ATLANTA -- June 11, 2004 -- The Las Vegas-based Petersen/White Lightning Racing team, which partnered with Alex Job Racing to win the GT class at Le Mans last year, has taken the first step to defending their title -- the pole position with their...
ATLANTA -- June 11, 2004 -- The Las Vegas-based Petersen/White Lightning Racing team, which partnered with Alex Job Racing to win the GT class at Le Mans last year, has taken the first step to defending their title -- the pole position with their brand new Po rsche 911 GT3 RSR for Saturday's motorsport event on the famous 13.65 km (8.6 miles) French circuit.
Ultilizing the experience of defending two-time American Le Mans Series champion Sascha Maassen (Raeren, Belgium), who turned the pole-setting time in the final qualifying session on Thursday, car owner Mike Petersen has put together a team that includes J org Bergmeister (Langenfield, Germany), two-time Daytona 24-hour champion, and Le Mans rookie Patrick Long (Oak Park, Calif.).
Maassen's pole-setting effort was more than a second faster than the second-position Ferrari 360 Modena of J. Melo/S. Daoudi/J.de Fournoux.
Third on the grid for tomorrow's event, which starts at 4:00 PM local time (10:00 AM EDT) is the newly-formed British American Motorsport (BAM!) YES Network Porsche 911 GT3 RSR team of Leo Hindery (New York, NY), Marc Lieb (Leipzig, Germany), and Le Mans r ookie Mike Rockenfeller (Neuwied, Germany), which is partnering with Orbit Racing for the Le Mans event. Orbit, with Hindery, Peter Baron and Lieb at the wheel of their Porsche last year, finished second to the Petersen/Job car at Le Mans in 2003. It was Rockenfeller, overcoming suspension problems during the first qualifying session, who turned the final qualifying lap time to put the Orbit/BAM! Porsche in position for the race.
The other American Porsche team is the Sonoma, Calif.-based The Racer's Group, with drivers Lars Nielsen, Gregor Fisken, and Ian Donaldson, qualified 14th on the GT grid. The Racer's Group, owned by two-time Daytona 24 Hour champion and 2002 Le Mans GT wi nner Kevin Buckler, is back at Le Mans for its third straight year, will also contest the entire American Le Mans Series with its Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Built at Porsche Motorsport in the Research and Development Department at Weissach, the Porsche 911 GT3 R finished 1-2 in class at Le Mans in 1999, and has won its class in both the Grand Am and American Le Mans Series on multiple occasions. The car has a lso won its class five years in a row at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
More than 200 Porsche 911 GT3 R/RS/RSR racecars have been sold so far worldwide, with almost half of those cars having raced in the U.S.
Based on the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS street car for sale in Europe, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR features improvements to its predecessor in all key areas. The vehicle is available in an ACO (Automobile Club de l`Ouest) version for competing in Le Mans and in th e American Le Mans Series as well as in a FIA specification.
The 911 GT3 RSR features a modified front, which improves down force at the front axle. Its 3.6-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine delivers 445 hp at 8,250 revs. maximum torque is now 405 Nm at 7,200 rpm, with top revs reached at 8,500 (for the FIA specification with two 30.8 mm air restrictors). New pistons and rods as well as a new valve gear result in a moderate power increase with the focus on further-improved drivability and durability.
A six speed sequential gearbox with ignition cut ensures quick gearshifts at full throttle and offers reliable protection of the gearbox from gear-shifting mistakes.
The suspension, with McPherson struts in the front and the Porsche multi-link axle at the rear, features new kinematics thanks to new wheel-uprights and modified mounting points. Further improved turning in and reduced tire wear are the most obvious result s of these modifications. The double springs adjustable to four settings, the adjustable shock absorbers and anti-roll bars as well as unibal joints ensure a precise set-up to suit each circuit.
The brake system features four-piston aluminum calipers on all wheels with discs measuring 380 mm diameter in the front and 355 mm at the rear. Weighing 1,100 kgs (FIA specification) or 1,115 kgs (ACO spec) the 911 GT3 RSR sits at the minimum weight limit. Porsche offers various kits for different competition purposes.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be telecast live in the United States by The Speed Channel, which will provide 21 hours of coverage starting at 9:30 AM EDT.
Racing fans who have access to the web can hear the entire event on Le Mans Web Radio at www.lemans.org, while Porsche fans can find updates on the GT class at www.porsche.com/motorsport.
LM GT Qualifying
1 - Sascha Maasen/Jorg Bergmeister/Patrick Long/ White Lightning Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR - 4m07.394s
2 -- J. Melo/S. Daoudi/J.de Fournoux, JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena, 4m08.484s
3 - Leo Hindery/Marc Lieb/Mike Rockenfeller, BAM! Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4m09.079s
4 - Ralf Kelleners/Stephane Ortelli/Romain Dumas, Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 4m10.011s
5 - Gabrio Rosa/P. van Merkstein/Alex Caffi, Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4m11.490s
6 - H.Kurosawa/K.Nishizawa/M.Oriodo Choroq Racing Team Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 4m12.949s
7 -- I.Khan/N.Smith/T.Sugden, Thierry Perrier Porsche 911 GT3 RS, 4m13.009s
8 -- B.Berridge/M.Caine/C.Stockton, Chamberlain -- Synergy Motorsport TVR Tuscan 400R, 4m13.368s
9 -- Tom Burgess/Phillip Collin/Andrew Bagnall, Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RS, 4m13.943s
10. Luc Alphand/C. Laveille/P. Almeras Luc Alphand Adventures Porsche 911 G3 RS, 4m14.785s
11 -- R. Wilson/F. Mountain/H.Hugenholtz, Team Cirtek Motorsport, Ferrari 360 4m18.768s
12 -- A. Vasiliev/N. Fomenko/R. Nearn, Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 4m18.973s
13 - L.Tomlinson/N.Greensall/G.Evans Chamberlain-Synergy Motorsport TVR Tuscan 400R, 4m19.980s
14 - Ian Donaldson/Gregor Fisken/Lars Nielsen, The Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS, 4m20.010s
15 -- D. Warnock/J. Matthews/P. Daniels, PK Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4m21.277s
16 -- A. Sharpe/S.Hyde/N.Cunningham, Morgan Aero 8, 4m24.080s