AF Waltrip Le Mans Preview
CORNELIUS, N.C. — NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Brian Vickers joins Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman and Rui Aguas behind the wheel of the No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia in Saturday’s 80th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Live television coverage of the world’s most famous sports car race begins at 8:30 a.m. on SPEED TV and continues throughout the event breaking away for NASCAR coverage from Michigan and other live programing.
The AF Waltrip drivers tested at Le Mans in earlier in the month preparing for this weekend’s race that features 56 cars divided among four class including 13 cars in their GTE AM class. The eight-mile, semi-permanent circuit utilizes roads open to the public most of the year.
The AF Waltrip entry is a joint effort by the Italian AF Corse team and NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip Racing. Waltrip, Kauffman and Aguas finished 13th in class at their initial appearance at Le Mans in 2011 after transmission issues ended their race at the 16-hour mark. The AF Waltrip Ferrari earned a third-place finishes at Spa in 2010 and Petite Le Mans in 2011, fourth at the Sebring 12 hours and 22nd at the Daytona Rolex 24 in 2012.
VICKERS: “I’m just really happy to have this experience. I can't wait for the race itself. Just based on the turnout alone for the test day- multiply that by a few thousand and nearly a quarter of a million people will be here to see the race I can't thank Rob, Michael, Rui, RK Motors and the rest of the team for all their hard work and efforts. I am really thrilled to be able to fulfill a dream by competing in the 24 Hours next weekend.”
KAUFFMAN: “It is a privilege to be able to compete in the Le Mans 24 hours. Just being on the same track with some of the best sports car racers in the world is an honor. We will focus on executing our game plan and our goal is to be there at the finish. Anything can happen over 24 hours! Our program with AF Corse is ever improving and allowing us to get more exposure to a broader market. It’s been fun to see Brian here at Le Mans. He’s a pro, but a first timer here, so his methodical approach is interesting to see in action. like the rest of us the first time we came here. He’s a heck of a road racer and is taking to it quite well.”
• ON THE NO. 61 HOOD: RK Motors Charlotte is the country’s leading classic car dealership selling hundreds of classic and high performance collector cars a year. With over 80,000 square-feet dedicated to “all things cars,” the Charlotte campus holds a state-of-the-art showroom complete with digital media studio, as well as a full restoration and customization shop. Created in 2010 by Kauffman and Joe Carroll of Best of Show Automotive, RK Motors Charlotte has established itself as the nation’s premier restorer, re-seller and provider of classic, muscle and high-performance cars. For more information about RK Motors Charlotte visit www.RKMotorsCharlotte.com.
• VICKERS: Vickers replaces Waltrip whose television and NASCAR duties will keep him out of the driver lineup at Le Mans. Vickers will also drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine in eight NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2012