Rahal names Kelleners and Milner
Drivers Ralf Kelleners and Tom Milner are set to pilot Rahal Letterman's Porsche in the famed team's initial effort in the American Le Mans Series for the 2007 GT2 class. The Ohio-based team is one of three GT2 squads that will compete with the new Porsche 997 RSR race car.
Rahal Letterman will debut its Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March. The team hopes to take delivery of the car in the coming days but not in time to have it prepared for the third annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test on January 22-24 at Sebring International Raceway.
"In Ralf and Tom I think we have found a combination of experience and potential that will serve as an excellent foundation for our Porsche GT2 entry," said Rahal Letterman co-owner Bobby Rahal. "We had a lot of interest in these opportunities from drivers in the American Le Mans Series and from other series. I feel strongly that in a first-year program it is important to have a level of familiarity in the program with the series and the competitors. Our drivers will set the tone for our program and they will certainly have a wealth of input in our on-track efforts in 2007. Nobody at RLR is underestimating the enormity of the task that competing in GT2 will comprise."
Rahal has a storied history in sports cars, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1987 in a Porsche 962 and the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Porsche 935.
Kelleners, a 38-year-old native of Dinslaken, Germany, has professional sports car experience dating back to the early 1990s and has driven factory entries at Le Mans for Porsche and Toyota, and for Ferrari at Sebring and Daytona. He made two starts last season with Risi Competizione and its Ferrari 430 GT Berlinetta with a class pole and fastest GT2 race lap at Petit Le Mans. Kelleners also placed third in class with Risi at Sebring in 2006.
He was a class winner at Lime Rock Park in 2004 with Risi and Ferrari to snap a 21-race class winning streak by Porsche. Kelleners is a second-generation driver whose father Helmut was a three-time European Touring Car champion.
"When I heard that Rahal Letterman Racing was starting a GT2 program with Porsche it was something that I was immediately interested in talking about with Bobby," Kelleners said. "RLR has a great history in open-wheel racing and it only took a few minutes of talking with Bobby and Jay O'Connell (RLR Technical Director) to know that this was a great fit for me personally and professionally. I look forward to helping start a new chapter in the rich history of Rahal Letterman Racing."
Milner, a 20-year-old native of Washington, VA joins RLR with two full seasons of sports car experience, including last season in the American Le Mans Series GT2 class when he drove a Panoz Esperante GTLM for Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz. He posted three top-five finishes and nine top-10s in the Series and also was part of the Multimatic-Panoz lineup at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
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.
"This is a great opportunity for me as a young driver to race for Rahal Letterman Racing and to utilize the experience I have gained in the American Le Mans Series," said Milner. "Having grown up around racing and having seen how tough it is to find opportunities when you are first starting out, I appreciate the chance to compete for a championship caliber team in Rahal Letterman."