Catalunya: Drayson Racing qualifying report

Drayson Racing Qualifies 11th in Barcelona Le Mans Series Debut BARCELONA, SPAIN - April 4, 2009 - Drayson Racing will open its first season of competition in the Le Mans Series from 11th-place on the LM GT2 class grid for Sunday's 1,000 Km of...

Drayson Racing Qualifies 11th in Barcelona Le Mans Series Debut

BARCELONA, SPAIN - April 4, 2009 - Drayson Racing will open its first season of competition in the Le Mans Series from 11th-place on the LM GT2 class grid for Sunday's 1,000 Km of Catalunya. Fighting an extraordinarily large and competitive LM GT2 field, Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) turned a time of one minute, 50.492 seconds around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. The five lap run was the first opportunity for the No. 87 Drayson Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT2 to take part in a 20-minute Le Mans Series qualifying session and Cocker made the best of a challenging situation in the car he will share with Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK).

The 2004 British GT Champion's time was only 1.8 seconds behind the pole position-winner's time despite a handling issue which plagued the car in right hand turns. This issue handicapped the team on the 4.655 Km/2.89 mile, which has eight right-hand turns in its 13-turn layout. Cocker lapped the V8- powered machine to within 0.8 seconds of the pole- winner until the final third of the course. It was there that the handling malady hampered the car's performance. Engineer Graham Moore (Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, UK) is confident that he has isolated and resolved the issue for tomorrow's 11:30 AM start.

A highlight of this weekend's event will be pit strategy; a specialty of team manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA). New Le Mans Series rules restrict the number of crew members and the number of air wrenches allowed to change the Michelin tyres during pit stops. Therefore, as much as 15 additional seconds could be lost each stop while changing tyres. Any team able to "double stint" - use the same tyres over the consumption of two, full fuel loads - will benefit greatly. Thus far, the Official Partner Team of Aston Martin Racing has enjoyed impressive wear on its Michelin racing slicks. When added to the car's traditionally strong race pace performance, the opportunity for an excellent debut result exists for the team.

High on Drayson Racing's objectives for the weekend will be the newly announced Michelin Green X Challenge Award. The team which covers the most distance, at the greatest speed, while maintaining the highest level of relative fuel efficiency will be awarded the Michelin Green X Challenge Award. As the Minister of State for Science and Innovation for the United Kingdom, Lord Drayson has pioneered "green", environmental causes in motorsports since the start of his career. In this way, and others, Drayson Racing is used as a test bed and inspiration tool for education, science and technology.

Quotes

Jonny Cocker, Driver:

About his qualifying run: "I had a good opening lap. The car felt a lot better than in the morning free practice. But, then on the second lap, I couldn't commit any kind of speed into a right hand corner. On the third lap, the fastest lap, the first two-thirds of the lap were good but then just lost a load of time in turn 12 and the last turn. Long, right-hand corners, where you have to wait for the rear, we ended-up losing about 4/10ths. Unfortunately, as the GT2 class is so close, we ended-up 11th but it could have been seventh."

About his expectations for the race: "I am looking forward to the race. We have always shown that our relative race pace is always close to the competition. I think we should have a good race car."

Dale White, Team Manager: "Today's qualifying shows how competitive GT2 is. We are getting closer and closer to the pole winning times but the position doesn't show that. This is why I love racing in the GT2 class. The competition inspires you to keep sorting out the issues. We are still developing this car and this team. The time and the positions will come as long as we stay on target."

-credit: draysonracing.com

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Graham Moore , Paul Drayson , Jonny Cocker
Teams Aston Martin Racing