Full Speed Racing set to join Le Mans Series grid
Full Speed Racing is set to join the Le Mans Series grid in 2009 after the team confirmed they have applied to enter a GT1 Saleen S7R in the full championship. The new squad, owned by an American car collector, will be led by Graham Nash's NCK Motorsport and are hoping to gain an invite to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. They also have a second Saleen which they are considering running in the FIA GT Championship.
Full Speed Racing have also completed the signing of US racer Emerson Newton-John, nephew of movie star Olivia, to fill one of the seats in the American muscle-car, a deal which sees the one time Japanese F3 and NASCAR racer return to the cockpit following a seven year hiatus.
The team boast vast experience of sportscar racing, having previously entered the Le Mans Endurance Series in 2004 and 2005 and been stalwarts of the FIA GT Championship.
Nash has enjoyed close links with Saleen in the past and is delighted about the return to the cut and thrust of GT1 racing in the LMS having scored a podium finish in the series' inaugural season. "It's fantastic to be back in the Le Mans Series having been one of the founder members back in 2004," he said. "The new team is a very exciting project and I'm delighted to be involved. I've had five years experience racing with Saleen. I know just how quick the S7R can be and our new chassis has an impressive racing history with many race wins and pole positions to its credit. We're also very keen to return to Le Mans. I have unfinished business at La Sarthe after we ran so well for 23 of the 24 hours in 2003 before being forced to retire."
"We are thrilled to welcome Emerson back into full-time racing," Graham continued. "We know his pedigree and I think an exciting season lies ahead."
Newton-John's racing return sees him with a dual goal -- not only to be quick on track, but to generate high-profile interest in breast cancer awareness to motorsport fans globally. With the full support of his Aunt Olivia, Emerson hopes to raise money to research for a cure through the www.FullSpeed2aCure.com campaign and promote his aunt's revolutionary "Liv Aid" breast health exam kit, which will aid woman in their quest for early detection against breast-cancer.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back in the driving seat," said Emerson. "More importantly this is a chance to educate the world on early detection and the benefits of the new Liv Aid product. I am honoured that my aunt, Olivia, has put her faith in me to do this job and represent her new device. Racing is still my passion and it's fantastic to be rekindling my career. I feel I still have a lot of unfinished business left in this sport."
Meanwhile, Full Speed Racing have announced Pirelli as their 2009 tyre partner with a new title sponsor set to be unveiled shortly.