Corvette Racing won't again be alone in the GT1 category of the American Le Mans Series in 2008. That's because on Monday, Bell Motorsports announced it will campaign an Aston Martin DBR9, to go up against the factory C6.Rs. Bell has joined forces...
Corvette Racing won't again be alone in the GT1 category of the American Le Mans Series in 2008. That's because on Monday, Bell Motorsports announced it will campaign an Aston Martin DBR9, to go up against the factory C6.Rs. Bell has joined forces with businessman and car owner Michael Fux for an expected full-season program. The new entry was seen on-track for the first time during this week's annual Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway.
"To be able to announce Aston Martin's return to GT1 in the American Le Mans Series is special enough," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series, "but for that effort to involve Jim Bell and new partner Michael Fux truly makes this news particularly satisfying. Jim has been involved with the American Le Mans Series since the inaugural Petit Le Mans and has proven record of success in many forms of motorsport. The combination of Jim's experience and the potent Aston Martin DBR9 will no doubt keep Corvette Racing on its toes all season."
Bell Motorsports is no stranger to the ALMS, having most recently been behind Tim Pappas' Team Trans Sport Porsche effort in 2007. Bell is also fully aware of the challenges to compete in the GT1 class. In 2005, he was the lead engineer for the ACEMCO Motorsports Saleen team, which proved to be one of Corvette Racing's chief rivals. In a twist of dej? vu, Bell will once again be facing the mights of the Pratt & Miller factory team, but this time with an Aston Martin.
"Aston Martin always has made a premium race car and automobile," said Bell, "and there is no better place to showcase a premium brand than in the American Le Mans Series. Having been involved with the Series since its inception, I know it will be an extraordinary challenge but it's one we all relish and look forward to. We enjoyed competing in the American Le Mans Series with the ACEMCO Saleen S7R against Corvette Racing in 2005 and at Le Mans in 2006. I think we have developed a mutual, competitive respect for one another, and having the chance to rekindle that in 2008 makes me proud and eager with anticipation."
Fux, a successful businessman and car collector, is delighted to team with Bell for this program: "I could not think a better person with whom to partner," he said. "Jim's experience and success is legendary within sports car racing, and Aston Martin certainly has had more than its fair share of racing success around the globe. We're eager to get started, and the Sebring Winter Test is just the first step."
Aston Martin has claimed six series wins, including their debut victory at Sebring in 2005. With Bell's previous knowledge and expertise in the GT1 category, it wouldn't surprise many to see this new entry challenge the Corvettes at some point in the season.
"Michael's enthusiasm for this project just reinforces the dedication we have in putting a highly competitive race team and car on the track," Bell added. "We hope we can make things interesting this year for the Corvettes and especially fans. They have clamored for competition, and we intend to give it our best shot."
Team Modena, which ran a DBR9 at Sebring last year, had crew members at the track Monday to help get Bell Motorsports up to speed with its new car. This included Spanish ace Antonio Garcia, who helped shake down the Aston Martin. Jamie Camara and Chapman Ducote were also on-hand sharing the driving duties. The team's full-season drivers and complete program will be announced at a later date.