Petersen/White Lightning 24 hour pre-test preview

Petersen/ White Lightning Set For Le Mans Pre-Test LE MANS, France, April 24, 2004 -- With the Test Day for the 72nd Annual 24 Heures Du Mans just one day away, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing has completed preparations for the...

Petersen/ White Lightning Set For Le Mans Pre-Test

LE MANS, France, April 24, 2004 -- With the Test Day for the 72nd Annual 24 Heures Du Mans just one day away, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing has completed preparations for the first laps turned by the team's new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at Le Mans. Jorg Bergmeister (Langenfield, Germany), Patrick Long (Oak Park, Calif.) and Michael Petersen, (Las Vegas, Nev.) will pilot the Porsche in tomorrow's two, four hour sessions. Petersen will replace Sascha Maassen (Raeren, Belgium) at Sunday's test. Maassen, the lead driver of last year's LM GT class winning Porsche, will return for the race on June 12-13. The No. 90 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR underwent preliminary testing at Sebring International Raceway prior to the 12 Hours of Sebring. It was then transported to Europe where it under-went testing at an undisclosed facility before being shipped to Le Mans.

Test day is the culmination of a week of preparation at the Circuit Des 24 Heures Du Mans for the Las Vegas-based race team. The eight hours of testing provide a good opportunity for the team to experiment with ideas for the RSR, finalize Michelin Tire choices and familiarize the drivers with the famous Le Mans layout. It will be Long's first experience on the track in a sports car and he must complete ten laps for Automobile Club De l'Ouest (ACO) officials to clear him to compete in the 24 Hours. Petersen will be making his second appearance here while Bergmeister has run two previous events at Le Mans.

The day also brings a unique set of challenges as the team will be testing not only the RSR but a new rear tire size as well. Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing will be pioneering Michelin's new, taller rear tire as they make the switch from the 27 68 18 Michelin Pilot to a 28 71 18. The newer Pilot increases the tire height by 30 mm, 1.2", mandating changes to the bodywork, suspension and setup of the Porsche.

Mike Petersen, team owner/ driver: "From a team owner's standpoint it's important to get the car setup for the race pace. Every time we go on the track we always want to be at the top of the LM GT class. But, ultimately we will be diligently working on getting a very easy to drive and quick race car. With the preparation that has gone on, and the talented skills of the drivers we, as a team, expect nothing less. The track for me is still a steep learning curve as I am here to not only drive the track but to ultimately duplicate our podium position from last year with my team and fellow drivers. We're ready for the show to begin so let's get on with it."

Jorg Bergmeister: "I will start and see how the car feels. If everything is OK mechanically then we will see how the track is. If the track is OK then we can start with doing the set-up. If not, then we will have to wait a little. Then Patrick will jump in and hopefully learn the track fast, which is not easy here because the track is so long. And then, at some point, maybe we will do some qualifiers; which is what I would like to do because that is so much fun. We are basically working for race setup so we will try to have a good car for a whole stint. I think that is the key, to be fast on the race stint."

Patrick Long: "The plan is for Jorg to go shake-down the car and, once he is done with that, I will look at that as my biggest window of opportunity to get mileage. I will focus on getting consistent and familiar with the track and just soak it all up and maybe jump back in in the late afternoon. Once I have done all of that I feel pretty confident that I will be fully prepared. It is kind of a low pressure situation for me because Jorg has been pretty quick in the previous pre-qualifying sessions and he is going to be doing the majority of the high-pressure set-up runs."

Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing began operation as an off-road team in the 1980s winning over 50 truck victories, including three-consecutive overall wins at the Baja 1000, and multiple championships. Since beginning sports car racing, the duo of Michael Petersen, team owner, and Dale White, team manager, have scored victories in the ALMS, the Trans-Am Series, Speed Challenge Series and endurance sports car wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Alex Job Racing, Watkins Glen and at the Rolex 24 of Daytona.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Sascha Maassen , Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Alex Job
Teams Alex Job Racing