Sears Point: KnightHawk Racing preview

KnightHawk flies from France To California. May 15, 2002, Road Atlanta, GA - In order to compete in the Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters on Sunday, May 19, KnightHawk Racing has flown their MG Lola and the entire KnightHawk crew from Le...

KnightHawk flies from France To California.

May 15, 2002, Road Atlanta, GA - In order to compete in the Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters on Sunday, May 19, KnightHawk Racing has flown their MG Lola and the entire KnightHawk crew from Le Mans, France to Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California.

The car and crew were at Le Mans ten days ago for the 24 Hours of Le Mans Preliminary Practice Session, where the KnightHawk MG Lola passed through the L'Automobile Club De L'Ouest's scrutineering on Friday, May 3, and hit the legendary circuit on Sunday, May 5, for an all-day practice session.

The transporting of an entire racing team, with racecar and support equipment from France to California is no small challenge -- accomplishing this within a short period of time can be a logistical nightmare.

KnightHawk is just one of many American Le Mans Series teams that are competing in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Sears Point Race. As a privateer team, with only one car, the team did not have the opportunity to field a second car at Sears Point -- while keeping a car at Le Mans. The team has made a serious commitment to garnering the LMP 675 class championship -- and therefore cannot afford to miss even one of this season's ten races.

Nonetheless, it was not seen by the team as something they "had" to do, but rather something they "wanted" to do. The Sears Point track is well-liked by both team owner/drivers Steve Knight and Mel Hawkins and their attitude is that, as a racing team, they face challenges every day, even more so on race day, and the logistics of participating in the Le Mans practice on May 5, and competing at Sears Point on May 19, simply presented yet another challenge to be met -- and met gladly.

The car, along with support equipment packed in flight cases, was picked up at Le Mans on Tuesday, May 7 by Firstair Worldwide Logistics Ltd., an international freight forwarding company based in England -- and the current appointed agent for the ALMS.

The specialty cargo was taken to Firtsair's offices at London's Heathrow airport, where Firstair's in-house customs-linked computers facilitated customs entry and clearance, in addition to increased inspection and scrutiny following the 9/11 tragedy. This process took approximately two days -- after which the cargo left on a direct flight to San Francisco on the same flight as its "big brothers" -- the Panoz LMP 900's. The KnightHawk crew left Le Mans on Wednesday, May 8, bound for the team's base at Road Atlanta for just a few short days before boarding yet another flight to San Francisco.

The Firstair flight arrived safely at the San Francisco Airport and once again went through an extensive customs clearance. The crew's flight landed safely as well, and were reunited with the car and the support equipment this morning, Wednesday, May 15, at Sears Point -- just a few short days since leaving Le Mans.

The team is now in the process of final preparations for the race this Sunday, when immediately following the race the car, the crew and the equipment will be transported back to the KnightHawk base at Road Atlanta for a few short weeks of intense preparation for departure once again -- to the 70th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The 4th annual Grand Prix of Sonoma presented by Fosters is also the fourth appearance by the ALMS at the Sears Point Circuit. The track is well-known for its 12-turn 2.52 mile configuration and will be an excellent test of driving skills for this 2 hour, 45 minute timed event. Mel Hawkins, Steve Knight and Chad Bloc will share driving duties for the pre-summer classic.

The race can be seen live on the SPEED Channel beginning on Sunday, May 19 at 1:00pm PDT. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web, at www.imsaracing.net, will present two broadcast sessions - a two-hour qualifying session broadcast on Saturday from Noon -- 2pm PDT and a live race broadcast on Sunday from Noon -- 4pm PDT.

Additional information on the Sears Point event is available to you at www.searspoint.com. Information on KnightHawk Racing can be garnered at www.knighthawkracing.com and on the team's third driver, Chad Block, at www.chadblock.com.

-khr/hc-

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About this article
Series ALMS , Le Mans
Drivers Chad Block , Steve Knight