Lighter and leaner for Le Mans.
La Sarthe Circuit, Le Mans, France - 10th June 2002: Team Ascari's trio of International drivers will compete in this weekend's classic Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race with a much revised version of the all-British Ascari-Judd KZR1. Britain's Ben Collins, South African Werner Lupberger and America's TJ Bell will benefit from a complete revision of the car, from the engine backwards.
The modifications include a new transverse gearbox and new rear suspension which complement the revised aero package already tried on the car during the Le Mans test weekend. The package means the car is now 30Kgs lighter and will have to carry some ballast to bring it back to the 900Kgs minimum limit for the prototype category. Additionally, the gear change is faster and the team expect to be able to run less downforce thereby improving their top speed.
Still disappointed at receiving only one entry for Le Mans this year, Team Ascari demonstrated their ability to run a pair of cars - both in the revised specification - at the successful Snetterton test. The team will take the second car to Le Mans but in component form.
Ian Dawson, Race Director, Team Ascari: "The changes to the car are very positive and, as I've said before, we're looking for a strong finish to prove we deserved that second entry. Obviously, beating the Audis will be difficult but we're looking for a top six finish and to be the best all-British car -- as we were at Sebring. Our trio of drivers are very strong and both Ben and Werner know the track well and TJ did an outstanding job at the test. I believe we will surprise a lot of people. The team have worked very hard and everyone is excited. Le Mans is the biggest race of the year with a special atmosphere. We'd like to see some of those union jacks waving for us, for a car that has a British chassis, engine, transmission and tyres."
This year Team Ascari is concentrating on the sportscar classics, taking in the most prestigious races both sides of the Atlantic. The campaign started with the Daytona 24 Hours, with Lupberger in his Ascari KZR1 starting the race on the front row of the grid - the first time a British team has achieved this feat in almost 20 years. The' grand tour' continued in Florida at the Sebring 12 Hours, where Collins - joined by Christian Vann and Justin Wilson - finished in sixth place, the second best result by a British car with British drivers in the history of the race. The team has not raced since then but has been concentrating on the new Le Mans specification and a switch to Dunlop tyres,.
The 70th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans commences at 4.00pm (local time) on Saturday 15th June.