Catalunya: Van Merksteijn Motorsport preview

Van Merksteijn Motorsport ready for premiere with Porsche RS Spyder BARCELONA This weekend, Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur will be making its debut in the Le Mans Series. Ex-Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen and team owner Peter...

Van Merksteijn Motorsport ready for premiere with Porsche RS Spyder

BARCELONA This weekend, Van Merksteijn Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur will be making its debut in the Le Mans Series. Ex-Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen and team owner Peter van Merksteijn will be racing the team's Porsche RS Spyder in the season opener at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona. The 215 lap race will start on Sunday at 11.35 am and will be broadcast by Eurosport.

After extensive testing in preparation for the season at the Guadix circuit in Spain and Paul Ricard in France, the team is now eager to take on its first race with the Porsche RS Spyder. A regular race winner in the United States, the Porsche will have its first competitive outing in Europe this weekend. For Porsche, the 2008 season already got off to a good start with overall victory for the RS Spyder in the prestigious Sebring 12 Hours three weeks ago. However, different regulations in the European-based Le Mans Series mean that the Porsche RS Spyder, competing in the lighter LMP2-class, is rather unlikely to beat the more powerful LMP1-machinery on European soil. Notwithstanding, expectations are running high for the new Porsche, three of which will be on the grid for the LMS season opener in Spain.

With the team's third driver, Jeroen Bleekemolen, racing in the season opener of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup in Bahrain this weekend, Jos Verstappen and Peter van Merksteijn will be sharing driving duties in Van Merksteijn Motorsport's Porsche RS Spyder at the Circuit de Catalunya. Verstappen already knows the circuit from Formula 1 races in the past, although the lay-out of the 4.655 kilometres long track has been slightly revised since he last raced there. "The circuit is quite challenging and it will be tough to do such a long race there, but I am really looking forward to it. I enjoyed driving the Porsche RS Spyder in testing and I can hardly wait to be back in racing for the first time in two years", Verstappen says. "Since the last test at Paul Ricard, the car has been updated with a few modifications for the 2008 season, which makes me very confident for this race." Peter van Merksteijn adds: "We have done everything we could in testing during the winter and everybody involved has showed total commitment to this exciting project. This weekend, we hopefully will see the results of all our efforts."

In the LMP2 category, Van Merksteijn Motorsport will be facing competition from 14 other entrants. There will be two further Porsche RS Spyders on the grid, one from the Danish Essex-team and one from the Swiss Horag Racing outfit, plus Lola, Zytek, Pescarolo, WR and Lucchini prototypes.

The action starts in Barcelona on Friday, April 4th, with two free practice sessions from 11.45 till 12.45 and from 15.45 till 16.45. On Saturday, April 5th, there will be another free practice session from 9.45 till 10.45, followed by qualifying for the LMP1 and LMP2 prototypes from 14.40 till 15.00. Warm-up will be taking place on Sunday morning, April 6th, from 9.00 till 9.20, the race starts at 11.35.

-credit: vmm

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Peter van Merksteijn