Season Finale for Aston Martin Racing in California
Aston Martin Racing will compete in the final round of the American Le Mans Series at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California, this weekend (15 October), the second of two races at the tail of a successful 2005 season. The Aston Martin Racing DBR9 won the opening round of the series in March, the Sebring 12-hours, and has since won the historic Tourist Trophy at Silverstone in May.
"Every race that we enter is the same, and we are always after a victory," said Team Principal George Howard-Chappell. "Having been to Le Mans, Spa and the Petit Le Mans without winning but being on the podium a couple of times, it is very much our intention to try and win. We will do the absolute maximum we can to try to beat Corvette. Obviously they are incredibly strong opposition as we have seen at Le Mans and at Petit but we will do the very best we can."
The four-hour race will be the first 'sprint' event that the DBR9 has contested since victory at Silverstone, and its first in the US. "With a longer race you are never sure what is going to happen, so it is important that you balance how fast you go and how much risk you take as it is important to get to the end," said Howard-Chappell. "With a shorter race it is much more of a sprint and it is all about going as hard as you can to get the best possible result."
Darren Turner, who won at Sebring with David Brabham and Stephane Ortelli, and will this weekend drive the no. 57 car with Brabham, added: "This will be an all-out sprint. We had to be conservative with our set-up at Road Atlanta due to losing a day of practice, yet we still picked up a podium. At Laguna we will have a five or six-way battle and when you win such a race, it is the best feeling in the world. It would be nice to finish the season in the same way we started, with a win, and put everyone in good form for the winter."
Peter Kox, who will drive the four-hour endurance race in the no. 58 car with his Portuguese co-driver Pedro Lamy, said of the circuit: "The track is not quite as challenging as Road Atlanta, but it is still not easy! The Corkscrew is my favourite part, although actually arriving there on the previous straight where the blue sky is your horizon is beautiful. I have good memories of the track, because we won the first time I raced there in 2002"
The Monterey scenery around the picturesque circuit attracts Brabham. "It is a great track, but the best part is the Monterey beaches and hills," said the Australian. "The track is difficult as it is short, and you need good front-end grip, which is hard to get there. I first raced at Laguna in 1987 in a Formula Atlantic and have raced there many times since, winning the Sports Car Championship with Andy Wallace in 1998."