Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years has been boosted by the confirmation that the new Cadillac sportscar team will contest the event. Run by the French team, DAMS, the American manufacturer has launched a three year program including selected...
Adelaide's Race of a Thousand Years has been boosted by the confirmation that the new Cadillac sportscar team will contest the event.
Run by the French team, DAMS, the American manufacturer has launched a three year program including selected races in the Le Mans Series as well as the Le Mans 24 Hour.
Spearheaded by ex-Formula 1 driver Eric Bernard, the Cadillac/DAMS squad will run a pair of the new prototype Cadillac Northstar LMP machines on the streets of Adelaide.
Team principal Jean-Paul Driot is eagerly awaiting the chance to return to South Australia after previously visiting Adelaide for the Australian Grand Prix with former team-partner and ex-Grand Prix driver Rene Arnoux.
"We are only doing selected races in the Le Mans series this year but the choice to come to Adelaide was an easy one to make," Driot said.
"The Race of a Thousand Years is the last race of the 'real' millennium and it is an important milestone for our team to finish the year with.
"Adelaide had a fantastic history in Formula One and we are looking forward to creating a new chapter with sportscar racing down there.
"Australia is a lovely country filled with friendly people and it is a pleasure to compete there."
Driot believes Adelaide will make a valuable addition to the Le Mans Series calendar.
"The atmosphere in Adelaide is very unique and it is great that the track is so close to the city," he said.
"It is great to be involved in a series that will bring the action right onto the doorstep of the people of Adelaide. The crews will love the fact that everything is a short walking distance from the track."
Eric Bernard will be joined by ex-Formula 3000 drivers Emmanuel Collard, Marc Goossens and Christophe Tinseau in the Cadillac team. Goossens infact, is a one-time ex-British Formula Ford Championship rival of V8 Supercar driver Russell Ingall.
Being surrounded by concrete walls, Driot believes the six-hour Adelaide race on New Year's Eve will be very tough on man and machine.
"Our drivers will have to be very careful with no mistakes allowed," he said.
"With the three different classes in the Le Mans series and racing at night, it will be very tough for all the drivers. Our boys will have to concentrate very hard to make sure they are there at the finish."
Driot is excited about the team's new Cadillac program and bring the giant General Motors corporation back into sportscar racing.
"Everything is still very new, but the car has an outstanding amount of potential," he said.
"To perform at the top level you need a very reliable package and by the time we arrive in Australia at the end of the year, we should have a very strong car.
"It will be difficult in our first year and you also have to have a lot of luck on your side but we are looking forward to the challenge.
"Eric Bernard has very fond memories of racing in Formula One in Adelaide and is really looking forward to coming back."
Paul Ryan: email@example.com