Team Modena Update - LMS, ALMS, and British GT The 2008 season has already been a busy one for Team Modena, with the team preparing for the opening of the Le Mans Series season as well as racing in the British GT Championship and supporting Bell...
Team Modena Update - LMS, ALMS, and British GT
The 2008 season has already been a busy one for Team Modena, with the team preparing for the opening of the Le Mans Series season as well as racing in the British GT Championship and supporting Bell Motorsport in the US.
Le Mans Series Opens At Barcelona
The 2008 Le Mans Series season starts this coming weekend with a 1000km race at the Circuit de Catalunya near to Barcelona, and once more the Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 will be a front-runner in the GT1 category. With the car now running to the latest factory specification and a strong driver line-up featuring Team Modena regular Antonio Garcia and the very experienced Tomas Enge, hopes are high that the team can start the season with an impressive performance.
"We have done a lot of work to bring the car up to the latest specification," says Team Principal Graham Schultz, "we have the latest engine, new air conditioning, and have even made some changes to the livery of the car. Over the winter we had the time to carry out a lot of the changes we have wanted to make, and now it is in the latest Aston Martin Racing format. We probably have the best driver line-up in GT1, and it should be good for us in Barcelona."
"We can't wait to start the LMS season," says Sporting Director Rik Bryan. "Our driver line-up is really strong and we have the car now in the very latest specification, so it could be a good season for us. As ever in the LMS the opposition will be tough, there are good cars out there with strong competitive drivers, but we will be competitive and on the pace."
Garcia has completed more races in the Team Modena Aston Martin than any other driver, including twice racing at Le Mans and once at Sebring for the team. He is joined for 2008 by Tomas Enge who has raced in Formula One and has DBR9 experience with Aston Martin Racing - including the American Le Mans Series and Le Mans itself in recent seasons. The duo recently had a successful test of the car at Donington Park.
Opposition in the GT1 category this weekend comes from some very experienced car and driver combinations. The Saleen is always quick in LMS competition, and the two Chevrolet Corvettes from the Luc Alphand Adventures team will be in the hunt as ever. The 215-laps of the 1000km of Catalunya is scheduled to start at 11.35am local time on Sunday April 6th, with a 15-minute qualifying session for the GT1 cars at 14.15 on Saturday afternoon.
The link-up between Team Modena and Bell Motorsport had its competition debut at the recent Sebring 12-Hours race, Modena crew and regular driver Antonio Garcia helping the team who ran second in the GT1 class for much of the race with their Aston Martin. The Team Modena presence stirred up media speculation about the team's future plans regarding the American Le Mans Series, which Sporting Director Rik Bryan is keen to clarify:
"We have developed a synergistic and successful relationship with Bell Motorsport," says Rik, "and we will now work together through the 2008 ALMS season. This gives us the chance to do more races in the ALMS, which may present more opportunities for us in the future."
British GT - Work Underway on Gallardo Repairs
Team Modena The opening round of the 2008 Avon Tyres British GT Championship proved to be a short one for Team Modena. On the exit of the first corner of the opening race at Oulton Park, Piers Johnson was pushed wide by another car forcing the Lamborghini onto the grass, where it dug into the soft turf and was launched into a roll.
The Gallardo is now back at the Lamborghini Wycombe work shops where it is based, which is one of the few facilities in Europe with the equipment necessary to return the chassis to pristine condition. With the next British GT races scheduled for Knockhill in Scotland on April, 12th / 13th, and the team off to Barcelona for the opening Le Mans Series race this week, time will be tight to re-fettle the Lamborghini.
"We had to strip the car down to assess the damage," said Team Principal Graham Schultz, "and can see there is a lot of work to do. With the first LMS race fast approaching we had to focus on the Aston Martin this week before it left for Barcelona, and the crew will then work on the Lamborghini before they leave for that race.
"I feel right now that Oulton Park is not a circuit for modern GT cars. Ours was not the only big incident there at the weekend, and there were cars damaged last year when the series visited. At the moment, I don't think we will be racing there again."
Piers was unhurt in the dramatic incident, the strength of the Lamborghini seeing him walk away from the high-speed incident.
"I got a nice clean start, and got to the inside of the first corner," said Piers. "That put me on the right with a Viper on my left, and I didn't want to be on the outside through Cascades, so I lifted off to let him past, but he kept squeezing me and I ended up on the grass. From then on I was just a passenger and unfortunately the car dug in and rolled over."
Opening Le Mans Series Race: Catalunya, Barcelona, April 5th / 6th 2008