Petersen/White Lightning prep notes

Petersen/ White Lightning -- Preparation Mixes With Relaxation For LM GT Team LAS VEGAS, April 30, 2004 -- On Sunday, April 25th, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing set the fastest time in pre-qualifying for this year's 24 Heures...

Petersen/ White Lightning -- Preparation Mixes With Relaxation For LM GT Team

LAS VEGAS, April 30, 2004 -- On Sunday, April 25th, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing set the fastest time in pre-qualifying for this year's 24 Heures Du Mans. However, the Las Vegas-based race team is not sitting on that dominating success waiting for the June 12-13th sports car racing classic. Each member of the No. 90 Westward Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR is continuing preparation in their own way in the weeks leading up to the return to Le Mans, France. An event of this magnitude demands that nothing is left to chance and the schedule between now and the start of the race is nearly as grueling as the 24 hours itself. The effort is all being put forth to guarantee that the Michael Petersen-owned and White Lightning Racing-entered team takes the top-step of the podium in the 72nd running of the race.

Preparations for the 24 Heures Du Mans began even before the Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche set a new, unofficial, track record for the LM GT class (driver Jorg Bergmeister turned a lap of four minutes, 5.975 seconds around the 8.6-mile facility) on Sunday afternoon. The team's racing transporter-- brought from the United States where the team is a leading contender in the American Le Mans Series' (ALMS) GT class-- was immediately packed to be sent the next morning to Porsche's racing factory in Weissach, Germany. There, at 9 am Tuesday, several key members of Petersen/ White Lightning met to begin stripping and rebuilding the car for the twice around the clock race in June.

Those staying in Europe preparing the car include: team manager and entrant Dale White (Las Vegas), the team's administrative assistant and supplier liaison, Stefan Pfeiffer (Silo, Island Krk, Croatia), lead technician Kent Moore (Las Vegas), technicians Shawn Steele (Tampa, Fla.) and Dennis Chizma (Seattle, Wash.) as well as truck driver and team member Sam Andrus (Santa Clara, Utah). The group will go through the process of replacing every mechanical and suspension piece, performing an engine and gearbox change and a complete re-bodying of the familiar Porsche 911 shape. In fact, every piece that can be removed will be replaced and brought back to Le Mans to be staged as replacement parts in the garage in case of need during the race week. The only pieces that will remain as tested at Le Mans on the 25th will be the frame, the roof and the rear quarter panels of the bodywork. The car will remain in Weissach until being returned to garage 17 at the famous Circuit Des 24 Heures Du Mans on June 3rd. The team members, including White, will return to the States on May 26th for the Memorial Day holiday.

Pfeiffer will stay in his native Europe acquiring parts, supplies and working with Porsche and Michelin up until race week to ensure that Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing has everything it needs to go into battle. This includes everything from major components to everyday needs of the crew.

Bergmeister, of Langenfield, Germany, and fellow Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Oak Park, Calif.) each returned to Germany to continue their duties with Porsche. Long then flew home to his native California where he will stay until the race. Sascha Maassen (Raeren, Belgium), who missed the pre-qualifying session while on business with Porsche in the States, will join the team the week of the race to get his first taste of the Petersen/ White Lightning Porsche. All the drivers will continue their regular, rigorous physical training as well as media and sponsorship demands in the interim.

Due to the pressures associated with being a part of an event like the 24 Heures Du Mans, a key to preparation is relaxation. Each member of the team will spend at least a portion of the 'down' time before the race relaxing. Team owner and reserve driver Michael Petersen, of Las Vegas, oversaw the final loading of equipment onto the team's truck and then traveled by train to a villa off the coast of Barcelona, Spain. Petersen will remain in Spain overseeing his business interests in the United States as well as enjoying the rare opportunity to relax. Once back in Nevada, White will spend time with his family to help relax while continuing the organization of the Le Mans program. Pfeiffer will find his peace of mind on his motorcycle making the 1000 km journey through the Alps between his home and the Porsche factory. The crew will relax in a variety of ways from spending time with family to fishing, camping and working on their passenger cars. Most will also return to their respective jobs in the States.

The countdown clock to the finish of the 2004 24 Heures Du Mans will start at 16:00 (4 pm) local time on June 12.

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Series Le Mans
Drivers Sascha Maassen , Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Michael Petersen