Munich. Austrian driver Karl Wendlinger (32) will be joining Team BMW Motorsport in October for the 'Petit Le Mans' endurance race held at Road Atlanta in the US state of Georgia. The seasoned sports car racer and former Formula 1 driver will be...
Munich. Austrian driver Karl Wendlinger (32) will be joining Team BMW Motorsport in October for the 'Petit Le Mans' endurance race held at Road Atlanta in the US state of Georgia. The seasoned sports car racer and former Formula 1 driver will be the third man at the wheel of the BMW M3 GTR next to the established duo of JJ Lehto (FIN) and Jörg Müller (D).
The race on this very challenging circuit will cover 1,000 miles or a maximum of ten hours and is one of the seasonal high points of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Wendlinger has competed twice before in this long-distance race, winning the GTS class in 1999. Last year his team held the lead for a long time and, despite a technical problem, finished fourth in their category.
"I had the opportunity to test the BMW M3 GTR and was very impressed," said the new team member from Kufstein in the Tyrol. "I'm really looking forward to driving this car at Road Atlanta. JJ and Jörg are strong partners and the Team is known for its good strategies and fast pit stops, which are crucial factors in an endurance race."
Karl Wendlinger lives in Monte Carlo with his wife Sophie and two children. His first major international triumph was winning the German Formula 3 Championship in 1989. He gleaned his experiences in endurance racing early on, gaining podium places in 1990 and 1991 for Mercedes in the Sports Car World Championship as the team-mate of Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
From 1992 to 1995 he was a Formula 1 driver for March and Sauber. His best results out of 42 Grands Prix were three fourth-place finishes. Following a serious accident during practice in Monte Carlo in 1994, his Formula 1 involvement in 1995 was limited to six races.
In 1996 and 1997 he competed in touring car events for Audi before switching to a Chrysler Viper with which he became runner up in the 1998 FIA GT Championship and clinched an early title in 1999. The 1999 ALMS saw him come second in his class. Last year he claimed outright victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) in a Dodge Viper, along with the GTS title in the ALMS. 2001 sees Karl Wendlinger contesting the V8 Star series.