After a reluctant absence of two years, one of the most popular and successful drivers in the history of professional sports car racing will be returning to American Le Mans Series competition in the season-ending Petit Le Mans in two weeks' time.

Hans Stuck, whose world-class racing career is still going strong beyond his 50th birthday, will pick up where he left off, returning to the scene of his last American Le Mans Series race and victory. And he will also be driving for the same racing team and with the same two co-drivers he was with when he won the GT class in the 2001 running of the Petit Le Mans.

Stuck will co-drive with Californians Boris Said and Bill Auberlen in a reunion with Prototype Technology Group in a BMW E46. In a celebration of the 25th anniversary of its ADVAN brand, Yokohama Rubber Company of Japan - the parent company of US-based Yokohama Tyre Corporation - will sponsor the Petit Le Mans effort.

"I have missed it," said Stuck of the American Le Mans Series, where he was a regular competitor from the formation of the series in 1999 and has four career wins, "I love long-distance racing, where the whole team has to perform to the utmost, and I love racing in traffic with lots of different cars."

Considered one of racing's great characters, Stuck has been hugely popular with fans and other drivers throughout his long career. Showing his heritage, he yodels on the podium after every race win, and is usually asked to repeat the performance in post-race press conferences.

"To win the Petit Le Mans two years ago meant a lot to me, because it was another important win in one of the most famous long-distance races," said the Austrian-domiciled German, whose racing resume includes overall wins in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

"Our target for this year is a podium finish," he said, "It will be very difficult because the team and the drivers have not had much practice in this kind of format for quite a long time. Also our car is pretty new in this configuration and did not undergo a lot of testing. But PTG is famous for out-of-the-box preparations, so we will see."

 

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