Petersen/ White Lightning Makes Runway Blast Before 24 Hours LE MANS, France, June 12, 2004 - The LM GT class pole position-winning Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing made a late visit to the nearby Le Mans airport for an...
Petersen/ White Lightning Makes Runway Blast Before 24 Hours
LE MANS, France, June 12, 2004 - The LM GT class pole position-winning Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing made a late visit to the nearby Le Mans airport for an installation test Friday night. Team driver Jörg Bergmeister, of Langenfield, Germany, turned several laps on the runways of the nearby, small craft airfield to test control systems of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The Michael Petersen-owned and Dale White-managed team performed a complete engine change and switched from the standard six-speed transmission to Porsche's new sequential gearbox for the 72nd running of the 24 Heures Du Mans. The mating of the new gearbox to the Porsche flat-six cylinder "boxer" engine is required to utilize the system. The sequential transmission, which has had extensive development and run shorter race distance with much success, has never run 24 hours in competition. Porsche's sequential gearbox allows the driver to switch gears without the clutch and with just a forward and back motion rather than the traditional "H-pattern" of a gated transmission. The test laps, witnessed by several representatives of Petersen/ White Lightning, Porsche and an ever-growing crowd of interested airport patrons, requires the gearbox software to 'read' the engine's characteristics to operate at peak levels. Bergmeister turned a handful of laps reaching speeds in excess of 180 mph in the No. 90 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ mail2web.com/ Michelin Porsche before returning the car to the make-shift paddock outside the airport terminal. Satisfied with the car's performance, the crew returned the No. 90 to the garage through the main entrance of the historic track to the delight of the massive crowd gathering for the 4 pm start of tomorrow's race.
Stefan Pfeiffer, crew chief: "The airport run was a double-check of the work we did on the engine and the gearbox. No one has ever run this [sequential] gearbox for this long and it is a pretty big risk to do a 24 hour race on it. Everything is fresh so we wanted to make sure there were no leaks and to mate the gearbox with the engine. Since the guys did an awesome job, there were no leaks and no mechanical issues. Now it is up to the drivers and the crew. We have done all the preparation we can do. Everyone was pretty tired and getting burned-out but everyone is just really focused. I am very impressed with the way people are getting together all of their strength and minds to do what they are doing right now. I'm very proud that I am allowed to be a part of this."
For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com.