British Team Bringing Unique DBA-Zytek Prototype, Confidence and Fun Attitude To American Le Mans Series Braselton, GA - With a throwback "race hard, play hard" outlook, the Creation Autosportif racing team from England will come to America with...
British Team Bringing Unique DBA-Zytek Prototype, Confidence and Fun Attitude To American Le Mans Series
Braselton, GA - With a throwback "race hard, play hard" outlook, the Creation Autosportif racing team from England will come to America with a unique DBA-Zytek Prototype to compete in the final two events of the 2004 American Le Mans Series season.
And the team is making the trip with a great deal of confidence that it will not only be competitive, but also win one of the races with the car it calls the "Blue Rocket."
Creation, a team that was formed in late 2002 by American-born Michael Jankowski, a London business executive, and Ian Bickerton of England, owns the only DBA4-03S chassis ever built and has been racing the very fast car this season in the Le Mans Endurance Series in Europe. The car will be in the LMP1 class in the ALMS.
"We have this 'thing' going called MOJO," said Bickerton. "It's an 'Austin Powers' type outlook on life. We tend to have a quirky outlook on life and the whole racing business. That's not to say we are not totally serious about racing. We work hard and try to get the best results we can, but we also like to have a bit of fun."
The team, which also competes with a Lister in the FIA GT Series, will be racing in America for the first time when it competes in Chevy presents Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Sep. 22-25, and then in the Fry's Electronics Sports Car Championships event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., Oct. 14-16. Experienced and successful drivers Jamie Campbell-Walter of England and Nicolas Minassian of France will steer, with a third driver to be named to join them for the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans.
"Racing in America is what Michael (Jankowski) and I have talked about a lot since we started the team," said Bickerton. "Since he's from California, he's wanted to come back to America and show off his team a bit. We didn't have what we needed until we bought the Prototype. Once we got that car, doing some American races became a priority."
The two American Le Mans Series events will fit into a very busy September and October schedule for Creation, which will also contest the LMES race at Spa, Belgium, next weekend, as well as FIA GT events in Italy, Dubai and China. "We've gone from a team that just raced around Europe to a team that's going to many parts of the world," said Bickerton. "Logistically, it's a challenge for us, with six fulltime guys, and a few young mercenaries who turn up and help us at the races."
Bickerton feels that Creation Autosportif will make a strong showing in the ALMS, especially after getting one more 1,000-kilometer ELMS event under its belt before the Petit Le Mans. He has confidence in his drivers and in the DBA.
"In my book, Jamie is the best GT racer in the world," said Bickerton. "He's not only quick, but he's also a thinker, and he's a great team driver. Nic deserves to be back in Formula One. He was a Williams test driver and that's where he should be. The guy is an absolute mega."
Campbell-Walter, who has been a winner in FIA GT and British GT racing, has one previous ALMS start, driving a Lister LMP1 entry at Sebring in 2003. Minassian, who in 2001 raced in the Indianapolis 500 and in a partial CART schedule for Target Chip Ganassai Racing, comes from an extensive open wheel background that also includes Formula 3000 and Formula 3.
The DBA chassis was designed and built by Reynard, one of the last projects of the British race car building company before it closed. In a span of only a few weeks, the rights to the design passed into the hands of IRM, headed by Paul Shakespeare, before noted Danish racer John Nielsen bought the car and re-named it a DBA because of his sponsorship from a newspaper in Denmark.
Nielsen brought the car to the American Le Mans Series for two races, failing to finish the 2002 Petit Le Mans or the 2003 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. However, the car was fast on both circuits and Nielsen qualified fifth overall at Sebring. Creation acquired the car late in 2003 to race it this season. Although Creation owns the only DBA, two more chassis of the same design have now been built and have raced this year as Zyteks.
Creation hasn't won in the three LMES races contested so far, but it has run strongly. The car was fastest qualifier for the Nurburgring round, and finished third in that event. It qualified fourth-fastest at both Monza and Silverstone but failed to finish either race.
"We know the car is going to go well at Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca," said Bickerton. "The car is quick, and we have been working hard to make it more reliable. We don't think we'll win Petit Le Mans, but we think we'll be on the pole, and if we finish second or third, we'll be happy.
"But it's going to be a different story at Laguna Seca," he said. "That's going to be our race. We're going to show those two Audis something. We're really that confident."