Banbury, England - 29th April 2002: Team Ascari has today announced that Britain's Ben Collins (27) will drive with South African Werner Lupberger (26) at this years 24 Hours of Le Mans as the British sportscar marque makes its final preparations...
Banbury, England - 29th April 2002: Team Ascari has today announced that Britain's Ben Collins (27) will drive with South African Werner Lupberger (26) at this years 24 Hours of Le Mans as the British sportscar marque makes its final preparations for the weekends Preliminary Practise Sessions in France.
The decision underlines the teams intention to present the best possible line-up for its one-car assault on the French Classic and ends weeks of speculation as to whom, from an original team of six drivers, would pilot the Ascari KZR1. The announcement of the third driver will be made shortly.
Last week the car completed more than 1000km in testing at the Paul Ricard circuit, proving competitive against Bentley, Courage and Dallara and further demonstrating the potential of Team Ascari to take on the might of the establishment at Le Mans.
Ian Dawson, Race Director, Team Ascari:
"Werner and Ben have been outstanding performers for Team Ascari and the decision to invite them to drive at Le Mans reflects our intention to compete at the event with the strongest possible package. The current test and development programme is clearly demonstrating the outstanding performance capabilities of the Ascari KZR1, now matched by the quality and talent of our driver line-up. We will use the time between this weekends practise and qualifying on the 12th June for further refinements to the KZR1 and more testing to ensure that team and drivers are thoroughly prepared."
Ben Collins, Driver, Team Ascari:
"I can now concentrate fully on preparation for the 24 Hours, hearing the decision was the best phone-call of the year and I am determined to prove the team has made the right decision. Last year was a steep learning curve for Team Ascari at Le Mans and the team and car equipped themselves well. This year the KZR1 is fast, reliable and has true potential whilst Werner and myself are one year older and a lot more experienced in competing over long distances."
"Last year at Le Mans I gained a greater appreciation of the historical importance of the event and the performance levels it demands of driver and machine. It will be a privilege to return and I shall be doing everything possible to ensure that the Le Mans 2002 is an historic landmark for Team Ascari."
The Preliminary Practice Sessions take place on Sunday 5th May, with the 70th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans commencing at 4pm (local time) on Saturday 15th June.