Portimao: Drayson Racing preview

Drayson Racing Lit-Up for Night Run on The Algarve Shores PORTIMAO ALGARVE, PORTUGAL- Following an outstanding performance at its 24 Heures du Mans debut in June, Drayson Racing now exhales deeply and begins a night time assault on the remaining...

Drayson Racing Lit-Up for Night Run on The Algarve Shores

PORTIMAO ALGARVE, PORTUGAL- Following an outstanding performance at its 24 Heures du Mans debut in June, Drayson Racing now exhales deeply and begins a night time assault on the remaining Le Mans Series season. The 1000km of Algarve brings the No. 87 Drayson Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT2 to the oceanfront, holiday mecca of Portugal's Algarve region on 1 August. In a unique challenge, round three of the five-race schedule will see Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) drive the entire 512 lap/six hour race after sunset.

The Portimao Algarve event marks the first "all darkness" race in the history of the Le Mans Series. The unique format could prove a benefit to the Banbury, UK-based team. Both drivers enjoy racing at night and have had great success driving after sunset. In fact, Drayson and Cocker drove an E85-powered Aston Martin to victory in the Britcar Series Night Race in 2007. Furthermore, the extended night running at Le Mans has provided the team with its greatest, un-broken streak of laps in both daylight and darkness with the V8-powered machine. The night time laps on the long Le Mans course proved to be some of the team's most competitive in the hotly contested endurance racing classic. The 1,000 km/621.3 mile race is scheduled to take the green flag at 19:15 and travel its full distance under the cover of night. It will take the chequered flag no later than 01:15 on 2 August.

While the Autodromo do Algarve is a new track to the Le Mans Series it is not new to the Official Partner Team of Aston Martin Racing (AMR). In April, as part of the programme's preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Drayson Racing visited the 4.65-Km/2.89-mile race course for a long duration test. That time promises to assist Drayson and Cocker assimilate quickly to the track's distinctive and demanding features. The facility presents multiple elevation changes which result in blind corner entry and apex at several of its 15-turns. The blind turns pose issues for all the teams as the cars transition between the areas illuminated by the track's lighting system and those in which they must rely solely on the Hella lighting system onboard. The Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA)-managed operation will use Thursday's night practice to reacquaint the drivers with the track and the car's preferences at night.

"Licence to Le Mans", the very popular documentary on Paul, Lord Drayson's 2008 effort to earn a spot in the 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be re-aired on Channel Dave in the United Kingdom. The first episode is scheduled for Sunday, 23 August at 18:30. Episode two will be broadcast the following Sunday, 30 August at 14:30. The broadcast schedule of the remaining episodes will be announced at a later date.

Quotes

Paul Drayson, Driver/Owner:

About the Algarve circuit: "Having tested at the Algarve circuit earlier in the year we know we have a good setup for the car and Jonny and I are fully dialed-in. It's a brilliant new circuit; lots of hills and blind corners. Should be very exciting racing, especially at night." About racing at night: "It's a great idea to hold a full night race. Just like the night sessions at Le Mans 24 Hours, it will be really special but with the added challenge for the drivers of a much more crowded track as the Algarve circuit is so much shorter than La Sarthe. It is going to be a busy six hours. Jonny and I have a good track record in GT night races so we go into this first ever Le Mans Series night race with a sense of anticipation and confidence."

About the momentum carried from Le Mans: "Driving in the Le Mans 24 hours was a dream come true for me; something I have worked for years to achieve. The fact that we ran so well, consistently in the top 10 of GT2 up until the alternator failure, has boosted my confidence both in the car and my own pace and fitness. I really enjoyed the LM24 experience and I'm now feeling very hungry to get back in the car and race. It has been a long five weeks."

Jonny Cocker, Driver:

About Algarve test: "It's always nice to go to a circuit feeling prepared. The test in April was great. We learnt a huge amount about the track and the car. We also managed to get some running in the dark, so that should help us out."

About the Algarve circuit: "I think that the circuit is fantastic. Both Paul and I agree that it's great a new circuit has been built like this one. It's very easy for the circuit designers to make it flat, huge run off, boring and featureless, but this is a real exciting circuit and should make for a really close race! The last turn is very fast and the circuit has many blind crests. It's going to be very important the way that we deal with the faster and slower traffic. It's going to be very easy to lose time in traffic."

About racing at night: "I'm really looking forward to the 1,000k of Algarve! This race is something a bit different and that's great. I love driving in the dark and with all of the elevation changes around the track it should make for an interesting race for the fans and drivers!"

Dale White, Team Manager: "With Le Mans now behind us, it is almost like we are starting a new season. This race is the first time in the history of the car that we have returned to a track with the Vantage GT2. That will be a major benefit as we already have a very good setup, we know which Michelin tyres the car likes here and the drivers are familiar with the track. We also learned a great deal at Le Mans about the team, the car and about the Vantage at night. When you put it all together we are going into the weekend with a very good feeling."

-credit: draysonracing.com

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