Press Release 6/8/96
WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK -- Massimiliano “Max” Papis set a new qualifying record today at the First Union 6 Hour of the Glen race in Watkins Glen, New York in the Exxon World Sports Car Championship series. The record time in his #30 MOMO/Yokohama Ferrari 333 SP was 1:39.684 with a speed of 122.78 mph, more than a full second faster than second fastest Butch Leitzinger in the Ford R&S MK III. this was Papis’ third pole of the season, having previously collected poles at Sebring and Road Atlanta, all of them new WSC records.
“I’m happy to be on the pole position at Watkins Glen. It has been my dream since I was young to race at Watkins glen, with all its history of Formula One... and to have destroyed the lap record from last year makes it even greater,” said the 26-year-old Italian. Last year’s record of 1:41.266 was set by Mauro Baldi in a Ferrari 333 SP.
“I had to push very hard. This is a demanding track. I gave 100%. It is rewarding to win the pole, but it is not the race and the race will be very tough. A six-hour race is a long-distance race and anything can happen. We’ll have a very fast race,” predicted Papis. “Ferrari keeps improving with their work on the engine and Kevin Doran (Team Manager) and the team keep improving their work every time. This allows “Mad Max” to come out. I am very lucky to be with Ferrari. It is just fantastic. It is a fantastic season for me. The relationship I have with Ferrari and with MOMO is nothing more than a driver can ask.”
This is Papis’ first year in IMSA Exxon World SportsCar competition. Already he’s collected two victories, with car owner/driver Gianpiero Moretti, three poles and three fastest laps, all records. “I’m learning so much this year and with thanks to Moretti. This is why I haven’t done the usual mistakes that a freshman does. The driving experience I’m getting in WSC is amazing. The SportsCars are very fast. I hope this series has a great future.” MOMO teammate Didier Theys will sit third on the pole in the #66 MOMO/Yokohama/Lista/Landshark Racing Ferrari 333 SP. His time was 1:41.368 and a speed of 120.74 mph.
Papis teams with Moretti, as he competes for the 1996 IMSA Exxon World SportsCar Driver’s Championship. Papis is expected to start the car in tomorrow’s race. Driving with Didier Theys in the second #66 MOMO Ferrari is Gerry Jackson and Fredy Lienhard. Papis currently sits second in the Exxon World SportsCar driver’s championship with 131 points, Manufacturer’s championship with 126 points to Ferrari’s 122.