Ehret, from Santa Rosa, Calif., and veteran Phillip Collin, from Deerfield, IL, will drive the second The Racer's Group Porsche. They will be joined by Robert Neam, from London, England, who has driven for the team previously at Daytona.
BAM!'s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR also ran at Le Mans, and had a shot at the win before transmission problems sidelined their effort late in the race. Leo Hindery and defending ALMS GT co-champion Lucas Luhr will be joined by England's Adam Jones, who is a veteran of the FIA-GT series in Europe.
The J3 Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, based in Buford, GA, will be co-driven by Justin Jackson and Tim Sugden. Sugden, who had the J3 Racing Porsche in the lead for
almost two hours at Lime Rock, will be shooting to stay with the leaders again with Jackson at Petit Le Mans. They will be joined by Frenchman Xavier Pompadou.
Another local Atlanta Porsche team, Foxhill Racing, has entered the event, with Michael Cawley/Andrew Davis/Charles Espenlaub driving the 911 GT3 RS
After missing the Road America event, the British-based P.K. Sport Porsche is back in the field, with Ian Donaldson/Piers Masarati/Liz Halliday sharing the driving duties.
The Chevy presents Petit Le Mans will be televised live on The Speed Channel starting at 11:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, September 25 (races commences at noon).
The live broadcast will be aired 11:30 AM - 3:30 PM; 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM; and 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM plus a post-race show.