Adrian Fernandez to Drive in 24 Hours of Le Mans Becomes First Mexican Driver in Over a Decade to Contest World's Most Famous Endurance Race SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (May 18, 2007) -- Adrian Fernandez will add another milestone to his driving ...
Adrian Fernandez to Drive in 24 Hours of Le Mans
Becomes First Mexican Driver in Over a Decade to Contest World's Most Famous Endurance Race
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (May 18, 2007) -- Adrian Fernandez will add another milestone to his driving resume on June 16 as Mexico's most popular driver prepares to compete in the world famous endurance race -- the 24 Hours of Le Mans -- at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. Fernandez will be driving a Lowe's-sponsored LMP2 sports car for the Zytek Group based in Banbury, England. He will be part of a three-driver line-up for the factory effort that will feature the new Zytek 07S LMP2 chassis powered by a Zytek V-8 engine on Michelin tires.
"I have been fortunate to compete in a number of prestigious races over the course of my career and competing at Le Mans, the most famous endurance race in the world, has always been at the top of my list of things I wanted to accomplish," said Fernandez, who currently competes in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with co-driver Luis Diaz aboard the #15 Lowe's Acura-powered Lola sports car as well as select NASCAR Busch Series races for Hendrick Motorsports and Team Lowe's Racing.
"Our goal is to one day compete at Le Mans with our own Acura-powered team -- Lowe's Fernandez Racing -- so I am very thankful for the opportunity to partner with Zytek this year and learn about this event. From what I understand, Le Mans is like no other race so this will be a good dry run and learning experience for us. In the process, I hope to bring a good result home as well."
Zytek, a diverse motorsports manufacturer whose capabilities include complete competition packages -- chassis, engine, electronics and wiring -- for a variety of racing categories will prepare and maintain the Lowe's 24 Hours of Le Mans entry. The company has enjoyed much success in the sports car arena including a second-place LMP2 class finish at Le Mans in 2006 with the Zytek-powered Binnie Motorsports team and a second-place run last September with its own chassis and engine combination in the 10-Hour Petit Le Mans ALMS event at Road Atlanta. Lowe's Fernandez Racing's ALMS car utilizes Zytek's electrically-assisted gearshift system (Zytek EGS) -- a manual paddle-change operation for its 6-speed sequential gearbox.
"Zytek will handle the entire Le Mans effort," noted Fernandez. "All testing, race preparations, pit stops, strategy, you name it. We will have some of our team there to learn as well. My partner in the team, Tom Anderson, will be going as well as [general manager] Steve Miller, [team manager] Mike Sales and [engineer] John Hennek. I will go to England for a seat fitting after our ALMS race this weekend in Salt Lake City and then we have a test scheduled the beginning of June before the race."
This year's 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will boast one of the largest overall fields in the event's history with over 50 cars comprising four classes -- LMP1 and LMP2 for Le Mans prototypes and LMGT1 and LMGT2 for Gran Turismo or GT classes -- that compete simultaneously on one of the longest circuits in the world at 8.4 miles.
Joining Fernandez behind the wheel of the Lowe's Zytek machine will be Haruki Kurosawa [Ha-roo-key Cur-o-sow-a] of Japan. Kurosawa, 29, finished 12th at Le Mans in 2004 and brings prototype sports car racing experience to the line-up having spent the past two years competing in the European Le Mans Series at such notable circuits as Monza, Nurburgring, Spa and Silverstone. The third driver of the Zytek stable will be announced in the near future.
"Le Mans is such an historic event with drivers representing so many countries," added Fernandez. "The last time a driver from Mexico competed there was over a decade ago [Tomas Lopez in 1991] so I am looking forward to flying the colors of Mexico this year. One of my heroes, Pedro Rodriguez, won Le Mans in 1968 so this race has a very special meaning to me. To be able to repeat that feat some day would definitely be a dream come true."
The green flag for this year's 75th running of the legendary event will wave at 3:00 pm local time on June 16 and will be covered by over 133 television outlets and more than 1600 journalists.
ABOUT ADRIAN FERNANDEZ
Adrian Fernandez, 44, of Mexico City, Mexico, now residing in Scottsdale, Ariz., has enjoyed a professional racing career that spans over 20 years. He is a veteran of a 12-year career at the top levels of open-wheel racing, winning in both Champ Car and IndyCar Series competition with a career record that includes 194 starts, 11 wins and 25 podiums. Fernandez branched out to select NASCAR Busch Series races beginning in 2005 with Team Lowe's Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, and sports car competition in 2006 with Lowe's Fernandez Racing. His achievements have resulted in numerous awards including "Athlete of the Year" in Mexico, and he was recognized as one of the 300 most influential people in his homeland by a national magazine in July of 2006.
ABOUT LOWE'S FERNANDEZ RACING
Lowe's Fernandez Racing enters its first season of ALMS competition in 2007 as one of three Acura-powered LMP2 class teams. Driving talents Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz, both of Mexico City, Mexico, will campaign the #15 Lowe's Acura Lola prototype in the series' 12 rounds of competition. Lowe's, the second largest home improvement retailer in the world, has enjoyed much success in the motorsports arena including the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship with Jimmie Johnson. Fernandez Racing was formed in the fall of 2000 by Fernandez and motorsports veteran Tom Anderson. The team has won in every racing category it has contested including Champ Car, IndyCar Series and Grand Am competition.