Orbit Racing will introduce a new German star to the American Le Mans Series at the Road Atlanta season finale, with the addition of Mike Rockenfeller to the team's driver line-up for the Petit Le Mans.

Rockenfeller will join Leo Hindery and Peter Baron in the #43 YES Network Porsche 911 GT3 RS for the 1000-mile event on 18 October, standing in for the absent Marc Lieb, who will be on FIA GT Championship duty and chasing two titles with Freisinger Motorsport.

Rockenfeller, at just 19, is a member of the UPS Porsche Junior Team, driving the #1 911 GT3 Cup car in the German Porsche Carrera Cup series. He led the championship in September, becoming the youngest driver ever to do so, and, with one race remaining, is a close second, with one pole position, one win, three podiums and six top-five finishes in the eight races this season.

In addition to the Carrera Cup, Rockenfeller was a guest driver in five Porsche Michelin Supercup races this year. He is the youngest driver to win a Supercup race, a feat he accomplished at the tough N?rburgring circuit in Germany in June. The Petit Le Mans event, however, will be Rockenfeller's first professional endurance race.

"Everything is new - the race track, the car and pit-stops," he noted, "I did a 24-hour race in karting, but this is completely different. For me, it's a great experience. It will be good to see how quick I am in this car. And it's a good chance to show Porsche what I can do in endurance races."

Rockenfeller will test a Porsche 911 GT3 RS at Porsche headquarters in Weissach, Germany, to prepare for the race, and has also been training hard, logging intense daily cardio workouts to stay in shape for long-distance races. He also recently completed a three-year mechanic's programme, giving him another technical edge over his competitors.

"Porsche checks our fitness every six weeks, so I have to be in shape," he explained, "The education was three years of training, both in the workshop and in school. I know quite a lot of technical things about cars, so it's easier to talk about technical details with the engineers and I understand more than many other drivers."

Rockenfeller is the second young Porsche talent to drive with Orbit Racing this year, following in the footsteps of Lieb, who was the German Carrera Cup champion and Rockenfeller's team-mate in 2002. He joined Orbit for seven races this season, including the 24 Heures du Mans where, with Hindery and Baron, he finished second in the GT class.

"Mike Rockenfeller is one of the future stars of ALMS, and we are very privileged to have him join us at the Petit Le Mans, where I am confident he will shine," Hindery said, "If he will teach me to drive faster, I will give him my secret to turn 10A, which is a legendary piece of information in motorsports that my fellow competitors have been seeking for years..."

 

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