Deletraz, Hezemans and Barde join Bosch, Sullivan and Biagi
Barron Connor Racing completes 2004 driver line up
The Barron Connor Racing team has signed former Le Mans class winner Jean- Denis Deletraz, GT star Mike Hezemans and the reigning European Ferrari 360 Champion Ange Barde to drive one of the two Ferrari 575 GTC cars that the team has entered for this year's Sebring 12 Hours, the Le Mans 24 Hours and all the Le Mans Endurance Series races.
Barron Connor co-founder and driver John Bosch said: "After signing Thomas (Biagi) to join me and Danny (Sullivan), we spoke to over 30 drivers, so making a decision took time. We are happy with the result, for both cars now have a strong driver line up, with a good mix of experience and success. Jean-Denis brings a lot of endurance racing success with him, including wins with the Ferrari 550, while Mike is arguably one of the best GT drivers around. I also know how good Ange is, having raced against him in the Ferrari championship. He won that title in 2001 and last year, while I won it in 2002. I think it is also great for Ferrari to have its 360 champions move up like this. In addition, Jean-Denis, Mike and Ange have all raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours, which is very important."
Deletraz (CH, 40) is a highly experienced GT racer, who raced McLaren-BMW, Lotus and Porsche GT1 cars in the late nineties, before winning 4 FIA GT races in a Ferrari 550 in 2002. In between, he also won the Le Mans 24 Hours twice in the LMP 675 class. Last year, the former F3000 and F1 driver stepped on the FIA GT podium again, this time with the Lister Storm. Jean- Denis says: "This is a great opportunity with a great team. We have the same goals and we all share our passion for Ferrari."
A former international karting star, Mike Hezemans (NL, 34) is now one of the world's most experienced GT drivers with a massive 67 FIA GT starts (including 6 wins) and many outings at Le Mans and in America. The Dutchman joins Barron Connor after 8 GT racing seasons in which he drove the Porsche GT2, Lotus Esprit V8 and GT1, Lister Storm, Pagini and Chysler Viper. Mike says: "I chased Ferrari's all year last season, so it is great to finally drive one myself. Barron Connor is a fantastic team, which has facilities and capabilities similar to a works team. It will be a tough year, for sure, but I am very much looking forward to it!"
Ange Barde (F, 35) is the 2001 and 2003 European Ferrari 360 Champion. The Frenchman also drove the sole Ferrari 550 that was entered in the GT class at Le Mans last year and commented: "Thanks to Barron Connor, which has a great team spirit, technical ability and remarkable professionalism, I will be able to realize my goal to race at the level that I always aimed for."
The Barron Connor team will travel to Sebring at the end of this week. "The Sebring 12 Hours will of course be a challenging test for the cars and for our team, for the race is long, hard and hot", John Bosch concludes. "Due to the tight schedule, the cars have been prepared in Italy and are ready just in time. We are going to Sebring to learn as much as we can. It is a place where you learn the hard way, which is the best way to prepare for Le Mans. This is a long term project and to achieve our goals, I believe it is good to start with one of the toughest endurances races in the world."