ASTON MARTIN RACING BOASTING ELITE DRIVER LINEUP FOR ATTEMPT AT SEBRING CLASS REPEAT Aston Martin Racing has confirmed its driver lineup for next month's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which will open the 2006 American Le Mans ...
ASTON MARTIN RACING BOASTING ELITE DRIVER LINEUP FOR ATTEMPT AT SEBRING CLASS REPEAT
Aston Martin Racing has confirmed its driver lineup for next month's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which will open the 2006 American Le Mans Series season.
In Sebring, the Aston Martin DBR9 with red highlights will be driven by Tomas Enge (Czech Republic), Darren Turner (UK) and Formula One driver Nicolas Kiesa of Denmark, who will make his debut in an Aston Martin.
The DBR9 with yellow highlights will be driven by Aston Martin regulars Pedro Lamy (Portugal) and Stephane Sarrazin (France) along with newcomer Jason Bright, a standout from the Australian V8 Supercar Championship.
George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal of Aston Martin Racing, said: "I'm very pleased with the team of drivers we've got for Sebring. I think we have an exciting and dynamic mix of established Aston Martin drivers and some new faces who bring with them a wealth of related experience. Last year our performance at Sebring far exceeded our expectations but we're not underestimating the challenge this time, especially from the factory Corvette team. I've no doubt it's going to be a very tough race but I've every confidence that our drivers will give us the best possible chance of a good result."
Kiesa and Bright, the two new Aston Martin Racing drivers, first drove the DBR9 at a test session at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy. "It was my first ever test in a sports car. Previously I've only raced single-seaters so I didn't really know what to expect," said Kiesa. "But I was very impressed. The team helped me adjust quickly to the car and it's actually very easy to drive. By midday on Day Two I was lapping as quickly as the regular drivers and was able to give feedback on some new aerodynamic parts. There's no doubt I'm part of a team with the potential to win. I am very aware of the challenge ahead and can't wait to get started."
Bright added, "I'm very excited. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I can't wait to compete at some of the world's most prestigious motor races with Aston Martin Racing. Being able to draw upon the high level of experience that exists with this team should also help my Australian V8 Supercar Championship campaign."
Both Bright and Kiesa made strong impressions on the team's regular drivers. Turner, part of the winning GT1 trio from Sebring a year ago, was especially pleased following the Vallelunga sessions.
"I watched Jason and Nicolas testing in Vallelunga and they both did a very good job," Turner said. "The other three guys have already proved their speed in the team, so I think overall we're a strong group of contenders. Of course it would be great to repeat last year's result but it's going to be hard work. We'll do everything we can though. We've a great team of people supporting us and I think either car is capable of being quick enough to win."
The American Le Mans Series begins its 2006 season with the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The 12-hour endurance classic is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST on March 18 at Sebring International Raceway. It will be televised live on SPEED Channel in North America and MotorsTV in Europe. In addition, Greenlight-Television will distribute the race worldwide to more than 510 million households. American Le Mans Series Radio will have flag- to-flag coverage available at www.americanlemans.com, along with IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.