Look Back at Le Mans - Success for the 'Old Boys, Leo's Debut, and the Facts and Figures With Team Modena continuing their 100% success record in bringing their race cars to the finish at the Le Mans 24-Hour race, the team finished this year's...
Look Back at Le Mans - Success for the 'Old Boys, Leo's Debut, and the Facts and Figures
With Team Modena continuing their 100% success record in bringing their race cars to the finish at the Le Mans 24-Hour race, the team finished this year's 77th running of the classic endurance event on a high after coming seventh in the LM GT2 class, despite twice being his by other cars in the night and being forced to pit. Driver trio Leo Mansell - in his first ever 24-Hour race - Pierre Ehret and Roman Rusinov worked hard race long, as did the pit-crew who flawlessly kept the car running all through the race. "It was a good week for us," said Team Principal Graham Schultz. "I was really pleased that Team Modena put in such a solid performance and the work ethic from the crew was superb. They coped with everything that we scheduled perfectly, and reacted to well to the unexpected which always happens in a race like this."
VIPs Visit Team Modena
On the grid before the race one notable visitor to the number 84 Team Modena Ferrari 430 GT was Luca di Montezemolo, President of Ferrari. The official starter of the 2009 Le Mans 24-Hour race, he was escorted to the car to meet the team principals surrounded by photographers prior to leaving the track before the start.
After the race HRH Prince Michael of Kent visited the team to offer his congratulations on their performance.
Team Modena 'Old Boys' Sample Le Mans Success
Current and former Team Modena drivers tasted success at Le Mans, in a variety of classes.
"Drivers past and present for Team Modena had a good Le Mans," said Graham. "David Brabham was in the race winning car, while Antonio Garcia won LM GT1 again, and Jaime Melo won in GT2. Both Antonio and Jaime will be back with us for the remaining Le Mans Series races."
David Brabham was one of the drivers who took the Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 to ninth overall at Le Mans in 2006, while Antonio (a Team Modena regular) and Jaime were part of the crew who, along with Leo claimed second place in Spa's LMS round last month.
Leo Mansell Samples his First Le Mans
Leo was the first of the Mansell family to race at Le Mans, with father Nigel making his first visit to the race. From the driver's parade in the town centre on Friday night to the excitement of the finish of the race, Leo enjoyed every moment of the unique Le Mans experience.
"It was amazing," said Leo after the driver parade, "the amount of people there was way more than I thought there would be and it was great for the fans. You could get close to the fans, talk, sign autographs and you don't get that in many forms of racing. It was good fun, great to see the old cars, and I really enjoyed it."
In his final race stint Leo and team manager Hans Muelhbauer worked together to place the Ferrari on the track with the lead cars as they took the chequered flag - Team Modena's Ferrari seen on TV screens across the world.
"I had no idea what it would be like before the race," said Leo afterwards, "just staying awake and keeping yourself pushing for 24-Hours is hard and for the car to be as reliable as it did is amazing. I have done as much driving as the rest of the season in one week and I was getting so much for feel for the car.
"It worked out really well at the end and I crossed the line with the leaders, I am not sure how happy they will be about it but it was good for us and a brilliant way to finish!
"Would I do it again? Yes.but not for two or three days!"
Our extensive Le Mans Gallery on the Team Modena web-site features pictures from all through the race - and Leo following the winners across the line at the end of the race.
IMAGE GALLERY - Ferrari 430 GT at Le Mans, Race weekend - (180 images) Courtesy of John Brooks
Le Mans 2009 - the Facts and Figures
Endurance racing and a team's performance in the races are closely measured, providing a wealth of fact and figures about the event and Team Modena's achievements.
- Class Position 7th (17 starters in LM GT2)
- Overall Position: 27th (from 55 starters)
- Laps: 314
- Distance Completed: 4,279.5km (2,658.8 miles, or London to Baghdad, with another 100 miles of driving left)
- Fastest Lap: 4m09.036s
- Average Race Speed: 178.091kmh
- Pit Stops: 28
- Total Time in Pits: 1h00m17.392s
- Longest Stop: 11m33s (after Roman Rusinov was hit from behind and fired off circuit at 3am Sunday Morning)
Next Race: Le Mans Series, August 1st and 2nd, Algarve Circuit, Portugal.