Courage Competition sign Hancock for Le Mans 24 Hours

Top Le Mans sportscar team, Courage Competition, have signed 26-year old British racing driver, Sam Hancock, for their assault on this June's Le Mans 24 Hours. The deal reunites team and driver for the first time since their successful 2004 Le Mans Endurance Series campaign in which they took three LMP2 class victories en route to the championship title. Hancock was also on board that year for Le Mans, but the car ultimately retired with engine problems, having been in strong contention for a class win.

Hancock, who enjoyed a podium finish for Binnie Motorsports two weeks ago in his first race of the season at the Spa 1000kms, will drive one of the Courage squad's two factory-entered LC70 Mugen-Honda prototypes in the premier LMP1 category of the 24 Hours.

Despite being Hancock's first appearance in the top class at Le Mans, he made an impressive debut in the category in the Istanbul 1000kms last year where, driving a JOTA-Zytek, he climbed the car from 7th to 2nd overall in appalling conditions.

London-based Hancock will share the car in Le Mans with former Courage team mate and co-champion, Alexander Frei from Switzerland; and another former team mate in the shape of experienced sportscar driver, Gregor Fisken from Scotland.

Hancock and Fisken shared the Intersport Racing Lola-AER LMP2 car at Le Mans last year where, despite dominating practice and the opening section of the race, the car ultimately retired after 11 hours with mechanical problems whilst leading the class and running 12th overall. Doubtless to say, Hancock is hoping for a better run in 2006 and, on signing of his new deal, sounded understandably upbeat...

Sam Hancock: "Firstly, I'm hugely excited about this opportunity and very grateful to all those involved who have helped make it a reality. I've had some great results with this fantastic team in the past and I am convinced that with their awesome new LC70 chassis, an impressive engine from Mugen and promising new tyres from Yokohama, we have a really good chance at a finish in the top eight or ten overall. I am tempted to suggest even higher, but it's important not to get too carried away at this stage -- afterall, it's a huge job just to get to the finish at Le Mans. I'm also really pleased to be lining back up alongside two good friends -- firstly Alex, who I shared a great season with in '04, and Gregor, who drove with me at Le Mans last year and also in Istanbul for Team JOTA. Both of these guys have been driving beautifully over the last twelve months or so and I think we'll gel brilliantly as a trio. I'm really looking forward to it."

-www.samhancock.com