The Morgan Works Race Team heads to France soon to race in the Le Mans 'Bugatti Circuit' 1000km race, which takes place on November 9th. The new event, run by the ACO - the organisation that is also responsible for the Le Mans 24 Hour Race - is seen as a vital stepping stone to the British marque's ambitions in the world's number one motor race.
2003 has been a trying year for the Malvern-based race team, which was unexpectedly not included in the list of invitations to race in the 24 hours at Le Mans last June. Following that set-back, the Team was keen to compensate its many loyal and disappointed supporters, and the difficult switch of regulations was made to allow entries to be made under FIA rules at Donington Park and later in the 24 hour race in Spa, Belgium, where former Formula 1 star Jacques Laffite joined their driver line up.
After qualifying well at Spa, a 150mph crash in torrential rain ended a very promising outing just 3 hours into the race, and the team, which is still struggling on without a major sponsor, has since fought hard to rebuild the car for its return to France.
Commenting, Team spokesman David Dowse said:
"I am not going to pretend this has been an easy year for us. We've had some tough times, but this team is made of tough stuff and we're so pleased to be back on the road. To race again at Le Mans, even in this smaller event, is sure to bring back memories of our fantastic outing there in 2002, when we ran against all the odds for 18 hours - a loud and clear contradiction to all those who said we couldn't do it. That's the spirit of Morgan."
Today's announcement is tinged with sadness following the recent death, aged 83, of Peter Morgan, the enigmatic Chairman of the Morgan Motor Company.
"The last time I spoke with Mr Morgan was the morning following Neil and Adam's brilliant win at Brands Hatch with Richard Thorne Motorsport in the final round of the British Championship, says David Dowse.
"I gave him the good news as he arrived at the factory for his usual daily visit. He beamed from ear to ear and simply said "Jolly good!"
"I will keep that smile with me for a long time. The very best tribute we can give the great man is to go out and race one of his cars - and that's just what we'll do," Dowse concludes.
The Works Team's driver line up will include Neil Cunningham and Adam Sharpe, the winning pair who snatched a famous last-minute victory recently in the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch. A third driver is expected to be confirmed shortly.
Supporters can follow the Morgan Works Team's progress at www.morganworks.com