LMS Round-Up - So Near Yet so Far in Championship
The latest round-up of Team Modena news including a look back at the finale of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Silverstone, and news of an international outing for one of the team's Lamborghini Gallardos.
Victory at Silverstone but Second in the Championship
Team Modena Gallery from Silverstone Team Modena went into the final round of the Le Mans Series at Silverstone knowing that only a win would secure them the Teams and Drivers LM GT1 class titles in the five-race championship, and even then the championship leader only had to score one point to claim the crown. The team did all it could, the Aston Martin was right on the pace all weekend and Antonio Garcia and Tomas Enge drove flawlessly in the 1000km race to win by a lap - but the French run Corvette declined to challenge the DBR9 and cruised home to take third and enough points to win the titles by six points.
"It was good to finish the season on the podium," said Team Principal Graham Schultz, "and to have taken three wins out of five in a very competitive series. I thoroughly enjoyed the race, and it was great to be on the podium accepting the trophy and drinking the champagne!"
Team Modena claimed second in the Teams points, with Antonio and Tomas joint second in the Drivers rankings, title hopes fatally dented by the retirement of the car at the opening round in Barcelona in April with an engine problem. In the next four races Team Modena took three wins, at Monza, the Nurburgring and Silverstone to outscore the Corvette, but the initial deficit where the French car won at Barcelona proved too much of a handicap.
"It was a good end to the season," said Antonio, "we have been on top of the podium three times but it was the zero score in Barcelona that compromised the championship for us."
"We had the fastest car this year," said Tomas, "and the team did an excellent job all season, but luck was not on our side and we did not win the championship."
Overall it was a winning LMS season, with three victories in five races competing against some of the most experienced GT teams in motorsport.
Development keeps Team Modena Aston Martin on the Pace
Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 chassis 101 made its race debut in the equivalent Silverstone race in 2005, taking fourth in the rain lashed event. Three full seasons of racing later, the car is still a pace-setter in the LM GT1 class, Team Modena having developed the car and kept it in the very latest DBR9 specification - in the process becoming one of the most successful and best known GT1 cars currently racing.
"It's nice to win back where the car made its debut in 2005," said Sporting Director Rik Bryan, "it shows the car is still quick and we have kept up with all the latest developments."
In its 24-races the car has won not only in the Le Mans Series, but in the FIA GT championship and even in Brazil in a high-profile 1000-mile event. The car has competed at a host of major circuits, with Antonio Garcia as the most frequent driver, his win at Silverstone 16th race in the car and his ninth podium finish. 101 has contested the Le Mans 24-Hour three times - and never failed to finish, a glowing endorsement of the standard of preparation and competitiveness of the DBR9.
Team Modena Gallery from Brno International Outing for Team Modena Lamborghini
Team Modena took to the international GT3 sportscar stage last weekend, September 20th and 21st, when one of their regular British GT Lamborghini Gallardo headed to the Czech Republic for a pair of races at Brno. Running the car on behalf of Charouz Racing Systems, the car was accompanied by four Team Modena crew for the European outing in the mixed sportscar and saloon event as well as team owner Graham Schultz as it competed in the International Czech Circuit Championship.
"We are taking the car to Brno at the request of Tony Charouz," said team manager Hans Muehlbauer prior to the journey. "Over the Le Mans Series season we have built up a good relationship, his team are in the garage next door to us and we eat together, and he has this race coming up for the Czech championship.
"He asked us if we could send a Lamborghini to support his efforts as he had some good drivers for it, so we said ok. It will be an adventure, Brno is a very good circuit with a smooth surface and we are looking forward to the one-off race - it will be like a summer holiday for us!"
The weekend featured two races, a three-hour event on Saturday and a ten-lap sprint on Sunday, with a wide variety of eligible machinery including the latest spec. DTM cars and GT1 racers as well as a host of rapid GT3 sportscars.
Team Modena's trip to proved a fruitful one when the car took sixth overall in the three-hour driven by Czech racers Ales Jirasek and Milan Urban, the car only headed home by a pair of DTM Mercedes, a Corvette and two rapid GT Porsches - a fine result for a GT3 car in such rapid company.
"We had a great weekend and the Gallardo ran flawlessly," said team owner Graham Schultz. "We had a good battle in the three-hour race and the races were exciting, with an amazing mix of cars."
The car completed 83-laps of the Brno circuit in Saturday's race, which had a 38-car field, and was entered in conjunction with Charouz Racing Systems who also compete with Team Modena in the Le Mans Series. A short 10-lap sprint race in Sunday afternoon with Jan on board saw the car take 16th after starting from the pit lane.
Team Modena Gallery from Silverstone Team Modena Host Sponsors and Guests at Silverstone
Team Modena's home round of the LMS saw the team host to a large number of valued sponsors and guests over the weekend, enjoying the opportunity to see the team in action with their Aston Martin DBR9 for the only time this season in the UK.
All were made welcome, with access to the pit and a dedicated hospitality unit in the paddock for the 200-plus visitors, whose support and enthusiasm was rewarded with a superb victory. To quote one delighted visitor: "Sunday was one of my best days racing ever!"'
The Silverstone event was the biggest in LMS history with in excess of 53,000 spectators in the circuit over the weekend. In recognition of their home event and successes in 2008 - Team Modena's Aston Martin was one of the features cars on the official event poster.
Next Team Modena Events: British GT, Donington Park, East Midlands, October 12th.