Stuck to return to Sebring with Vici Porsche
58-year old sportscar legend Hans-Joachim Stuck will return to the Sebring 12 Hours for the 15th time this year for the first time since 2001 in a GT2 class Vici Racing Porsche, alongside his son Johannes Stuck and Vici regular Nicky Pastorelli.
At Sebring, Stuck claimed victories in 1975, 1986 and 1988, the first with the 3.0 CSL, and the second two with Porsche's powerful 962s.
The son of the great prewar Auto Union ace of the same name, Stuck made his name as a touring car driver for Ford and BMW in the early 1970s, his victories including the 1972 Spa 24 Hours. With the support of BMW he moved to single-seaters and in 1974 he finished second in the European Formula 2 series to Patrick Depailler. He made his F1 debut that year with the March team and he continued to drive for the team on an irregular basis until 1977, while also continuing to compete for BMW in touring car racing and in IMSA. In 1977 he joined the Brabham-Alfa Romeo team after the death of Carlos Pace and scored splendid third places in the German and Austrian Grands Prix, plus a fifth in the British. He was storming away with the rain-soaked US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen until he crashed out of the lead.
In 1978 he moved to the Shadow team and gradually slipped further down the Formula 1 pecking order to drive another season with ATS before quitting the Grand Prix scene to concentrate on driving sportscars for the Rothmans Porsche team. He won the World Sportscar title in 1985 and the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1986 and 1987. He also won the Sebring 12 Hours, driving a Bob Akin Porsche. When the Rothmans Porsche program ended he was sent to the United States to race Audis in TransAm and IMSA GTO and enjoyed more success before returning with Audi to the German Touring Car Championship which he won in 1990.
VICI RACING ANNOUNCE DRIVER LINE UP FOR 12 HOURS OF SEBRING
VICI Racing is pleased to confirm its driver-line up for the two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs it will enter in next weekend’s 57th 12 Hours of Sebring (March 21) the opening round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series. The driver line up will comprise of Marc Basseng, Richard Westbrook and Lance David Arnold in the #5 car, and Nicky Pastorelli, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Johannes Stuck in the #18 car.
|Hans-Joachim Stuck (R) and VICI Racing Team President Ron C. Meixner|
This will be the Miami, Florida-based team’s second year in the ALMS and its second appearance in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Nicky Pastorelli and Marc Basseng who did such an excellent job for the team last year in ALMS will be back to lead the driver line-up. For the Dutch former F1 Official Test Driver Nicky this will be his third straight season with VICI Racing, while Marc, who has vast experience and a win-laden sports car career, is back after impressing everyone in the team when he joined up us mid last season.
Richard Westbrook needs very little introduction and we are delighted to have secured the services of this multiple Porsche Carrera Cup and Porsche Supercup champion. Richard arrives at VICI Racing following a highly impressive 2008 when he held the unique distinction of winning races in all the three major sports car series: ALMS, FIA GT Championship and Le Mans Series.
Hans-Joachim Stuck is one of the most successful sports car drivers of all time and we are all excited that this legendary pilot will join the team in Sebring for his 15th tilt at honors in the 12 hour race. As a two-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours and three-time winner at Sebring he brings unrivalled endurance racing experience to the team. Today Stuck is the Volkswagen Group Motorsport Representative.
Finally two more upcoming young drivers will complete the line-up: Johannes Stuck, son of Hans-Joachim, and Lance David Arnold, both of whom have built up Porsche experience racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup and VLN Championships, complete a line up that blends speed, youth and experience to take on one of the toughest challenges in sports car racing.
The team is now busy with final preparations for the famous 12 Hours of Sebring. Last year’s participation in the endurance classic was our ALMS debut, and to run in a podium position for half the duration of the race was a very satisfying way to start off our participation in ALMS, and it was to form a perfect springboard for the remainder of the season. Sebring is a 3.7 mile, 17-turn circuit and the oldest road course in North America. It was originally a WWII airfield training base.
Roland Wall (Technical Director VICI Racing): “We have worked hard to get the right driver line-up this year, and blend youth and experience with a real hunger to win. We wanted to get the right line-up without any compromises and so I’m pleased it’s come together. I am sure that these guys will give 110 percent on ever lap and that’s what I want from them. Nicky [Pastorelli] and Marc [Basseng] are proven quantities both did an excellent job last year and Nicky will be starting his third season with us, I’m confident they will develop further and driver the team on. All the other new drivers we have tested over the winter at Sebring so they have got in some experience of the RSR at Sebring, and they all proved quick straight off and able to adapt to what is a unique and tricky track. Richard [Westbrook] is a great addition to the team, he’s fast, a winner and very experienced with the RSR. I know him well from the [Porsche Carrera] Cup in Germany and he is always a tough competitor. When he became available for this year he rang me and it was no-brainer to get him in the car. He will slot straight in. I know Hans-Joachim Stuck from Volkswagen Motorsport, when we were developing the brand new [Volkswagen] Scirocco into a race car, for VLN/24h Nürburgring, which they did win. Hans Joachim was driving one of the Scirocco’s in the 24h with Carlos Sainz and Giniel de Villiers and Dieter Depping. He was very fast, very smooth and as committed as he ever is. Hans-Joachim will bring a huge level of experience to the team and with his success record at Sebring he will be invaluable to the team, it is great for us to be able to get him into the team. I know Johannes as he raced a RSR in the same 24h race, with Marc [Basseng], and I helped them to solve a setup problem because Hans Joachim asked me to help them. Johannes impressed me; he’s young, very quick and committed and dedicated to succeeding so I think he will be a great asset. He will follow in his father’s footsteps for sure. The same weekend I was engineering a Porsche GT3 Cup S in ADAC GT Masters, Frank Stippler and Lance David Arnold were my drivers, and we celebrated the first ever Porsche Win in GT Masters. Lance is another quick youngster, he built a good reputation in the Carrera Cup and he will be just right for ALMS. I’m very happy with the team, [Crew Chief] Alex [Zaric] is a strong leader and we have an excellent crew. We now have to build on last year, we have the ingredients to do the job this year and the pressure is on us now.”
Nicky Pastorelli (Netherlands): “Of course I am really looking forward to it [Sebring]. It’s been a quiet winter for me, mostly a lot of training in the gym so I really want to get on the track and race again! The results of the test in January were very positive and I believe that with a lot of hard work all round we can do very well this year. The team worked very well last year so I can't wait to continue this season and we can build on what we have achieved so far for sure. I am also very happy to be racing at Sebring since it will be the first time for me in a race. I tested at Sebring with the RSR in January and I have also tested previously with ChampCar and it’s a very demanding circuit, a real tough one for the driver for sure so I’m looking forward to the race.”
Richard Westbrook (England): “I’m looking forward to next weekend, this will be my first time racing [at Sebring] and I am sure we can build on the test [in January] when I driving for the first time with VICI Racing. All the talk I had heard about the circuit was very true, it’s pretty tough. There are so many bumps, you have to check your teeth still are still in you mouth! Some parts are wide, where it’s on the old airfield, and some are narrow, it’s quite a mix. You really feel the history round here. It’s going to be pretty exciting racing 12 hours on the tack – and into the night! It does demand a lot of learning as it’s so flat you don’t see what’s coming up. I was pleased with my first run with the team; I didn’t get an awful lot of running in, but I know we have only scratched the surface and I think I have eight tenths to a second to come from myself once I learn the track more.”
Hans Stuck (Germany): “Racing at Sebring again after wining for the first time in 1975 means a lot to me, especially when it comes to the fact that I can compete in the 2009 race with my son Johannes and further to that it will be my first race with Porsche since my last race for the factory in Laguna Seca 11 years ago in 1997. The other highlight is the fact that I'm racing for my old friend Ronny Meixner who I was team mate with in the times with Joest Racing when we raced Porsche 962.”
Johannes Stuck (Germany): “I’m pretty excited to be racing in America for the first time, in fact it will be my first time on an American track apart from when I tested here at the end of last year, and to start off racing at Sebring is as good as it gets, although it’s a big, big way to start. Of course the fact that Dad [Hans Stuck] is one of the most successful racers in the history of Sebring makes it very special to me. It was always a dream of mine to race in the States, because those tracks really separate the boys from the men, and now I’m about to achieve that dream so I am excited. Obviously I am also looking forward to the good weather, because it’s freezing here in Europe, and of course I’m excited to see the fans that will be at the track, the American fans are very passionate about sports car racing. I had a good test with the team just before Christmas, I liked Sebring instantly, it was bumpy and a lot of work, you give it respect, and I like the team’s set up. The team is ready to fight its way up the order this year and I’m ready to help us get to the front. I know Roland [Wall, VICI Racing Technical Director] as I have worked with him before in Germany and I have a lot of respect for him, and I’m pleased to be in the team with Marc [Basseng] as I drove with him last year in the VLN and he taught me a lot and helped me improve my driving ability; he is a good teacher. I know the RSR well as we use it in the VLM but with some more modifications, bigger wings, spoilers, no restrictors, but car is much the same, though it’s stiffer here as we have a softer car on the Nordschleife, so I think I will be ready to drive the ALMS specification version.”
Marc Basseng (Germany): “I’m hoping to have a good season with the team this year. I joined VICI Racing mid-year and we had a tough year, but everyone learnt a lot and we can do well this year. Sebring is a tough track; it’s certainly not one of the easier tracks on the ALMS calendar. The bumps and the layout is a challenge, there is no break during a lap. But around the track the fans, the party is amazing. It is the big start into the season, this is one of the great sports car races, and it’s very pleasing to be here. I think especially on this track, it is not so important to have the latest car, if you have a good car and good set up and nothing goes wrong during the twelve hours there is a chance for a good finish and success.”
VICI RACING DRIVER BIOS
Nicky Pastorelli (Netherlands) #18
Nicky arrived in the arena of sports car racing from a background in single-seaters. The 25-year-old from Rijswijk in The Netherlands followed the well-trodden path taken by young drivers via karting and Formula Renault, before arriving in Euro F3000 in 2003, where he instantly caught the eye with several podium finishes. A year later he firmly marked himself out as a future star by winning the Euro F3000 Championship, the title coming courtesy of victory in the final race of the year when the pressure was well and truly on. Thrust into the international limelight, his F3000 pace and ability led to a test with the Minardi F1 Team, and he was swiftly signed as official Jordan F1 test driver in 2005. When that team evolved into Midland F1, he became the first driver to be signed up to its Young Driver Development Program. In 2006 he followed another traditional path, as he made the break into the ChampCar series with Rocketsports Racing, as well as being the official third driver for Midland F1. Nicky had by now caught the eye of Ron Meixner, who has always supported young talent, and he was offered the opportunity to drive the VICI Racing Porsche-Fabcar in the 24 Hours of Daytona. A modern, consummately professional racing driver, Nicky is fast, smooth and blisteringly quick, and busy making his name as a sports car star. He impressed the personnel at VICI Racing during the team’s Daytona 24 Hours challenge in 2007, and this led to him being offered a seat in the team’s ALMS GT2 program last year where he did an excellent job.
Marc Basseng (Germany) #5
Marc Basseng is a hugely experienced sports car racer with a successful career that has closely revolved around the Porsche brand. Born on Dec 12, 1978 in Engelskirchen, Germany, Marc started out as a youngster in karts (1993-96) before moving up the Porsche Junior Team in 1997 in the Porsche Supercup where at the age of just 19 he collected his first pole position as well as podium finishes on his debut year. The next year saw more trips to the podium beckoning in the Porsche Supercup as well as in the Porsche Carrera Cup. In 1999 he dovetailed these two series with programs in the Ford Puma Cup and in the [Langstrecken Meisterschaft Nürburgring] VLN series, and a year later took part-and finished-the grueling Nürburgring 24 hours. In 2001 he became the Renault Clio V6 Cup Junior Champion and two years later he was crowned German Champion of the Renault Clio Speed Trophy. From 2003 to 2006 Marc stepped up his involvement in the VLN-a series that rewards the skilful-and the wins came rolling in: 2 in 2004, 4 in 2005, and 5 in 2006. That last year was significant too as Marc, who now lives in Leutenbach, Germany, made the journey across the Atlantic for the first time to contest the Daytona 24 Hrs where he finished in an excellent 5th on his debut. 2006 also saw him guest driving in the Porsche Carrera Cup, and joining up with the Belcar series where he tasted victory. In 2007 Marc had his most rewarding racing season to date: winning the hotly-contested GT class at the Daytona 24 Hours, claiming a Le Mans Series victory, five more wins in the VLN and climbing onto the podium of the Nürburgring 24 Hrs, as well as catching the eye in the FIA GT Championship. Last year he joined VICI Racing for its ALMS GT2 program mid-season and impressed from the moment he got behind the wheel of the #18 car. In between his busy-and win laden-racing schedule Marc takes his talents into the confines of the television commentary booth for series such as the Porsche Carrera Cup, Porsche Supercup, DTM, Polo Cup and GP2.
Richard Westbrook (England) #5
Richard Westbrook is a highly successful a top-level international sports car racer with multiple titles to his name in the Porsche Carrera Cup and Supercup, as well as having claimed race wins in the FIA GT Championship and American Le Mans Series on his debuts in both series last year. His early career though was fought out in single seaters, and a young Westbrook first grabbed everyone’s attention when he wound up as runner up in the Formula Vauxhall Lotus Winter Series in 1993, before graduating to the Formula Opel Euroseries the next year. He won races that year, and again in the single-seater series in 1995. The next year he stepped up to F3 and took in part-campaigns in Germany and Austria, resulting in wins in both. In 1999 he was back in the frame in the Vauxhall Lotus Winter Series, winning again on his way to the runner-up slot. Then came a switch of focus to sports cars, and in 2002 Richard turned his attention to the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain. In 2003 he claimed the runner up spot after a part campaign that netted him no less than nine wins. However he went one better in 2004 and in doing so claimed his first important title (with seven wins). He was runner up again in 2005 after a partial season, but set a record for wins (13) and pole positions (9) that remains unchallenged today. Having contested a handful of Porsche Supercup races in 2002, he returned to the this tough international arena in 2005 in selected events that didn’t clash with his UK program and immediately posted his intent by winning the season opener in Bahrain. However 2006 turned out to be an even better year and he finished on the podium in every Supercup race (and claimed four wins), wrapping the title up with two races to spare against a plethora of world-class opposition, including VICI Racing regular, Uwe Alzen. That year Westbrook, who was born in Chelmsford, Essex and now lives in London, squeezed in four outings in the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain, and winning three of them. The next year he was in victorious form again, climbing onto the top step of the podium several times on his way to a second consecutive Supercup title. A first visit to the US saw him immediately carting his dazzling reputation across the Atlantic after he netted GT class pole position in the Daytona 24 Hours. He also finished second in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, with five wins. Last year the Porsche factory driver stepped up another gear as he raced in the FIA GT Championship, winning races and finishing regularly on the podium, as well as fighting for honors in the Le Mans Series. He also turned his attention stateside again and on his ALMS debut (at Lime Rock) he finished second, while his three appearances in the series culminated in a win at Road America. Completing a busy year at the top-level on both sides of the Atlantic he came an impressive second in the Daytona 24 Hours.
Johannes Stuck (Germany) #18
Johannes “Joe” Stuck is a leading light in the new generation of fast, upcoming sports car drivers that are moving up the established ranks rapidly; but the 22-year-old is also the latest generation of one of the most famous of all racing families – he has a surname that is instantly recognizable to any racing fan and his father is one of the most successful sports car drivers ever, as was his father before him. Sporting excellence runs deep in Stuck family genetics and as a youngster Johannes marked himself out as a star of the future in both football and skiing. However, despite achieving much success and collecting medals, the lure of the high speed tarmac challenge courses through the Stuck blood and it was inevitable that the lure of the race track would take hold. He kicked off his racing career in 2003 in the ADAC VW Lupo Cup and in his rookie season he finished 8th overall in the championship, an impressive debut performance. Another generation of Stuck had arrived and was making itself known. The next year the podium beckoned for Joe in the ADAC VW Lupo Cup, before in 2005 he moved onto the Mini Challenge, finishing fifth in the championship and then third in the Mini World Finals. In 2006 Joe’s career really stepped up a gear: he was a class winner in the 24 Hours of Dubai and in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring (both at the wheel of a BMW 120d) and took two wins in the VLN [Langstrecken Meisterschaft Nürburgring] having quickly proved himself highly adept at mastering the legendary Nürburgring. In between these victories he took several podiums (including wins) in the Mini Challenge. The next year he was a class winner again in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring as well as overall victory in the Silverstone 24 Hours (both with the BMW Z4 Coupe), while he also claimed four class wins in the VLN, stepped up to GT2 in the LMES, and ranged as far Japan to turn in an excellent performance in the Tokachi 24 Hours. Last year Joe contested a full year in the VLN stepping up to the top class to drive a Land Motorsport Porsche 997 RSR alongside another VICI Racing driver, Marc Basseng.
Lance David Arnold (Germany) #5
Lance David Arnold is another promising young racer with a sports car background and lots of experience with the Porsche brand. The 22-year-old from Duisburg in Germany started his career as a youngster in karting, winning titles as a junior between 1994 and 2002. In 2002 he started to race in Formula BMW/ADAC and in 2004 moved into the VW Polo Cup. His obvious talent brought him to the attention of Porsche Motorsport bosses and with it came a coveted seat in the UPS Porsche Junior Team in the Porsche Carrera Cup in 2005. He didn’t disappoint either, winning the rookie of the year title and taking fifth place in the overall championship. A year later he finished seventh in the Carrera Cup after a part season and spread his wings further, taking part in races in the Porsche Michelin Supercup, the VLN series, as well as in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and a first appearance in the United States in the 24 Hours of Daytona. In 2007 another busy season beckoned as he contested another part season in the Porsche Carrera Cup, as well as taking in Supercup races, the VLN and the Nürburgring 24 Hours, while he finished a very credible fourth in the GT class in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Lance’s diary got even fuller last year as again programs in the Porsche Carrera Cup, Porsche Supercup, 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, 24 Hours of Daytona and VLN [Langstrecken Meisterschaft Nürburgring] beckoned as well two races in the ADAC GT Masters where he was in winning form, and an appearance in the Italian GT Championship, where on his first visit to Monza and first time in a GT2 class car he planted the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR firmly on pole and comfortably led until he handed over to his team mate at half distance. He also squeezed in instructing at the Porsche Driving School.
Hans-Joachim Stuck (Germany) #18
Hans-Joachim Stuck quite simply is one of the most successful racing drivers in the history of motor sport. The son of the legendary “Mountain King” Hans Stuck who was famous for racing the dramatic Auto Union cars in the 1930s, young Hans-Joachim had racing in his genes and was taught to tame the fearsome Nürburgring by his father. He quickly etched his name into the record books as a 19-year-old when he won the 24 Hour race in 1970 (in a BMW 2002ti) at his second time of asking. He went on to win the endurance marathon at “Green Hell” again in 1998 and 2004, helping to cement his reputation as “Mr. Nordschleife” and as an accomplished driver in the wet. Two years later, Hans-Joachim, who was nicknamed ‘Striezel’ by his mother when he was born in 1951, a name that he has been affectionately know by throughout his career, had conquered another of the world’s most daunting races: the 24 Hours of Spa (alongside Jochen Mass). At the same time he was turning his hand to single seaters, and after achieving success in F2 in a March-BMW he graduated to F1 with March, making his grand prix debut in January 1974. During an F1 career that ran from 1974 to 1979 Hans-Joachim took part in 81 grands prix, finishing twice on the podium, leading several races, most memorably the rain-hit 1977 US West Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in the Brabham-Alfa Romeo, and collected 29 points. As well as driving for the March and Brabham teams, he also raced for ATS and Shadow. Following his retirement from F1 Hans-Joachim, who at 194 cm tall was outgrowing the ever shrinking single-seater cockpits, then forged a highly successful sports car career, winning the World Sportscar Championship in 1985 (alongside Derek Bell) and the most famous race of them all, the Le mans 24 Hours, an honor he took twice, in 1986 and 1987 (both times alongside Bell and Al Holbert) plus a class win in 1999. He claimed two further podiums in 1988 and 1989. Hans-Joachim is also one of the most successful drivers in the 12 Hours of Sebring, with 14 starts and wins in 1975, 1986 (with Jo Gartner and Bob Akin) and 1988 (with Klaus Ludwig), the first of these coming in the BMW 3.0 CSL while the latter two where behind the wheel of the Porsche 962. After the Rothmans supported Porsche 956/962 program concluded after the Group C era came to a close he raced for Audi, BMW and Porsche stateside in the TransAm, IMSA GTO and ALMS championships, winning titles and reaping more success, before he returned to Germany to win the 1990 German DTM Touring Car Championship in 1990 with the Audi V8. He raced in the ALMS and Speedworld series until 2003 and continues to be one of the most sought after drivers in the Nürburgring 24 Hours each year where just keeps on winning: last year he won his class with the new factory VW Scirocco. Ever versatile, in 2006 he raced in the inaugural Grand Prix Masters series, took a class win in the Dubai 24 Hours and even took part in a truck race. This year will be Hans-Joachim’s 38th year in motor racing. In 2007 he raced in the VLN teaming up with the next generation of Stuck: Johannes.