FPR DRIVER JASON BRIGHT TESTS ASTON MARTIN DBR9 IN ITALY
February 13, 2006 - Ford Performance Racing (FPR) V8 Supercar driver Jason Bright has made a return to international motorsport by spending two days testing Prodrive's 2006 Aston Martin DBR9 Sportscar at the Vallelunga racing circuit in Italy.
The CAT FPR Falcon V8 Supercar driver's test on February 8 and 9 were his first ever laps at the Italian circuit, the 32 year old Victorian driver adding the race winning Prodrive Aston Martin DBR9 to the impressive repertioure of racing cars that he has driven during his successful career.
Bright took little time to familiarise himself with the Aston Martin DBR9, setting lap times that compared very favourably with Prodrive drivers Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy throughout the two day test which was held in cold and intermittently wet conditions.
Nicolas Kiesa was also testing at Vallelunga, the Dane also experiencing his first drive of the Aston Martin DBR9 during this two day test.
This international test was organised after Bright's V8 Supercar efforts gained the attention of Prodrive Aston Martin Racing Technical Director George Howard-Chappell. He had recently taken a working holiday in Australia that included visits to the final two V8 Supercar rounds along with the final test day of the 2005 season.
Prodrive is seriously considering Bright to join the factory Aston Martin Racing DBR9 team to contest a number of non-V8 Supercar Championship conflicting international events during 2006 that include the Sebring 12 Hour, the Petit Le Mans event and the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hour.
Bright has previously tested and competed in other international motor racing categories including US Formula Ford 2000, Indy Lights, Champ Cars and World Sportscars. The FPR driver was naturally delighted to have gained this rare testing opportunity with Prodrive.
"It was very rewarding to be invited to take part in this test despite the tough season that we endured in 2005. I also feel very privileged as this is the first time that an FPR driver has been selected to test with an international Prodrive team. It recognises all of the hard work that went into last season," he said.
"I have been fortunate in terms of having raced and tested in a number of different racing cars during my career and the Aston Martin DBR9 is a very impressive racecar. The biggest thing is the downforce - there are a couple of very quick corners at Vallelunga, particularly the first turn. The downforce and the grip there was pretty impressive and it was probably the hardest thing for me to get used to as I have not driven anything with considerable downforce since 2000," he added.
Bright's second day in the Aston Martin DBR9 saw him take part in detailed tyre testing, completing 48 laps and matching the pace being set by his Prodrive colleagues.
According to Tim Edwards, FPR Motorsport Director, "Jason's selection to test with Prodrive Aston Martin Racing reflects the truly global nature of this motor racing company. This test was also an excellent opportunity for Jason to gain valuable experience working with Aston Martin Racing's engineers and to build his race fitness ahead of the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar Championship opener."
Bright's fleeting visit also included a day visiting Prodrive's technical headquarters in the United Kingdom prior to the two day test in Italy.
Prodrive is expected to announce the Aston Martin Racing DBR9 Sebring 12 Hour, Le Mans 24 Hour and Petit Le Mans event driver line up in due course.