Penske Racing Adds Third RS Spyder to Petit Le Mans Lineup

September 16, 2008

ATLANTA (September 16, 2008) - The crown jewel of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) has always been the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and the 11th running of this race on Saturday, October 4 will bring together some of Porsche’s most successful race cars to help battle for the LMP2 class driver’s and manufacturer’s titles. 

With the 503 horsepower DHL Penske Porsche RS Spyder, defending Petit Le Mans and 2007 year-end LMP2 class title-holders Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) will tackle the 1,000 mile/10 hour Petit Le Mans classic holding a slim four-point lead over the David Brabham/Scott Sharp Acura rivals. On the traditional Road Atlanta circuit, their aim is to keep their pursuers at a distance and take another step towards defending their title at the penultimate race of the season.

”This race is one of the greatest challenges of the year," said Timo Bernhard, who has already celebrated three class wins with Porsche on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn “roller coaster” circuit northeast of Atlanta. “Our aim is to earn as many points as possible to secure a good position for the final. But will certainly not be easy.”

For the first time in the ALMS, Penske Racing will enter three RS Spyders, all with the new direct fuel injection engine. Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas are entered in the No. 7 machine, while Sascha Maassen (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) share the No. 6 car. A third Penske Porsche RS Spyder, the No. 5, will be co-driven by the Team Penske IndyCar Series drivers Ryan Briscoe (Australia) and Helio Castroneves (Brazil).

Briscoe claimed runner-up honors in the ALMS in 2007 driving an RS Spyder as a Porsche factory pilot, and was the 2007 ALMS Rookie of the Year.  For Team Penske, he finished the 2008 IndyCar Series season fifth overall after scoring two race wins, five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. Castroneves, only the fifth driver in the history of the Indianapolis 500 to win that classic race in back-to-back events (2001 and 2002), finished second in the IndyCar Series this year, with two wins and 15-top five finishes.  Castroneves has won at least one race in each of the last eight seasons, an IndyCar Series record.

Behind the pit wall, members of Team Penske's successful IndyCar Series squad will be in action during the race servicing the No. 5 car.

Emmanuel Collard (France), winner of this year's Sebring 12 hour race together with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas, will be entered and will qualify to run in all three Penske cars in order to be able to support the team as a third driver, should it be necessary.

“By running a third RS Spyder, Penske Racing adds extra suspense to the series just in the closing stages of the season,” said Porsche head of motorsport Hartmut Kristen. “Five  RS Spyders in one race (Penske plus two additional competitors) – that's another highlight for the American Le Mans Series, which has reached a level of performance that matches any international comparison. Here, the fans see some of the best motor sport in the world. We are hoping an additional RS Spyder entry will help put points on the board for Porsche in our quest for the championship.”

Porsche trails Acura by four points in the LMP2 manufacturer’s title chase, and there are four Acuras entered in the Petit Le Mans event.  In the manufacturers race, on the top-finishing car from each manufacture can score points. Besides the Sebring 12 Hours, the Petit Le Mans event is the race where the most points can be earned - and this is exactly what the reigning champions hope to achieve.

The Petit Le Mans Race starts on Saturday, October 4 at 11:15 a.m. EDT, and runs over a distance of 1,000 miles or a maximum duration of ten hours.  SPEED TV will televise the entire race live, and the radio broadcast can be heard online at