SWISS SPIRIT AIMS FOR RUNNER UP SPOT IN THE LE MANS SERIES
The Swiss Spirit racing team heads to Jarama near Madrid, Spain this weekend for the final round of the five race Le Mans Series. Their one goal is to secure the runner-up spot in the series' title chase and therefore guarantee themselves a coveted invitation to the famous Le Mans 24 Hour race next year.
Such a feat would be a stunning achievement for a team still in its debut season and were it not for a peppering of mechanical failures throughout the year, predominantly within the gearbox, their first season of top level, international sportscar racing could be hailed as nothing short of exceptional. A pole position and 2nd place finish at Spa; running as high as 4th overall at Le Mans; and frequently battling among the top three in the remaining rounds are highlights that have sounded the young squad's intentions and helped generate a fervent amount of support in Switzerland, the domestic media revelling in the team's unique image.
Drivers Harold Primat and Marcel Fassler appear to have enjoyed the season so far and are eager now to discover how the Courage-Judd LMP1 car will handle on the tight and tricky former Grand Prix circuit at Jarama, as Harold explains:
"I've been to Jarama before," said Harold, "in 2004 with the V de V series and also with the Nissan Lights Championship. I've got great memories from both races because we won the V de V race and in the Nissan I had a strong top-five finish. It's a nice circuit, very exciting and very busy. There are lots of elevation changes, tight, twisty corners, mixed with very fast, often blind sweepers so it'll be interesting to see how our car performs on a track like this. I'm sure it will be good but I have a feeling that maybe the LMP2 cars might have an advantage here as they are so much lighter and therefore more nimble than us heavyweights in LMP1!"
Team mate Marcel Fassler is equally upbeat, although he does have reservations about the potential problems with traffic, "I have been here in the past, testing with DTM cars, so I know the track quite well. From a driving point of view I like it very much, but I am a bit concerned about the lack of space to overtake. In a multi-class series like ours, with quite large speed differentials between the categories, I think we are going to find passing traffic quite difficult. Having said that it's always the same for everyone so we'll just get on with it and do the very best we can. Fundamentally, the circuit is really fun and a good challenge for the drivers so I'm definitely looking forward to it."
Since the previous race at Donington, the Swiss Spirit team has continued development on the car, largely in special preparation for Jarama, as confirmed by Team Boss Serge Saulnier: "We have worked mainly on the reliability of the gearbox to make sure we have no problems in the race and we also worked on improving the cooling of the brakes which, for a circuit lay-out such as Jarama, is extremely important. We will start the weekend with a set-up for bumpy circuits and will fine tune it from there. Our objective is to finish the race, score a lot of points and secure that second place in the championship, which means an automatic invitation for the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours."
The race will be screened on Motors TV from 9pm European time, 8pm UK time on Sunday 24th September.