TEAM NEWS: Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Builds New Ferrari F430 in Time for Long Beach

Photo by John Thawley LONG BEACH, Calif., April 12, 2007 -- Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing did what many thought would be impossible; they built a new Ferrari F430 GT from tub to race car in less than three days. Sam Andrus (St. Gerorge, UT) pulled into the paddock at approximately 10:30 (PT) this morning towing the freshly built No.31 MMPIE/PAWS/Petersen Holdings/Michelin Ferrari F430 GT in the trailer behind him. There to greet Andrus was the crew that spent the last three days building the car from a bare chassis to finished, race-ready machine. Along with the team, numerous bystanders, well-wishers and disbelievers stood watching in amazement as the fully decaled and race-ready Michael Petersen (Las Vegas, NV) owned Ferrari was unloaded in the Long Beach Grand Prix paddock. The team is now ready to race in Saturday's one hour and 40 minute American Le Mans Series event.

The team convened at the team's shop in Pahrump. Nev. and began three-days of 24 hour workdays. Working in 16 hour shifts the crew disassembled the car totaled in a wreck at St. Petersburg, Fla. on March 31 and built the new car. Andrus left for the six hour drive this morning. The first obstacle of arriving at the track not only met but surpassed, the Dale White (Bozeman, MT) managed moved to its second, technical inspection. The team entered inspection within two hours of arriving at the track, bettering their goal by four hours. The first inspection yielded only two very minor infractions; a faulty "IMSA Light" system- the three lights on the each side of the car that designate a top-three running position- and a rear bumper that was mounted too-far inboard. These issues were quickly resolved and the Dennis Chizma (Las Vegas) led crew was cleared through on its second inspection.

Drivers Tim Bergmeister (Langenfeld, Germany) and Dirk Muller (a native of Germany, living in Monaco)-- who is filling-in for regular team driver Tomas Enge (a native Czech who also lives in Monaco) at the next two races-- will take the car on track for the first time at 9 AM Friday morning. The 45-minute session will lead into a 25-minute qualifying session at 3:55 PM.


Dale White, Team Manager/Entrant: "These guys did an awesome job. I can't begin to explain just how hard this was. Three days to put together a whole car is unbelievable. Our goal was to get the car to the paddock and finish it Thursday, even miss the Friday practice if we had to. Our best case scenario was to finish the car and make tech [technical inspection] by 5 PM today. When they unloaded the car from the trailer, with it all stickered and ready to go, I think it really was the first time that everyone realized what the guys had done. It is moments like this that you really learn what a team is made of and I am really proud to be associated with this group."

A day-by-day timeline of events:

* Saturday, March 31- Tomas Enge crashes at approximately the two hour mark of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. By midnight, the team had reviewed the damage and catalogued the parts on the damaged machine. The two-race old car is deemed "totalled".

* Sunday, April 1- Team manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT) orders a replacement tub (body and frame) and all the needed replacement parts for the driver's side of the Ferrari F430 GT from Michelotto Automobili in Italy. The team packs the transporter for its return to Nevada, visits Enge in the hospital.

* Monday, April 2- Michelotto working on final assembly of tub. Transporter travelling to shop.

* Tuesday, April 3- Michelotto paints tub. Transporter travelling to shop.

* Wednesday, April 4- Transporter arrives at the team's shop in Pahrump, Nevada. Michelotto does final, general preparation of tub.

* Thursday, April 5- Team of Dennis Chizma (crew chief) Nico Castellaccio, Dave Clark and Drew Cushman begin to tear-apart the damaged machine to salvage what parts can be re-used.

* Friday, April 6- Damaged F430 GT is totally disassembled, preparation of parts to be installed on new tub begins.

* Saturday, April 7- New tub departs Michelotto factory in Padova, Italy by plane to Los Angeles, Calif. Remaining crew of technicians arrive at team shop.

* Sunday, April 8- New tub, in white, arrives at Los Angeles International Airport in the morning, clears customs in late afternoon. Sam Andrus drives the tub from LAX to Pahrump, approximately a five hour drive without traffic. Team begins work as soon as it arrives.

* Monday, April 9- New tub begins to make transformation into car on the right side. Team is awaiting parts shipment that has been held two days due to airline problems. All the replacement parts for the driver's side of the car are in this shipment.

* Tuesday, April 10- Passenger side of car nearing completion, parts arrive for the driver side.

* Wednesday, April 11- Team continues the thrash to build a whole new car from scratch. Get as far as possible before loading the transporter for an early morning departure to Long Beach. It will take Andrus approximately six hours, with the expected traffic, to arrive in Long Beach.

* Thursday, April 12- Andrus arrived in Long Beach at approximately 10:30 AM (PT). The team unloaded, set-up the trailer-area and did minor finishing touches to the car. It entered IMSA Technical inspection at approximately noon. Corrected two minor infractions found in the initial inspection and re- entered IMSA scrutineering at approximately 3 PM. Earned its competition sticker.

* Friday, April 13- The No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing Ferrari F430 GT is scheduled to make its first on-track run at 9 AM, qualifying at 3:55 PM.

The Grand Prix of Long Beach will start at 4:05 PM (PT), Saturday, April 14. The race can be seen on a tape-delay on SPEED Channel later that evening at 8 PM (ET), 5 PM (PT).


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