Record Breaking Ginetta-Zyteks at Le Mans
British manufacturer represented by five prototypes at 24-hour race
The Ginetta-Zytek teams entered for this weekend's Le Mans 24-hour race will be breaking records in more ways than one. As at last month's Spa 1,000km, no fewer than five Zytek prototypes will be on the grid, the highest number of Repton-built cars ever to start the world's most famous endurance race. Driving one of the two Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S LMP1s will be Nigel Moore who, at 17 years 5 months old, will be the youngest British driver ever to compete here.
Two of the latest Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S cars will start in the LMP1 class. Danny Watts again drives the Strakka Racing entry in which, at Barcelona, he claimed overall pole position for the opening round of the Le Mans Series. Joining him, as usual, will be Peter Hardman and Nick Leventis. The second LMP1 GZ09S will be the Team LNT car that made its debut at Spa-Francorchamps. Team owner Lawrence Tomlinson will again drive this Ginetta-Zytek joined by Ginetta's global sales ambassador Richard Dean. The two are already Le Mans winners, having been victorious in the GT2 class in 2006. The third driver in the car will be young Nigel Moore, the rising star of Ginetta racing in the UK.
Three Zyteks have been entered in the LMP2 category including one of the class favourites, the Quifel-ASM Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S. Guy Smith, an outright winner at Le Mans in 2003, rejoins the team having first raced for ASM at last year's 24-hours. This will be Guy's second outing in a GZ09S as he drove the Team LNT LMP1 version at Spa, where he was one of the stars of the early laps. "I had wanted to race a Zytek for some time," said Guy. "The cars are now incredibly fast and their performance at Barcelona added a real buzz to the marque." Having narrowly missed winning a LMP2 class win in Spain, the team was leading the category in Belgium before regular driver Olivier Pla was forced off the track when an LMP1 spun in front of him. Miguel Amaral will again complete the trio of Quifel-ASM drivers.
The Portuguese team will be backed in the LMP2 class by the two Zytek 07S cars of GAC Racing Team and Team Barazi-Epsilon. The GAC (formerly Trading Performance) squad has been strengthened this year by the addition of driver Philipp Peter who has helped to remind everyone just how quick the car is. Two years ago at Le Mans this particular Zytek was the class of the LMP2 field eventually finishing second behind another Zytek-engined entry. Karim Ojjeh and Claude Yves-Gosselin who raced for Trading Performance at Le Mans last year, complete the GAC line-up.
Team Barazi-Epsilon, a two-time winner for Zytek in 2007, brings back to Le Mans the 07S that so bravely overcame adversity to finish last year's race. Team owner Juan Barazi is joined for the first time since then by Stuart Moseley and, at the last minute, by Zytek newcomer, Phil Bennett
The strength of this entry illustrates the increasing popularity of the Ginetta-Zytek chassis and also of the 4.5-litre and 3.4-litre Zytek engines that are used, respectively in the LMP1 and LMP2 classes.