TEAM NEWS: Rahal Letterman Racing Hopes Steady Improvement Continues on Historic Streets of Long Beach

Photo by John Thawley Hilliard, Ohio ... If the adage "The Third Time is a Charm" applies to auto racing, Rahal Letterman Racing's Ralf Kelleners and Tom Milner should finish on top of the GT2 standings in the #18 Bell Micro Porsche when the checkered flag waves at the Grand Prix of Long Beach on Saturday afternoon. The duo eagerly anticipates racing on the challenging 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit one of the most historic street venues in the world as Long Beach plays host to the American Le Mans Series for the first time in its storied history on April 13-14 for the one hour, 40-minute event which begins at 4 p.m. PDT on Saturday.

In two previous American Le Mans Series starts this season Sebring (6th in GT2 Class) and most recently, St. Petersburg (8th in GT2 Class) where the team came from last on the starting grid (due to a practice accident) to second before clipping the Turn 11 wall the team of Kelleners and Milner has shown steady improvement and the ability to work together. Currently the RLR drivers hold fourth place in the American Le Mans Series GT2 Team Championship standings.

Kelleners, a 38-year-old native of Dinslaken, Germany, has professional sports car experience dating to the early 90s and has driven entries at Le Mans for Porsche and Toyota, and at Sebring and Daytona for Ferrari. Last season, he split his driving between the American Le Mans Series for Ferrari (3rd at Sebring), a one-off run in Grand-Am and a run in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring for BMW in Germany. Kelleners is a second-generation driver whose father, Helmut, was a three-time European Touring Champion.

"I look forward to racing on the streets of Long Beach. The course and city have so much tradition, it will be a very unique experience," said Kelleners. "With each race, Rahal Letterman Racing has made steady improvement and I would expect we would do the same this weekend. The race will be a sprint. This is not an endurance event. We've had a fast Bell Micro Porsche in the last two events and that will serve us very well in Long Beach. Tom and I both need to drive a smart, steady race to keep us in contention right from the start. I think that a podium finish is a very good possibility for the team."

Milner, a 21-year-old native of Washington, Virginia, joins RLR with two full seasons of sports car experience, including last season in the ALMS GT2 series, when he drove for Multimatic Motorsports and posted an impressive nine top-10 results in 10 races. Milner is the son of Team PTG owner Tom Milner and has spent his entire life in racing and around the family business of racing.

Rahal Letterman Racing - Track Talk:

Grand Prix of Long Beach "It is a very big deal for us to come to Long Beach to race this weekend," said Milner. "The track has so much history and the entire community gets behind the races. It will be historic to race in Long Beach and I think our Porsche is capable of putting us on the podium. This could be the shortest event in ALMS history eliminating pit strategy, making it a one-stop race. It will be a sprint race and we certainly proved in St. Petersburg that the Bell Micro Porsche is fast. Ralf and I like the car set up the same way, which will be key in Long Beach. With only a short practice before qualifying, we need to come out with a car we like. In St. Petersburg we learned the track quickly. It will be no different here. As a team, we have two races under our belts and we are working very well together to reach our goals. I made some mistakes in past race but know that based on St. Petersburg we have a car that can win the race."

Next: Grand Prix of Houston-April 21

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