Utah: VICI Racing preview

T-MOBILE® VICI RACING UTAH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW Miami, Florida - Following an excellent start to the new partnership between T-Mobile USA and VICI Racing on the streets of Long Beach two-and-a- half weeks ago, the action now moves on to the next...

T-MOBILE® VICI RACING UTAH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Miami, Florida - Following an excellent start to the new partnership between T-Mobile USA and VICI Racing on the streets of Long Beach two-and-a- half weeks ago, the action now moves on to the next round of the American Le Mans Series and the completely different challenge exposed by the high- speed, high-altitude Millar Motorsports Park in dry and dusty Utah. In the cockpit of the #18 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (2008) for the Utah Grand Prix will be Nicky Pastorelli and Johannes Stuck.

T-Mobile® VICI Racing kicked off its challenge in the 2009 ALMS at Long Beach last month with an excellent fourth place finish. Following a compromised qualifying performance, Richard Westbrook, making his first start for the team and his first start at Long Beach, was left with the task of fighting his way past the factory-supported BMW entries on the tight and twisting city streets where overtaking is next to impossible. However the #18 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR clearly had a better pace and some skilful driving by the Englishman meant he was able to muscle his way past and hand the car over at mid-distance to team-mate Johannes Stuck, also making his debut on this track, who was able to control the gaps and bring the car safely home. It was the first race for the team on Michelin tires and also yielded the first silverware of the year as the "Founders Cup" was handed over for the best performance by a privateer entry.

With this race out of the way the team raced home to begin a scheduled move into a new race shop and prepare the #18 car for the next race, the Utah Grand Prix, which means another trek across the country from the team's long-standing home in Miami, Florida. The Miller Motorsports Park is just 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City in Tooele, Utah, and next week will be the fourth visit by the ALMS series to this purpose-built track that opened only in April 2006. Last year for the first time, the ALMS teams raced on the blindingly quick, 15-turn, 3.05-mile 'perimeter' course, and this year this configuration will be used again. This track is around 4,500 feet above sea level, and gets very hot and dry in the day, adding more variables to the equation.

Last year was the inaugural year in the ALMS for VICI Racing and Utah was also the first time it ran two cars. Both cars were classified in the top 10 at the end of a tough race and the team will look to build on this experience next week. From its driver roster T-Mobile® VICI Racing will line up Nicky Pastorelli and Johannes Stuck in the #18 car for this challenge. Nicky, who resides in Rijswick in the Netherlands, will be racing for the first time this year for the team, having participated in its spring test programme. The 26-year-old former official F1 Test Driver for the Jordan and Midland teams will be starting his third year for VICI Racing and his experience in last year's Utah Grand Prix makes him the ideal choice to lead the line-up in the #18 car. He will be joined by Johannes Stuck, fresh from his debut with the team at Long Beach. It will be another new track for the 22-year-old who resides in Mauren, Lichtenstein, but he very quickly got to grips with his first visit to Long Beach and the Miller Motorsports Park should suit him more.

-credit: vr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Nicky Pastorelli , Richard Westbrook , Johannes Stuck