Silverstone: Team Nasamax qualifying report

Green Fuel Team Nasamax Set For Its Home Race Team Nasamax returns for the third round of the Le Mans Endurance Series on Saturday 14 th August 2004, where the Nasamax Judd V10 powered by wholly renewable fuel bio-ethanol will be racing against...

Green Fuel Team Nasamax Set For Its Home Race

Team Nasamax returns for the third round of the Le Mans Endurance Series on Saturday 14 th August 2004, where the Nasamax Judd V10 powered by wholly renewable fuel bio-ethanol will be racing against 39 other sportscars in a 6 hour race on the British Grand Prix circuit, known as 'The Home of British Motor Racing.' The alcohol based fuel is produced from plant material, and substantially reduces the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The project's aim is to use international motorsport as a showcase to prove, in Technical Director John McNeil's words, that 'you don't have to be slow and weird to be green'.

This is the second season for Team Nasamax and a busy one too. The Nasamax Judd, with technology partners Astek and 02Empower, is the only car running so far in the premier category which is built to a new set of regulations that came into force this year, and is designated an LMP1. The shape of the car, and its aerodynamics with the 'plank' fitted underneath presents a completely different challenge for the engineers, and the car is being developed all the time. At the Monza race, the Nasamax proved to be fast on the straights and ended the race in eighth place in its first ever race, and at the Le Mans 24 Hours it was the fastest car on the famous Mulsanne straight.

The car in the hands of Robbie Stirling, Werner Lupberger and Kevin McGarrity finished 17 th overall and seventh in class at Le Mans, having had a misfire for all the race which lost the team 41 laps in the pits while it was investigated. It was the first finish for a racing car running on wholly renewable fuel at the most famous motor race in the world, watched by millions live on TV.

The team chose to sit out the second round of the Le Mans series, held at Nurburgring , Germany in July, in favour of more testing and development, as the engine problem had still not been solved and further aerodynamic work was scheduled to improve competitiveness for the more challenging circuits of Silverstone and Spa, which require different handling characteristics.

After evaluation testing at Snetterton last week, for the remainder of the season the team has now returned to Michelin tyres which are more suited to the car. Frenchman Romain Dumas, who drove for the team in 2003, has also returned for his first race at Silverstone, joining regulars Canadian Robbie Stirling and South African Werner Lupberger. Robbie has not raced here since the last circuit changes and has spent time refamiliarising himself.

The Nasamax is tenth on the grid for the 2pm start of the 6 hour race, and again fastest on the speed traps. 'We did not go for a time really,' said Technical Director John McNeil. 'Romain and Robbie needed circuit time, and we concentrated on a race set up and finding a balance. We want a solid run here tomorrow.'

Robbie Stirling: 'It started to rain 10 minutes into the second session. There's also a lot of rubbish out there. After three of four hours of the race, the track is going to be very dirty. It's going to be a tough race, tougher than people think, actually. And it's probably going to rain at some point, which will be exciting!'

Silverstone-based Werner Lupberger will start the race.

In the last few weeks, the Nasamax Judd has been impressing the crowds at Farnborough Airshow as part of a British Motorsport display, taking pride of place on the centre of the Show programme. The Astek NBS fire prevention system was also demonstrated with much interest, and the Nasamax Reynard Cosworth Champ Car was on display.

The Daily Telegraph and The New Scientist magazine have both become official media partners and published articles before and after Le Mans , and their competition winners are joining the team for the day at Silverstone.

Invitations have been received for Technical Director John McNeil and the car to attend the Bologna Motor Show, the Bahrain GP circuit, plus several sustainable technology conferences. The team has also received support from the DTI Energy Efficiency in Motorsport initiative, and guests from the Motorsports Industry Association, Motorsport Development Board and DTI will be joined by the government's Climate Group and guests of Astek.

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Werner Lupberger , Romain Dumas , Robbie Stirling