Sebring: Drayson Racing preview

Drayson Racing Full Commitment Shown with Sebring Approach SEBRING, FL., USA - Drayson Racing has been preparing for the 58th Running of the 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida since August, 2009. It was then that the United ...

Drayson Racing Full Commitment Shown with Sebring Approach

SEBRING, FL., USA - Drayson Racing has been preparing for the 58th Running of the 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida since August, 2009. It was then that the United Kingdom-based team turned its full attention on the Le Mans Prototype One (LMP1) category with intent to show its full hand in the new year. On 20 March, eight months of dedication will come to a head as drivers Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK), Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) and Emanuele Pirro (Rome) charge the No. 8 Drayson Racing Lola Coupe with Judd Power into turn one of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season-opener at the 3.7-mile/5.9Km Sebring International Raceway.

Since making the move to the LMP1 class - the most technologically advanced sports cars in the world - Drayson Racing has held little reserve in its effort to challenge the factory efforts and more experienced privateer prototype teams. The hire of five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Pirro is an example of the team's commitment to victory. Pirro has won the 12 Hours twice with the Audi works team and is familiar with what must be done to achieve victory in one of the harshest sports car environments on the schedule. The Italian's involvement backs-up the already strong driver pairing of Drayson and Cocker. The two Britons impressed in their first four prototype events earning two fastest race laps and the Michelin ® Green X® Challenge in the Asian Le Mans Series event at Okayama, Japan last November.

The team has also stacked the deck with its operations personnel. Pirro's pair of Sebring overall victories are added to the 2005 GT2 class victory and multiple Sebring podiums of Team Manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA). A number of Drayson team members also enjoy 12 Hour class victories. Other endurance race successes are overwhelming on the family-oriented team.

Work has continued on the technical side as well. During the off-season, the Lola Coupe has undergone a massive makeover. Now swathed in new, low-drag, high-downforce bodywork from nose to tail, the Lola also enjoys substantial suspension and other detail updates to take full advantage of the re-worked Judd V10 engine. The Judd, now running on second generation E85 ethanol, will benefit from a larger air restrictor delivering an additional 50 horsepower over the 2009 unit the team won the pole position with at Okayama. Leaving no stone unturned, Drayson engineer Graham Moore (UK) joined Lola Cars engineers for extensive seven-post rig testing of the chassis at Lola's factory in England. Additionally, Michelin has continued to fine tune its Pilot Sport Racing Slick which Drayson will again utilise in 2010.

Quotes

Lady Drayson, Owner: "When we decided last year to step up from GT2 to LMP1 we knew this would present an immense challenge to an independent family team like us. Our decision to make the switch six months before the start of the 2010 season and compete in four races in 2009 has given us the time and experience to prepare fully for the ALMS championship this year. The combination of the new, very experienced personnel joining the team, the new for 2010 Lola B10/60 race car with improved aero, Judd V10 engine optimised to run on advanced second generation fuel and Emanuele Pirro in the driving seat is a formidable combination with which to begin the new season."

Paul Drayson, Owner/Driver: "Having raced at Sebring twice before in GT2 I'm well aware of how the first race in the ALMS championship season is also the toughest on the car and the drivers - so I'm really happy that this isn't my first race in a Le Mans Prototype! Having the experience of four races last year, and in particular the success we had in Japan, and knowing the development that has gone on since then gives me huge confidence in our potential in the ALMS championship this year. I have put a lot of work into my personal preparation and I am really looking forward to Sebring week. To be racing an LMP1 in front of the enormous, expert and enthusiastic crowd of Sebring fans will be an unforgettable experience. You can't ask for better than that!"

Jonny Cocker, Driver: "I think the experience that we gathered as a team competing in three race weekends last year is completely invaluable. I feel confident that we, as a team, are on the pace. As a driver, I am far more comfortable with the car and in a position now to develop and drive things forward rather than purely learning. Sebring is quite a different circuit to any other. There is a real mix of fast and slow corners and the bumps really throw in another factor! I'm looking forward to applying my knowledge of the circuit and comparing how it feels to drive the Drayson Lola LMP1 car round Sebring compared to the GT2 Vantage. I can't wait to get back into the car!"

Emanuele Pirro, Driver: "Going back in a LMP1 car is very exciting for me. When I retired from active racing I definitely underestimated the 'addiction' I have for my beloved sport! Despite the fact that my role as Audi Brand Ambassador is rewarding and fulfilling, I realised during the course of the whole last year, that I have been missing driving a fast car and it has been difficult for me. The feelings that a prototype can give you are unique. It seems like yesterday when I was driving the final laps in Laguna Seca, 2008 of what was going to be my last prototype race. I was enjoying every single meter of the race track and in the same time crying inside the helmet!"

Dale White, Team Manager: "This has been the target since we made the decision to change classes. The 12 Hours of Sebring is a special event and we are putting everything into it. I'm really excited by the whole programme we are bringing here. Piece-by-piece we have assembled a great group and a great package to go racing. Everything we have learned at Petit, Laguna and in Japan will start to show here."

-source: drayson racing

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Series ALMS
Drivers Graham Moore , Paul Drayson , Jonny Cocker , Emanuele Pirro