Sebring: Aston Martin Friday report

Aston Martin Racing Prepares for DBR9 Debut Aston Martin makes its eagerly anticipated return to motor sport this weekend in the 53rd Annual 12 Hours of Sebring, marking a return to the company's racing roots. The two DBR9 entries will ...

Aston Martin Racing Prepares for DBR9 Debut

Aston Martin makes its eagerly anticipated return to motor sport this weekend in the 53rd Annual 12 Hours of Sebring, marking a return to the company's racing roots.

The two DBR9 entries will line-up alongside one another on the GT1 starting grid for Saturday's gruelling endurance race, in 4th and 5th place respectively. With torrential rainfall causing the cancellation of today's qualifying session, grid positioning was determined by the best times achieved in Wednesday's practice.

Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell said: "The weather has obviously been a little disruptive to our pre-race preparations and we would have preferred the opportunity to qualify properly. That said, qualifying is not important for a 12-hour race.

"On a demanding circuit and amongst such an established field of competitors, this race will provide an excellent test for our DBR9s. This is the next phase in our preparations for Le Mans and whatever the outcome of Saturday's race, it will prove a valuable learning experience for us.

Car 58, driven by Peter Kox, Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin starts in fourth place on the GT1 grid, with David Brabham, Stephane Ortelli and Darren Turner piloting car 57 which starts one place behind in fifth.

The Aston Martin Racing driver with most Sebring experience, David Brabham, who scored a podium finish at the circuit in 2003, commented: "In an endurance race like this grid positioning is less relevant. We've made some good progress this week and the team is in good shape."

Car 57 co-driver, Darren Turner, making his second appearance at Sebring added: "We've covered some real ground during our testing and have gone from a car which was perhaps a little difficult to drive, to a very reasonable race package which all the drivers are happy with. We made good progress on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to honing the finer details of the car in Friday's planned practice."

Stephane Ortelli, who joins David Brabham and Darren Turner in car 57, enthused: "I've competed against both David and Darren before now and I must say that I'm delighted to be on their team for a change! I feel very much part of the family with this team and it's a great opportunity for me."

Looking ahead to the race, Peter Kox, who will drive in car 58 said: "I think we're in decent shape. Reliability this week has been good and this will be a real test. At this stage in the programme, completing the whole 12 hours will be a real achievement."

Co-driver in car 58, Pedro Lamy admits: "Sebring is an extremely tough circuit and the 12 Hours will be a very demanding race, especially if the weather is very hot and we need to be ready for that. Finishing is the main objective."

Sebring debutant, Stephane Sarrazin adds: "This all new to me - the car, the circuit and the series, but we have a very enthusiastic team here and I'm really looking forward to getting behind the wheel."

Aston Martin last appeared at Sebring in 1983 when one of the two prototypes - the Nimrod - finished fifth overall. The company has a lengthy history at the Sebring circuit dating back to 1950 when three DB2s competed in what was then a 6-hour competition. In 1953 a DB3 achieved Aston Martin's best ever finish with a class win and an overall second place. Some three years later, driving a DB3S, the Le Mans winning team of Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori took fourth place overall and in 1958 Stirling Moss set the fastest race lap in a DBR1.

-www.astonmartinracing.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Darren Turner , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Stéphane Ortelli , Peter Kox , George Howard-Chappell
Teams Aston Martin Racing