Lowe's Fernandez Racing Joins Acura ALMS Effort INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 20, 2006) -- Lowe's Fernandez Racing announced today it will race an Acura-powered Lola in the 2007 American Le Mans Series in Acura's factory LMP2 class competition ...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Joins Acura ALMS Effort
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 20, 2006) -- Lowe's Fernandez Racing announced today it will race an Acura-powered Lola in the 2007 American Le Mans Series in Acura's factory LMP2 class competition program.
The Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura Lola will make its competition debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, 2007, along with two other Acura-powered LMP2 prototype teams, racing against full factory and manufacturer-supported efforts from Audi, Porsche and Mazda, and a variety of well-equipped independent teams.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for Lowe's Fernandez Racing," said owner-driver Adrian Fernandez. "I have a long association with the Honda family. When Robert Clarke [president of Honda Performance Development] asked if we wanted to be part of this opportunity, Lowe's Fernandez Racing jumped at the chance. My first major open-wheel win was with Honda power back in 1996. To be able to join them in this new endeavor a decade later means a lot to me personally. Honda has been tremendously successful in their open-wheel programs, and everyone at Lowe's Fernandez Racing is looking forward to helping them reach that level of achievement with Acura in ALMS."
"This was a natural extension of our great affiliation with Honda and everyone at HPD [Honda Performance Development]," added owner and managing director Tom Anderson, whose 10-year relationship with the manufacturer includes four series championships. "As a result of Honda's determination to be successful, they recently celebrated their 100th open-wheel race victory and Adrian and I are proud to be a part of that remarkable number. Sports car racing was a new challenge for us this year, and we proved our competitiveness on more than one occasion. We look forward to building on our experience and continuing as part of the Acura program as we make our debut in the American Le Mans Series."
Clarke also noted that its long association with Fernandez Racing played a major role in its decision to invite Lowe's Fernandez Racing to join its ALMS effort.
"Adrian Fernandez, Tom Anderson and their team have been an integral part of both our IndyCar and CART racing programs," Clarke said. "With Acura's entry in the American Le Mans Series, it is entirely appropriate that we continue our relationship with the Fernandez organization in our newest racing program."
Fernandez Racing currently fields two teams in the IndyCar Series under the Delphi Fernandez Racing and Super Aguri Fernandez Racing banners. In 2006, Fernandez Racing and Lowe's initiated a sports car racing program, taking part in the Grand Am Rolex Series. To date, Fernandez and Brazilian Mario Haberfeld have won the qualifying race at Phoenix in May and the Mid-Ohio race in June, and claimed three additional top-eight finishes in their debut season.
Lowe's officials said this commitment to sports car racing comes on top of its extensive sponsorship of NASCAR teams and venues.
"Lowe's has enjoyed its expansion into sports car racing because it has exposed us to a whole new world of race fans," said Bob Gfeller, senior vice president of marketing and advertising at Lowe's. "Our investment in sports car racing is also an important part of our sports marketing initiative. Adrian is a great spokesman for Lowe's we are glad to follow him to the ALMS. We think this move will excite our employees and customers."
Fernandez realizes he will have a busy schedule before the first race.
"We have a lot of work to do," said Fernandez. "We plan to take delivery of our Lola later this month and will prepare it for Acura's first test at the end of August. It's going to be a pretty busy few months getting ready for Sebring, but I am confident the Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola will be ready."
Additional announcements regarding Lowe's Fernandez Racing's new ALMS program will be made in the coming months.
Fernandez is Mexico's premier driver. He was nominated for Mexico's National Sports Award -- the 2004 Premio Nacional del Deporte -- for his career achievements in auto racing. Fernandez has been the past recipient of numerous awards including "Athlete of the Year" in Mexico. He was most recently recognized at the Premios Fox Sports Awards for his contributions to Latin American auto racing.
American Le Mans Series draws on the heritage of long-distance "endurance" sports car racing in both Europe and the United States as personified by the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 10-race domestic series includes the 12 Hours of Sebring -- a U.S. fixture since 1952 -- plus events at the country's premier road circuits, including Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park and Road Atlanta.
The ALMS is one of the fastest-growing racing series in the U.S. Five of the 10 races in 2006 are broadcast by CBS, with the remaining five events on the cable/satellite Speed Channel.
The Acura ALMS program will feature the first racing engine completely designed and developed in-house by Honda Performance Development of Santa Clarita, California, Honda's wholly-owned racing subsidiary. It also will mark the first time HPD has taken on multiple concurrent motorsports programs in both the ALMS and IRL.
ABOUT LOWE'S RACING:
Lowe's is in its fifth year as primary sponsor of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo, driven by Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. In 2006, Sta-Green, Spectracide, Shop-Vac, Pella, Hitachi Power Tools and Kobalt return to the Busch Series, supporting the No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet driven by veteran Kyle Busch. Lowe's, the second largest home improvement retailer in the world, also operates one of the largest fan clubs in the sport. For more information on Team Lowe's Racing, visit Lowesracing.com.
Fernandez Racing was formed in the fall of 2000 by Mexican driving talent Adrian Fernandez and motorsports veteran Tom Anderson. The team has grown to encompass the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing and Delphi Fernandez Racing teams, which currently contest the IndyCar Series with drivers Kosuke Matsuura and Scott Sharp respectively, and Lowe's Fernandez Racing which competes with Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld in the Grand Am Rolex Series.