Team Modena Expand in British GT and Barcelona LMS Frustration! New driver signings for Team Modena will see the team expand to run a two car challenge in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this season, while the opening Le Mans Series race...
Team Modena Expand in British GT and Barcelona LMS Frustration!
New driver signings for Team Modena will see the team expand to run a two car challenge in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this season, while the opening Le Mans Series race of the season proved to be a frustrating one, the team's Aston Martin retiring after leading the class early in the race and setting pole position.
New Drivers Mean Second British GT Gallardo for Team Modena
Team Modena Team Modena have been joined for the remainder of the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship season by front-running drivers Ben de Zille Butler and Guy Harrington. The rapid pairing have British GT experience and will see the team expand to a two-car operation running a pair of GT3-specification Lamborghini Gallardos in the competitive series. The duo will make their race debut at next weekend's Knockhill, Scotland, rounds of the series.
"It's great to have such a strong driver line-up joining us," said Team Principal Graham Schultz. "We are hiring a car from Reiter Engineering in Germany for the Knockhill races for Ben and Guy, and put down a deposit yesterday with them on a new which should be here in four weeks, in time for the Rockingham rounds for the series. Our original car is still under repair from the incident at Oulton Park, but we will in future be running a two-car team. We now fully expect Team Modena to be up there fighting for the championship."
"I'm really pleased to be with Team Modena," said 31-year-old de Zille Butler. "We met Graham Schultz, Rik Bryan and Hans Muehlbauer this week and have been able to do a deal. We tested the Lamborghini last year and now can't wait to race it. Knockhill will be a big weekend for us, it is a tight and twisty circuit for these big expensive GT cars, but I think it will suit the Gallardo and we are looking forward to going there."
"I thought the Lamborghini was a fantastic car when we first drove it," said 21-year-old Harrington, "well balanced and it felt like a real race car. We met up with the team and we seem to have common goals, there may even be some synergy for moving forward together in the future. We are looking forward to working with Team Modena, there is a lot we need to do, but we are going to give it our best shot and we are here to win. Ben and I hate settling for second."
The team's original Gallardo was damaged in an incident in the opening race of the British GT season and will not be repaired in time for Knockhill, but the team should be up to full strength with two cars from May's Rockingham meeting onwards, both run from Team Modena's High Wycombe facility.
Next Avon Tyres British GT rounds: Knockhill, Scotland, April 12th / 13th 2008.
LMS Disappointment After Team Set Early Pace
Team Modena The Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 retired from the opening round of the 2008 Le Mans Series on Sunday after setting the LM GT1 class pace in the early laps. A problem stranded the car on the circuit after 124-laps of the 1000km race, ending a promising run and a possible class victory.
The weekend had started strongly, Team Modena claiming pole position for the race in Saturday's 15-minute qualifying session. Team regular Garcia set the time with just three minutes of qualifying remaining to set the LM GT1 class pace.
"It is really close," said Antonio at his local round of the series after topping the times. "We know the track, it is very aggressive on the tyres and knew the first lap would be the fastest lap. This is a good starting point for the season because we know that we have a good car for the race too."
In the early laps of the race Garcia led the class and was the quickest GT1 car on the circuit, and the team recovered from an early delay to close in the class leader and be second at the halfway point in the six-hour race. With Garcia sharing the car with the experienced and rapid Tomas Enge for the first time, the driver duo were consistent and quick, and a strong result was looking likely until the car retired.
"There was at least 3.5 litres of fuel left in the car," said Sporting Director Rik Bryan, "we just don't know why we couldn't get it to the engine. That was enough for at least another lap, and I think we will only know for sure what the problem is once we get the car back into the workshop.
"It was very frustrating, if we had no problems then we could have fought for the GT1 win, the Corvette was very quick but we were going well early in the race."
After Sunday's disappointment at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain, the series resumes in three weeks at Monza, Italy
Opening Le Mans Series Race: Catalunya, Barcelona, April 5th / 6th 2008