2007 FIA GT Champ to Pilot No. 71 American Le Mans Series Ferrari F430 GTC with Dominik Farnbacher ATLANTA, JANUARY 22, 2008 - Tafel Racing has signed Ferrari factory driver Dirk Muller to pilot the No. 71 Tafel Racing Ferrari F430 GTC for the...
2007 FIA GT Champ to Pilot No. 71 American Le Mans Series Ferrari F430 GTC with Dominik Farnbacher
ATLANTA, JANUARY 22, 2008 - Tafel Racing has signed Ferrari factory driver Dirk Muller to pilot the No. 71 Tafel Racing Ferrari F430 GTC for the full American Le Mans Series season in 2008. Muller, the 2000 American Le Mans Series GT2 Class Champion, will share driving duties in the Tafel Racing machine with Dominik Farnbacher (Ansbach, Germany). Muller, the likable German who now calls Monaco home, has spent recent seasons successfully campaigning several European championships as a factory driver. In 2007, Muller helped give Ferrari and Michelin GT2 manufacturer titles on the way to his first FIA GT Series championship. He made seven starts in the American Le Mans Series last year, his first since 2001, while pursuing the FIA title. In his American Le Mans Series return, Muller had three fastest race laps and a podium finish at the Detroit Grand Prix driving a Ferrari F430 GT.
Muller will be greeted by several familiar faces when he premieres in the white, blue and silver Tafel Ferrari. His 2000 championship came at the wheel of a Tony Dowe (Cumming, Ga.) managed machine. Dowe is now the Technical Director for the two-car operation which is based close to the Road Atlanta circuit. Muller's most recent experience working with Tafel, Dowe and several other team members came at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2007.
Muller's eight American Le Mans Series victories include the 1999 Petit Le Mans and the 2000 12 Hours of Sebring. He has 34 GT2 (known as GT until 2005) class starts. The native of Burbach, Germany is eighth on the all-time list for fastest qualifiers with 13 Series pole positions. That distinction marks him as the leader in most career GT2 poles, winning at least one pole in each of his three full seasons of competition in the Series to-date. Muller's six pole positions in 1999 still ranks a class record. Those 1999 fastest laps came on the way to a string of eight consecutive class pole positions- dating from Infineon Raceway in 1999 to Silverstone in 2000- an American Le Mans Series record for any class.
Farnbacher drove for Tafel Racing in 2007 earning career high finishes of second in the last two races of the season. "Dom", as he is known on the team, was named to drive the No. 71 at the time the sophomore American Le Mans Series effort announced its move to the Ferrari F430 GTC in late 2007.
Muller, Farnbacher and Tafel will make the North American debut of the Tafel Racing Ferrari F430 GTC as part of the American Le Mans Series Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway, January 28-30. The 56th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring will open the 2008 American Le Mans Series season on March 15. The program had is first taste of the No. 71 at Ferrari's famous Fiorano test track in Italy on a rainy and cold day two weeks ago.
Dirk Muller, Driver, No. 71: About Joining Tafel Racing: "I feel really good about this season. After winning the FIA championship last year I have chosen to race with Tafel Racing in the ALMS in 2008. I am really looking forward to winning races with the team and to getting more pole positions. The whole team is very professional, which I like a lot. I know all the guys from the 24 Hours of Daytona last year. I have also raced against them last season. Knowing that, I have to say that I am very happy to race together with them in 2008. There is no doubt that we will win races. I am proud to be part of the team."
Muller About the Shakedown Run at Fiorano: "I was really thrilled to shakedown the car together with Dominik. To drive a brand new car first is always a big thing and I'd like to thank Tony for that. The car felt great and I am sure that the 430 is very hungry to win like Dominik, myself and the team!"
Jim Tafel, Team Owner: "The coming season is a big challenge for the whole team. Last year we had a good year by most team standards but, with Dirk and Dominik paired together, the level that we know we can attain is now within our reach. The whole team is committed to achieving the goals we have set ourselves; winning."
Tony Dowe, Technical Director: "After being invited to 'shakedown' our first car at the Ferrari test track at Fiorano, it left the whole team in no doubt as to why we are so excited to be running with Dirk and Dominik this season. I feel that the 'off-season' changes we have made to the team's driver lineup and technical staff will give us a real opportunity to challenge for the top step of the podium in the coming season. It's so good to be working with drivers of this caliber."