Le Mans - A point to prove. Bankbury, UK-- 3rd May 2002: Team Ascari's 'grand tour' of the sports car racing classics continues as the Banbury, Oxfordshire, team heads to Le Mans this weekend for the obligatory test day. Having had only one of...
Le Mans - A point to prove.
Bankbury, UK-- 3rd May 2002: Team Ascari's 'grand tour' of the sports car racing classics continues as the Banbury, Oxfordshire, team heads to Le Mans this weekend for the obligatory test day. Having had only one of their two entries selected for the race by the event organisers they have a very big point to prove.
The all-British NDS-sponsored Ascari KZR1 Judd V10 gets even more British this weekend as, for the first time, it will run on Dunlop tyres. These complement a re-design of the rear of the car from both mechanical and aerodynamic aspects which the team are sure is going to find them more speed.
Sharing the driving duties on Sunday will be team regulars Ben Collins and Werner Lupberger, although there is a possibility that a third driver will be added to the test weekend line-up at the last minute. Both Collins and Lupberger raced the famous French circuit for Ascari last year. Although they completed the opening hour of the race-- together with Finn Harri Toivonen-- in 23rd position, they moved the car up to a superb fifth place overall as the race reached half distance only to have an electrical problem three hours later.
Ian Dawson, Race Director, Team Ascari:
"Both myself and team owner Klaas Zwart were devastated to have our second entry refused this year, particularly as we ran two strong cars in 2001. But it means we have a very big point to prove. Last year we were running in the top six and we can improve on that. I know that we can be very strong this year. The test day will be busy and we shall concentrate on maximising the performance of the car in its new configuration and with Dunlop tyres."
The changes to the rear end, the work of Chief Designer Roger Griffiths, engineer Peter Weston and aerodynamicist Andy Coventry include a new transverse rather than longitudinal gearbox, plus revised rear suspension and rear bodywork.
Ascari's sports car racing' grand tour' commenced at the Daytona 24 Hours where Werner Lupberger put the car on the front row and continued in Florida at the Sebring 12 Hours. Here 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.
This Sunday's test no longer has a pre-Qualifying element to it and while times are officially recorded they are purely for the interest of the public-- many thousands of whom attend the test - and of course the teams and drivers.
But for all the teams it is an essential warm-up to the race which will be held this year on the weekend of June 15th/16th.