Tim Pappas' Black Swan Racing team confirmed that it is returning to the American Le Mans Series in 2010 with a full-season effort. The Harvard, Mass.-based squad will enter a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the GT class, riding on Dunlop tires.
Pappas-owned entries are no stranger to the American Le Mans Series. The first, coincidentally, was a Porsche in GT2 that competed under the banner of Team Trans Sport in 2007. The car's best finish was fourth in class at Petit Le Mans with Pappas, Terry Borcheller and Marc Basseng driving. Black Swan hit the track in 2008 with a Falken-shod Doran-Ford GT (below) that competed in the second half of the season.
“The 2010 American Le Mans Series GT class will showcase the best endurance racing in the world, and I am proud that Black Swan will be a part of it,” Pappas said. “The American Le Mans Series continues to do a fantastic job advancing its 'green racing' initiatives, which is exactly in line with my business and the business of our partners. I am also very excited to be back with Porsche, the brand that I began my series career with and most of my club racing.”
On the driver front, Black Swan has signed Porsche ace Jeroen Bleekemolen as Pappas' full-time co-driver. Though he has made only one career start in the ALMS – eighth place in GT2 at Sebring in 2006 with Spyker – Bleekemolen has an impressive résumé. The Dutchman won the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP2 – with a Porsche RS Spyder – and was crowned Porsche Supercup Champion in 2008 and 2009. Bleekemolen comes from a family of racers, his father Michael a past Formula 1 driver, raised Jeroen and his brother Sebastian on a strict diet of karting. The team will announce its third driver for Sebring, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans in the near future.
Environmental issues are at the core of Pappas' business practices, and that philosophy will fit in well with the series' platform of advancing energy-efficient technologies and developments in production automobiles through motorsports. His company is committed to be at the forefront of the green building movement with multiple construction developments in the Boston area. Most notable is the Macallen Building Condominiums, a 140-unit complex in south Boston developed by Pappas, which received the American Institute of Architects Committee on The Environment Award (“COTE” Top Ten Award) and a Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system (LEED).
“We are pleased to say ‘Welcome back' to Tim Pappas and Black Swan Racing,” said Scott Atherton, series president and CEO. “From our conversations with Tim, it is clear that he has put together the equipment and personnel to tackle what is, without question, the most competitive and diverse class we have ever seen in the American Le Mans Series. Plus, Tim's background and award-winning involvement with environmental initiatives make him and his team an ideal match for the series. As we go forward as the 'Global Leader of Green Racing,' Tim's work both on and off the track will make him – as well as the entire Black Swan Racing team – key players in the American Le Mans Series paddock.”
Black Swan will test its new Porsche for the first time in early February at Palm Beach International Raceway and will take part in the annual Winter Test at Sebring later in the month.