Team Essex will be returning to Le Mans this year. After having won three driver titles in the Danish Touringcar Championship, numerous team titles and taken second place in last year's 24 hour Le Mans race as well as finishing second in the Le Mans Series, Team Essex will be returning to the European circuits aiming for a Le Mans win.
The reason for Team Essex's return to international motor racing after half a year away from the sport is based in the fact that due to the present financial climate it has not been possible to sell the team's Porsche RS Spyder. Team Essex has also been contacted by Porsche with a proposal to win the LMP2 class together, and with backing from a number of Danish sponsors and a good offer from Poulsen Motorsport and their partners team owner Peter Halvorsen began a positive dialogue with Porsche Motorsport. The end result has been that Team Essex has struck a deal with Porsche Motorsport concerning Le Mans 2009.
The agreement results in technical support from Porsche Motorsport, while Porsche Motorsport will supply staff in the shape of mechanics, engineers, data-logging personnel as well as a team manager. On top of this one of its best drivers, Frenchman Emanuel Collard, is put at the team's disposal in 2009.
As a part of the support from Porsche, a deal with Michelin about the supply of tyres to testing and racing also follows. From the moment it began working on the Spyder model Porsche has been working closely together with Michelin, and on this background all data from previous tests can form the basis of the team's preparations for the coming season.
With this set-up Team Essex feels that it is well-prepared for 2009 and has decided to do two tests together with Porsche. They will be taking place at the Paul Ricard circuit on March 7th-8th and on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit on April 25th-26th. After these tests the team will take part in the first Le Mans Series race, the 1000 km race at Spa in Belgium on May 9th-10th as a preparation for the 24 hours of Le Mans on June 13th-14th.
The driver line-up will be made up of Casper Elgaard, Emanuel Collard and Kristian Poulsen, where Casper Elgaard and Emanuel Collard will be the two men, who will be doing most of the driving and probably will be spending 20 hours in the car.
For Kristian Poulsen this will mark his debut at Le Mans and in sport car racing, but with the experience Kristian Poulsen brings along from his rallying career, his many international races in the WTCC, his results from the Danish Touringcar Championship as well as the up-coming 24 hours race a Nurburgring on May 23rd-24th as well as the international races Kristian Poulsen will do before Le Mans, the team will give Kristian Poulsen full support for the task ahead.
"Kristian Poulsen will be testing with Casper Elgaard and Emanuel Collard, and the two drivers will teach him everything they know about the Porsche, and then it is up to Kristian to prove that we were right in choosing him as our third driver at Le Mans," team owner Peter Halvorsen says.
Even though John Nielsen always has been a part of Team Essex and still is an employee of the company, unfortunately there hasn't been room for him in this year's Le Mans race. As Porsche Motorsport will be supplying the personnel to the posts of team manager and chief engineer, and as John Nielsen previously has announced that he has stopped as an active driver at Le Mans, John Nielsen will not be part of the team this year, which we off course are sad to record.
"We believe that we will be able to do this better than last year, where we finished runner-up, and with this set-up we have good possibilities to get to the top. It is nice to see that the two other Porsche cars are in the race as well as all the other strong teams in the LMP2 class despite of the financial climate -- so the excitement is guaranteed and we will be having a thrill of a race," team owner Peter Halvorsen ends.
-credit: team essex