Horag Racing Tests Its Brand-New Porsche RS Spyder; Veteran Lammers to Join Theys and Lienhard on Driver Roster
SULGEN, Switzerland, Dec. 19 - Horag Racing and its two primary drivers, Fredy Lienhard and Didier Theys, are very optimistic about the 2008 racing season after a flawless shakedown test of their brand-new Lista Office and Lista-sponsored Porsche RS Spyder last weekend at the Catalunya circuit north of Barcelona, Spain.
Veteran Jan Lammers is excited too, because the Swiss team has chosen him to be its third driver for the 2008 Le Mans Series (LMS) as well as the one or possibly two American Le Mans Series (ALMS) races on its 2008 schedule.
Horag Racing will again focus on the Le Mans Series in Europe next year, but before that begins it will debut its new LMP2 car at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring ALMS season opener at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. in the United States on March 15. The team may also compete in the ALMS' Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. on Oct. 4.
The LMS schedule currently consists of five events, although one may be added later. Horag Racing does not plan to participate in either the Sebring ALMS winter test in January or the official pre-season LMS test at Paul Ricard in France March 2-3. After it returns from Sebring in March it will begin its European campaign in earnest with the LMS season opener at Catalunya April 4-6. Then it's off to Monza, Italy April 25-27 to try to post back-to-back LMP2 victories in that prestigious event. The 1,000 Kilometers of Spa follows May 9-11. August 15-17 will find the team racing at the Nurburgring in Germany, with Silverstone, England following Sept. 12-14.
It's an exciting line-up of races at some of the most historic venues in the world, and to say the team is excited about trying its luck with its new Porsche RS Spyder in the new year is putting it mildly. That excitement level, already high, increased even higher after last weekend's initial test went so well. The team hopes its new car will help it surpass its 2007 results, when it finished fifth in the LMS' LMP2 class, just four points out of third place, 21 to 25.
"We had two good, full days of testing last weekend without any problems at all," said Theys. "We did quite a few miles, and we had no problems even though it was cold. We didn't concentrate on our set-up for that particular track, but instead tried different set-ups in order to learn what the car would do when we made certain changes. The car responded as we hoped, and we loved the feeling we got when driving it. Coupled with our Michelin tires, we think our Porsche RS Spyder package will be very strong. The car is gorgeous too; it's already in its Sebring livery. And we're all happy that Jan has agreed to join us for 2008. We are very excited about the upcoming season."
The team is also very happy with the support it received from Porsche. "Porsche sent several people to the test to make sure we got off to a good start," Theys said. "Led by Martin Meijs, they were very helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Porsche's support was excellent."
Lammers wasn't able to attend the test due to a previous commitment in China, but he's delighted to be joining Horag Racing for 2008. His extensive bio is punctuated with impressive accomplishments in a career that began washing cars and grew to the world stage, as he competed in 41 Formula 1 races and later became an endurance sports car legend, with victories in all sorts of events including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Most recently he's been campaigning his FIA World Championship-winning Racing for Holland team, and he also owns the Dutch A1 Grand Prix team.
"When you get more and more experience, you need more and more competent, no-nonsense people around you. I believe Didier, Fredy and Markus [Hotz, the team owner] as the team captain are definitely all that!" said Lammers. "These men, in combination with the highly competitive, reliable and good-looking RS Spyder, make me feel a lucky man.
"I can't wait to join the Horag Racing team and start driving," Lammers added. "Listening to Fredy and Didier after the Barcelona test makes me even more excited! To start in Sebring is particularly special. It's a great, legendary event that I would love to win and add to my multi-page CV.
"Everybody always looks good on the 'wedding picture' and it is early, but I will give it my very best to make sure that this time next year we are all still as enthusiastic," Lammers concluded. "I thank all the decision makers for their faith in me, and I am proud to be part of the team."
Hotz is also looking forward to the new season.
"I think we used the time we had during the two days in Barcelona to collect as much information as possible about the new Spyder," said the veteran team owner. "We made a lot of progress in learning about the advanced technology that this Porsche offers. When we had questions we had great help, as the Porsche engineers were beside us the whole time. I also understand that they brought quite positive impressions about our team back to Weissach.
"It was a good experience for the drivers also, as they found that the car is very 'drivable' and predictable, which is always a goal for me to go for, especially for long-distance races.
"We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us in order to be prepared with all the Porsche-specific equipment we will need in order to be ready for the Sebring 12 Hours. But after this test and the data we gathered, we are more confident that we can handle it," Hotz concluded.