ASTON MARTIN RETURNS TO DEFEND GT1 CHAMPIONSHIP AT 54TH ANNUAL MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING Braselton, Ga. - A year after achieving a landmark victory in its first appearance there in 12 years, Aston Martin Racing is returning to the American...
ASTON MARTIN RETURNS TO DEFEND GT1 CHAMPIONSHIP AT 54TH ANNUAL MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING
Braselton, Ga. - A year after achieving a landmark victory in its first appearance there in 12 years, Aston Martin Racing is returning to the American Le Mans Series and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The prestigious English marque will field two DBR9s in the GT1 class for America's greatest sports car race on March 18 in hope of defending its Sebring championship.
Aston Martin is the latest prestigious entry for the 54th annual 12-hour endurance classic at Sebring International Raceway, which opens the 2006 season for the American Le Mans Series. SPEED Channel will provide live coverage throughout North America, while MotorsTV will broadcast all the action live across Europe.
"Aston Martin Racing gave the American Le Mans Series and its fans one of the most spectacular stories of 2005 by winning its debut race at the 53rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring," said Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. "With this announcement that Aston Martin is returning to Sebring and the American Le Mans Series, we all can look forward to another tremendous battle between multiple world-class GT1 teams including Aston Martin Racing and Corvette Racing."
Last year at Sebring, Aston Martin Racing's DBR9 of David Brabham, Darren Turner and Stephane Ortelli survived challenges from a field of Corvettes, Saleens, Vipers, Ferraris and a Maserati, as well as competing for 12 hours on one of the world's great sports car circuits. After Sebring, Aston Martin Racing went on to post impressive results at such premier events as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Petit Le Mans and the Monterey Sports Car Championships.
"Naturally, we're pleased with Aston Martin Racing's decision to compete at Sebring," Atherton said. "Aston Martin and the American Le Mans Series go hand-in-hand. Both are high-tech, premium products that appeal to the same upscale, elite audience. The addition of two DBR9s to the Sebring grid will add to the anticipation of America's greatest sports car race."
Aston Martin has a lengthy history at the Sebring circuit dating back to 1950 when three DB2s competed in what was then a six-hour competition. In 1956, driving a DB3S, the Le Mans-winning team of Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori took fourth place overall. In 1958 Sir Stirling Moss set the fastest race lap in DBR1. The first victory for Aston Martin came in 2005 and marked the DBR9's impact on the world of GT motorsport.
"As we know from our final two races of 2005, the American Le Mans Series is fiercely competitive and as ever, we expect a tough battle in GT1," said Prodrive Chairman David Richards. "When we came to Sebring last year it was for the DBR9's first race at the start of a test and development year. Our class victory was an excellent debut for the car, but even more importantly for me was the car's ability to follow this with many more victories and podiums around the world; not just in our hands, but in those of our customers."
Dr. Ulrich Bez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin, said, "We are delighted to be back in the US which is an important market for us and racing at Sebring where we achieved such a good result last year. So far this year we have previewed the Aston Martin Rapide concept, a four-door, high-performance coupe at the North American Auto Show and announced that James Bond will again drive an Aston Martin in the next '007' film. 2006 promises to be another exceptional year for Aston Martin and we hope to add to this with success on the race track."
The American Le Mans Series begins its 2006 season with the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The 12-hour endurance classic is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST on March 18 at Sebring International Raceway. It will be televised live on SPEED Channel in North America and MotorsTV in Europe. In addition, Greenlight Television will distribute the race worldwide to more than 510 million households. American Le Mans Series Radio will have flag-to-flag coverage available at www.americanlemans.com, along with IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.