Aston Martin Racing preview

Aston Martin Racing at the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours Following consecutive victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March and the FIA GT race at Silverstone last month, Aston Martin Racing is preparing to lead the marque's eagerly ...

Aston Martin Racing at the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours

Following consecutive victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March and the FIA GT race at Silverstone last month, Aston Martin Racing is preparing to lead the marque's eagerly anticipated return to the Le Mans 24 Hours - a race won outright in 1959 by Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby, with the Aston Martin DBR1.

Driving Aston Martin Racing's two DBR9 entries are, in car 58: Tomas Enge (Czech Republic), Peter Kox (Netherlands) and Pedro Lamy (Portugal). In car 59: David Brabham (Australia), Stephane Sarrazin (France) and Darren Turner (UK).

Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell, said: "Although our DBR9s topped the GT1 class in both official test sessions in pre-race testing last week, the first year at Le Mans is always an unknown quantity.

"Our endurance testing programme has given us confidence in the DBR9's ability to finish the race but it is still a young car. It will also be interesting to see what our competitors are capable of when it comes to race pace.

"This is a talented group of drivers and the team is well prepared so I have every confidence that we have done as much as we can in testing with the time and resources available."

The Aston Martin Racing team completed the official test at Le Mans last week ahead of the 73rd annual Le Mans 24 Hours in what promises to be a fiercely competitive GT1 class. The race will see both cars debuting a new aerodynamic package that will ensure maximum speed on the long straights of the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans.

Howard-Chappell added: "Le Mans is very different from the circuits at Sebring and Silverstone and we need to adapt accordingly. Fans will notice some visible changes to the cars with the new aerodynamic package, but it offers an ideal compromise between downforce and drag."

Tomas Enge, who will be making his Aston Martin race debut in the 24-hour race, commented: "I love Le Mans and now I have the chance to race with a great team.

Although I haven't done as much mileage as my team mates I'm pleased with our preparation and I think I have the right feeling for the car. I know that the car will be very competitive at Le Mans and the track should suit us. The cars have been running trouble-free and I hope that we will maintain this record."

Stephane Sarrazin, who will be marking his home race in car 59 said: "Le Mans is an exceptional race for a driver, but for a French driver it is a massive event and very important to me because so many fans will be present."

Sarrazin, who had an extended stint in the car during the Le Mans practice sessions, added: "We did many laps during practice without problems but compared with Sebring, the Le Mans circuit is much faster with a top speed of more than 300 kph and double the length. Driving for Aston Martin Racing is a big chance for me personally - we have a very good car and will do all we can to give our fans a good race."

Aston Martin's appearance in the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours marks a first appearance since 1989 when the AMR1 competed. The 73rd Le Mans 24 Hours is scheduled to start at 1600 (GMT +1) on Saturday 18 June.

-amr-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Tomas Enge , David Brabham , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Peter Kox , George Howard-Chappell
Teams Aston Martin Racing