Nurburgring: Drayson Racing qualifying report

Drayson Racing qualified eighth-quickest in LMGT2 class for tomorrow's 1,000km of Nurburgring. However, as a result of a required engine change following a failure at the last round in Algarve, Portugal, the No. 87 Drayson Racing Aston ...

Drayson Racing qualified eighth-quickest in LMGT2 class for tomorrow's 1,000km of Nurburgring. However, as a result of a required engine change following a failure at the last round in Algarve, Portugal, the No. 87 Drayson Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT2 will take the grid 13th, last, in class. Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK), who will share the Drayson Racing entry with Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK), lapped the 5.148km (3.198 miles) Nurburgring Grand Prix course with a time of one minute, 59.442 seconds.

The Le Mans Series requires each team to run a minimum of two, 1,000km races on a single engine between rebuilds. An internal engine component failure while running in the top-five at Algarve necessitated the replacement of the V8 powerplant entering this weekend. Any time a team replaces the engine between the allocated two races it receives a ten grid-position penalty. Therefore, the eighth-quickest time set by Cocker pushes the No. 87 to the back of the 13 car field.

Cocker turned only two laps before the team decided to park the car for the remainder of the session. This move helped save the Michelin tyres, which were new at the start of the session. Le Mans Series regulations require that a car start the event with the same tyres on which they qualified. Therefore, team manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT. USA) chose to park the car when there were no further position gains to be made.

Despite the frustration of starting at the back of the field, the Banbury, England-based operation is encouraged by a recent Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) rules change lowering the overall ride-height of the Aston Martin Vantage GT2. The team is now allowed to race the car five millimetres (5mm) lower than earlier this season. The lower ride-height allows the team to take far greater advantage of the aerodynamics moving under the car. The result is much higher downforce without substantially increasing drag giving the car far superior cornering ability. The overall increase in performance should be a boon to the operation as they find the "sweet spot" on the car's new aerodynamic characteristics. The very popular "Licence to Le Mans" series profiling Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker's 2008 campaign in North America will have its first episode re-aired Sunday evening on Dave in the United Kingdom. The network will be showing the entire, behind-the-scenes look at Drayson's effort to earn an invitation to the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans - a milestone the team passed in June. The first episode will be re-broadcasted at 18:30 on 23 August. The remaining episodes will follow each subsequent Sunday.

Jonny Cocker, Driver:

"Up till now it has been a little bit of a tough week. We got the news that we received the waiver from the ACO allowing us to run the car lower than we have previously been able to. Potentially we can gain a performance advantage but it is not quite as simple as that. We have had quite a bit of work to do to get the car balanced on the new ride height. We got there at the end. I was pleased with the lap I did in qualifying. It was what I had aimed for in my head as far as what I thought would be achievable. The nature of the circuit doesn't suit us but it really favours the Ferrari. A little disappointing not to be further up the grid but it is very close. We have the ten place drop from the engine failure so we are going to be starting from the back but we should be able to avoid the inevitable confusion everyone has here at the first corner. We know that we have great race pace relative to the other cars so we just need to play to our strengths. Hopefully, with a bit of reliability, we can finish this one."

Dale White, Team Manager:

"We knew going into the weekend that we would be forced to the back of the field due to the engine change. But that didn't worry us too much. We showed at the Algarve how well the car can start so we are confident that Jonny will be able to race his way back up the field pretty quickly. The ride height change was a big help for the car. We will be able to take better advantage of the car's aerodynamics. That will really pay off in the race."

-credit: drayson

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Paul Drayson , Jonny Cocker