Aston Martin to Le Mans in 2002
Aston Martin could return to Le Mans for the first time since 1989 and become the third historic British manufacturer to line up on the grid alongside Bentley and MG in 2002. Their entry would signal a dramatic turnaround at Le Mans where no British team was entered this year.
Aston has ruled out a full works attack on the race, but has said that would rather support customer teams that wanted to go racing with the new V-12 engined Vanquish. Designer Graham Humphreys is leading a three-month investigation into competition possibilities with the Vanquish and the DB7 models. Aston says that it has "three or four interested customers," but denies that it has signed a team to begin development of the racing car.
One car for Cadillac?
Cadillac's Le Mans debacle continues with the revelation that just one car could be entered next year unless a financial deal with Motorola can be signed. GM has reportedly taken over negotiations with the telecommunications giant from DAMS team boss Jean-Paul Driot, but the talks have run into difficulties. Cadillac's plan was to have Driot run their Northstar LMPs.
An announcement of their 2001 programme has been continually delayed since the Petit Le Mans in September, and there is still no final decision. "We are still in negotiations with potential sponsors and I can confirm that we have postponed an announcement of next year's programme." said a Cadillac spokesperson who said that it was "very unlikely" that the marque would miss next year's race.
No word from Bentley
Bentley is in no hurry to announce any driver signings and it is unlikely that anything will be heard until the beginning of next year, says Apex Motorsports team manager Richard Lloyd. James Weaver, who has undertaken most of the testing with the Bentley so far, has no race contract and may be enticed to drive with Rob Dyson, for whom the Englishman drives in theGrand-Am Championship. Dyson has not finally decided whether he will enter Le Mans.
International drivers are being canvassed for seats in the Bentley, but the emphasis will be on recruiting British talent. "We are talking about just six seats," says Lloyd. "There will be slightly more Brits than international drivers but I don't think there will be much news from a team point of view before the end of the year. Johnny [Herbert] has won it before and knows his way around, but I am sure he has bigger fish to fry."
NASCAR legends at Sebring
Dale Earnhardt Senior and Junior had their first taste of Corvette power at Sebring last week in the C5-R that the pair will share with Briton Andy Pilgrim in the Rolex 24 at Daytona next February. The NASCAR legends flew in from the Winston Cup final in Atlanta to take part in the three-day test. "The weight and braking on the Corvette is so much different than our Winston Cup cars," said Earnhardt Sr. "Fellows jumps in a Cup car and makes it look easy at Watkins Glen. It won't be that easy for us."