ALMS: Defending Winners Among First Entries Received for 48th Annual 12 Hours at Sebring Presented by Dodge
Motor racing - 29 Feb 2000
Defending winner BMW Motorsport filed two entries to head a list of 20 cars among the first group of entries for the 48th annual Superflo 12 Hours at Sebring Presented by Dodge on March 18 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway to kick off the second American Le Mans Series season. BMW entered two BMW V12 LMRs, one to be driven by Formula One and CART veteran J.J. Lehto and Jorg Muller of Monaco, who teamed with Tom Kristensen of Denmark last year to post a 9.207-second victory in the closest finish ever in the nation's oldest road race. Also on the list of factory entries are the Panoz Motor Sports team in the prototype class and Corvette Racing and Viper Team Oreca in GTS. BMW's second mount will have Steve Soper of England, Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Jean-Marc Gounon of France in the seat in shifts over the 12-hour grind. Panoz is fielding a pair of Panoz LMP-1 Roadster S machines, one for Pierre Henri Raphanel of France and F-1 vets David Brabham of England and Jan Magnussen of Denmark. The other will be driven by Indianapolis 500 veteran Johnny O'Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., Hiroki Katoh of Japan and Klaus Graf of Germany. The privateer DAMS team also has entered two prototypes, Cadillac Northstar LMPs and has listed Eric Bernard and Emmanuel Collard of France in one and Christophe Tinseau of France and Marc Goossens of Belgium in the other. Corvette and Viper will square off to continue their battle of 1999 in the GTS ranks. Corvette will field two C5-Rs. Ron Fellows of Canada, "500" vet Chris Kneifel of Cave Creek, Ariz., and Justin Bell of England are listed in one and Andy Pilgrim of Cooper City, Fla., Kelly Collins of Corona del Mar, Calif., and Franck Freon of Linwood, N.J. in the other. Three Dodge Viper GTS-Rs are on the list. American Le Mans Series GTS driver champ Olivier Beretta and F-1 vet Karl Wendlinger of Monaco are paired. Tommy Archer of Duluth, Minn., and Marc Duez of Monaco are in a second and David Donohue of Malvern, Pa., and Jean-Philippe Belloc of France are in the third for Viper Team Oreca. In the GT class, Alex Job Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 R renews its battle with Prototype Technology Group's BMW M3s. The Job Porsche lists Bruno Lambert and Mike Conte of Seattle and Randy Pobst of Melbourne, Fla., as drivers. The PTG BMWs will have Boris Said of Carlsbad, Calif., F-1 vet Hans Stuck of Austria and Johannes van Overbeek of Danville, Calif., in one and Brian Cunningham of Danville, Ky., Peter Cunningham of West Bend, Wis., and Darren Law of Phoenix in the second. Other entries include: --Champion Racing's Lola B2K/10/Porsche prototype with Dorsey Schroeder of Little Torch Key, Fla., and Ralf Kelleners of Germany. --Dick Barbour Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 R with Dirk Muller and Lucas Luhr of Monaco and a second car with drivers to be named. --GT White Lightning Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 R with Dale White and Michael Petersen of Las Vegas. --Kyser Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 R with Kye Wankum, Greg Doff and Rudy Bartling of Canada. --GT RWS Motorsport's Porsche 911 GT3 R with Hans Jorg Hofer and Dieter Quester of Austria and Luca Riccitelli of Italy. Entries close next Wednesday with more than 50 expected. Official practice and qualifying open Wednesday, March 15 at the historic Sebring facility. Media Contact: Jan Shaffer, American Le Mans Series, (317) 388-8745, email firstname.lastname@example.org.