Tafel Racing announced Tuesday that it has signed Dirk MÃ¼ller to drive the team's No. 71 Ferrari F430 GTC in the 2008 American Le Mans Series season. The 32-year-old German will share the wheel of the GT2 entry with fellow countryman Dominik ...
Tafel Racing announced Tuesday that it has signed Dirk M?ller to drive the team's No. 71 Ferrari F430 GTC in the 2008 American Le Mans Series season. The 32-year-old German will share the wheel of the GT2 entry with fellow countryman Dominik Farnbacher.
M?ller made seven starts in the ALMS in 2007, driving for Petersen/White Lightning Racing. While not on this side of the Atlantic, he was busy competing in FIA GT Championship, where he landed the drivers' championship in the GT2 class in an AF Corse Ferrari. But now, his primary focus has shifted back stateside, with the goal of winning races and the taking the GT2 crown.
"I feel really good about this season," M?ller said. "After winning the FIA GT 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."
With joining Tafel Racing, M?ller is reunited with Tony Dowe, who was the team manager for Dick Barbour Racing in 2000 when he claimed his ALMS drivers' championship.
Last December, Tafel announced that Wolf Henzler would partner Farnbacher in the No. 71 entry, but Henzler later elected to opt out of his two-year contract with the team. With M?ller now signed, the team has secured its lead pair, with the lineup in the sister machine yet to be announced.
"The coming season is a big challenge for the whole team," said team owner Jim Tafel. "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."
M?ller and Farnbacher both got their first impressions of the 2008-spec F430 two weeks ago, at a shakedown at Ferrari's test track in Fiorano, Italy.
"I was really thrilled to shakedown the car together with Dominik," M?ller said. "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!"
Dowe commented: "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."
The team will have one car on-hand at next week's Sebring Winter Test, with the new duo being joined by Jim Tafel in the driver's seat.