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RACER PROFILES
American Le Mans Series Driver Profiles

Jeff Altenburg
Jeff Altenburg
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD
Age: 45
Family: Married to Brenda and has a daughter (Cloe)
Favorite circuits: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Personal Website: www.jeffaltenburg.net
Team: TriPoint Motorsports
Team website: www.TriPointEngineering.com
Car: MAZDA6
Car Number: 72
Class: SCCA SPEED WC Touring Car
Notable: 2007 SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Champion, studied at Naval Nuclear Power School.

Jeff Altenburg capped off a career-best season in 2007 with his first SCCA World Challenge Driver's Championship.

Jeff's history with Mazda motorsports dates back to 1992, when he drove the then-new 3rd generation FD Mazda RX-7 to its first National Championship at the 1992 Solo II Championships in Kansas. He continued his budding Mazda-powered racing career behind the wheel of a Mazda Miata MX-5, taking the Pro Solo Championship and a second place Runoffs finish in 1996. After winning a Solo II title behind the wheel of a Mazda RX-7 in 1997, Altenburg took part in his first road race driving a Mazda MX-3 at Sebring in 1992.

As a driver for the MAZDA6-based TriPoint Motorsports team for the past five years, Jeff has established himself as an elite driver in the premier touring car series in the country. After finishing seventh in the Driver's Championship on the strength of six top five finishes and three podiums in 2006, Altenburg opened the 2007 season with back-to-back wins at Long Beach and Miller Motorsports Park; he never looked back.

2006: Earned six top-five finishes and three podiums in his fourth full season with Tri-Point Motorsports. Finished seventh in the Drivers' Championship and helped Mazda to a second-place finish in the Manufacturers' Championship.

2004: In his second year with Tri Point Motorsports Team, Jeff worked to develop the new MAZDA6. This culminated in a win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to end the season on a high note. Competing in seven events, Jeff’s MAZDA6 finished the season with four top tens and two podiums.

2002: Joined the Tri Point Motorsports Team for the last five races of the Speed World Challenge Touring Season. Best finishes of 2nd at VIR, 3rd at Road Atlanta, and 5th at Trois Rivieres. Despite missing more than half the season, finished 13th in the season point standings. Also drove a Viper GTSR in select American Le Mans races.

Previously: Drove a Viper GTSR in the American Le Mans series in 2001 with a best finish of 2nd at Portland. Won the Grand Am Cup race at Mosport in the Sport Touring class also in 2001. In 2000, ran the full Trans-Am Season finishing 3rd in Driver points with four podium finishes (2 seconds and 2 thirds). Also won the Trans-Am Rookie of the Year Award and a Momo Design Watch for finishing 2nd in points for the second half of the season. Has fourteen National Championships to his credit. Ten in Solo II and Pro Solo (1989 – 1997), two at the Valvoline Runoffs (1997, 1999), and two Neon Challenge Championships (1997, 1998). In 1997, became the first driver in history to win Solo II, Valvoline Runoffs, and SCCA Pro Racing National Championships all in the same year. Holds the record for consecutive Neon Challenge race wins at six.

Charles Espenlaub
Charles Espenlaub
Hometown: Lutz, FL
Age: 39
Family: Single
Team: TriPoint Motorsports
Team website: www.TriPointEngineering.com
Car: MAZDA6
Car Number: 73
Class: SCCA SPEED WC Touring Car
Notable: Works as a driving instructor at the Panoz Racing School. Racing Mazdas professionally since 1995, Charles' affinity for Mazda began the first time he drifted a Miata around a race course. Co-owner in Team 19, a small racing-oriented company; also serves as a fishing guide. Loves racing, flying and fishing.

Charles began racing cars for a living after graduating from Emery Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. "I devoted time and discipline to being a pilot but soon discovered that it was too boring. So, I decided to go racing," explains Espenlaub. His talent for mechanical engineering and a passion for motorsports helped him land a spot as a team hand for a Porsche IMSA GT team. "Working on the car was only a temporary situation until I saved enough money to attend a good driving school and earn my license to compete. I was able to secure a seat in an entry-level class Miata for three races in 1995. In 1996 I ran the full season."

Espenlaub's proficient style of racing led him to a full-time position with the Panoz Driving School, where is now serves as the facility's head instructor. "Of all the students that come through the school, Mazda owners are younger than most and more serious about learning to become performance drivers. Unlike the middle-aged guys just looking for a weekend activity other than golf."

Presently Espenlaub is focused on driving the Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6 in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championship – where he finished ninth in the 2007 Driver's Championship after one podium finish and five other top-ten finishes during the season. Espenlaub will also be partnering with Joe Foster and Grey's Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey behind the wheel of the Hyper Sports No. 40 SoBe Mazda RX-8 GT in the Grand American Rolex Series. "I look forward to getting in the car every chance I get. It's great to be a part of the Mazda program. The company (Mazda) has always treated me great. When you need some help or support you can call and actually talk to someone. It's a great company."

2006: In second season with the Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6, racked up six top-10 finishes, and four top-five finishes en route to finishing eighth in the Drivers' Championship. Best result was second at Road America after starting from the pole.

2005: After beginning season in familiar Mazda Protegé, switched to MAZDA6 for Tindol Motorsports. In the MAZDA6, earned the first win of his career at Mosport after starting second. Also, earned the first pole position of his career at Cleveland before finishing second. In all, had seven top-ten, four top-five and three podium finishes en route to finishing seventh in the Drivers' Championship.

2004: Turned in three top-ten SPEED Touring Car finishes, including a second-place run at Mosport after starting 28th. HSR Club Sports Champion and Rolex Historic Co-Champion.

Previously: 1996-2003, ran Speedvision Cup, Porsche Club, HSR, Motorola Cup and NASA events. Has also competed in SCCA Club Racing, Grand-Am and Grand-Am Cup. Ran seven Speedvision Touring Car races in 2001, with a best finish of ninth at Road Atlanta. In 2002, ran a full season in SPEED Touring Car in a Mazda Protegé. He had two top ten finishes and one top five finish coming at VIRginia International Raceway. In 2003, ran a full season in SPEED Touring Car driving a Mazda Protegé ES and recorded a season-best 10th place finish at Sebring after qualifying ninth. Competed in one SPEED GT race (Sebring) finishing 13th.

Michael Galati
Michael Galati
Hometown: Olmsted, OH
Age: 48
Family: Married to Antoinietta, daughter (Michaela)
Team: Tindol Motorsports
Team website: www.tindolmotorsports.com
Car: MAZDA6
Car Number: 95
Class: SCCA SPEED WC Touring Car
Notable: Only five-time World Challenge Drivers’ Champion, four-time Runoffs Champion from 1989-1994.

Michael left his home in Italy over 20 years ago in search of a new life, bringing his love of cars and Motorsports with him. With a combination of hard work, dedication, and natural talent, Michael has been able to turn his passion for cars into a career. In the past two decades, Michael has been able to establish a successful high-end automotive repair and maintenance business in Ohio, and establish himself as the only five-time champion in the history of the World Challenge series.

In 2007, Michael joined Mazda and Tindol Motorsports behind the seat of the #95 Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6 and had an immediate impact on Mazda's chase for the 2007 Manufacturers' Championship. After adjusting to his new MAZDA6, Galati went on to five top-ten finishes, including a flag-to-flag win at Road Atlanta.

2006: Made five starts in the SPEED WC GT series. Scored a podium at Mid-Ohio in his first race of the season and a win at Mosport, where he nearly lapped the entire field in the rain.

2005: Michael participated in 10 SPEED WC Touring Car events in 2005 – finishing a season-best tenth at Mosport.

Previously: Began racing in 1987. Won the Showroom Stock C class of the June Sprints on four occasions (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993) and the national titles (again in SSC) four times (1989, 1990, 1993 and 1994). In 1996, Michael scored his first World Challenge T2 title by a two-point margin, earning T2 Red Line Oil Rookie of the Year honors in the process. In 1997, Michael finished third in the Drivers' Championship and won the SCCA Club Racing SSB National Championship. In 1998, he earned his second T2 Drivers' Championship on the strength of five podium finishes, eight top-10 finishes, five poles (four consecutive), and five track records. In 1999, formed his own Acura-based team and won his second-consecutive (and third career) Speedvision Touring Car Drivers' Championship on the strength of a record four-straight wins to start the season (Mosport, Lime Rock, Mid-Ohio and Road Atlanta), eight top-fives and 10 top-10s in 10 races. In 2000, ran the final nine Speedvision GT races for Champion Racing Audi, finishing runner-up in the Championship - recording six top-10s, five top-fives and three podiums along the way. In 2001, Michael earned his first-ever Speedvision GT Championship, becoming the first-ever four-time World Challenge Champion. In 2002, Michael captured an unprecedented fifth World Challenge title driving for Champion Racing with wins at Sebring, Mid-Ohio and Road America, along with eight top fives and ten top-10 finishes during a ten-race season. In 2003, he captured three SPEED GT podiums, five top-10 finishes and one pole (Lime Rock) for Audi. In 2004, returned to the winner's circle last season after seven-year winning streak was broken in 2003 - in 10 events, recorded three wins, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes – and finished second in points in the SPEED GT point standings

Charlie Putman
Hometown: Mills, WY
Age: 48
Family: Married to Dianne
Team: Tindol Motorsports
Team website: www.tindolmotorsports.com
Car: MAZDA6
Car Number: 96
Class: SCCA SPEED WC Touring Car

In 2007, Charlie Putman was a part of the three-car MAZDA6 assault from Tindol Motorsports that helped Mazda earn its first ever World Challenge Manufacturer’s Championship. Putman competed in all 10 SPEED WC Touring Car races, with a best result of 7th at Road Atlanta.

2005: Drove in three Touring Car events in rookie season. Notched three top-20 finishes, with his best (15th) coming at Mid-Ohio. Was 18th in the other two races driving a Tindol Motorsports Mazda Protege.

Previously: Has competed in SCCA Regional and National events in Spec Miata, Showroom Stock B, Touring 2 and Spec Racer Ford. Has also won multiple times driving in Panoz events.