Drayson Racing to Start Seventh in Class at Renowned Spa Circuit FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM- Drayson Racing will start Sunday's 1000 Km de Spa, the second of five Le Mans Series races in 2009, from seventh on the LM GT2 class grid. The fast and...
Drayson Racing to Start Seventh in Class at Renowned Spa Circuit
FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM- Drayson Racing will start Sunday's 1000 Km de Spa, the second of five Le Mans Series races in 2009, from seventh on the LM GT2 class grid. The fast and famous facility laid out in the Ardennes Forestof Belgium has quickly proven a favourite of drivers Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) despite limited track time in dry conditions. It was Cocker, with three previous starts on the 7.003 Km/4.35 mile Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, who set the qualifying time of two minutes, 23.694 seconds in the team's No. 87 Drayson Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT2. Cocker will also start the 1000Km/621.3 mile event at 12:50 local time on Sunday.
The weekend has continued to show the dramatic improvement of the Aston Martin Vantage GT2 under the Drayson Racing banner. A unique car in the Series, the V8-powered British sports car is rapidly being developed for its premiere in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 13-14 June. Cocker's quick lap was hindered by a wounded car making its way around the course. Despite the slowed time, the effort was still good for a top-10 run in the Aston Martin Vantage's first visit here. Data records show that an unencumbered lap would have placed the Official Partner Team of Aston Martin Racing (AMR) deep within the top-five of the 15-car class.
Spa is internationally recognised for its setting within the towering pines of this historic forest, its devastatingly quick lap times, the courage required of drivers to full-throttle the Eau Rouge corner and its weather. Friday's first free practice session of one hour was run entirely on a wet track and at moderate temperatures. The morning practice session on Saturday proved dry but cooler with a temperature of just 5.4C/42F. Qualifying warmed only slightly. The forecast calls for rain and only slightly warmer temperatures than today with a high of 20C/68F.
Le Mans will be the next round on the 2009 Drayson Racing calendar which sees the British-based team travelling to nine countries on three continents. The race at Spa is an excellent warm-up for the also dauntingly quick Circuit de la Sarthe, site of the 24 Heures du Mans. At Le Mans, Drayson and Cocker will be joined by Le Mans veteran Marino Franchitti (Edinburgh/London UK). Together, the trio will be the on-track presence for the full Drayson Racing team as they challenge for their first 24 Hour victory next month.
Paul Drayson, Driver/Owner: "I am very happy with my first outing here at Spa. The track has a fearsome reputation and having been out on it I can see why. All the character and the gradient changes, the enormously fast corners. Eau Rouge and Blanchimont; two corners that really take your breath away. I understand now why people talk about Spa so much. With 51 cars on the circuit all at once, four different classes, it is a real battle for space. That's what the race will be about too. I am really loving it. Six hours here; that's going to be brilliant."
Jonny Cocker, Driver: About qualifying: "Qualifying went pretty well. We are getting closer. We were P6 [position six] but a theoretical P4. On our quick lap we had to pass a Lamborghini which had broken down. Unfortunately, we lost the best part of half-a-second. There wasn't time to do another lap. It was kind of a series of events but we are pleased. The important thing is that our car has good race pace. As we get closer in qualifying it means we are getting closer on race pace as well. Our relative drop-off seems much less than a lot of the other front running cars."
About the race: "The start is going to be busy; it always is here. People have to bear in mind that it is a six hour race and shunting it in the first turn is probably not a good idea. We'll have to see what happens with the weather obviously. There is always a chance of rain or for it to be quite cold also. We think we are on the right Michelin tyre and we are quite looking forward to it."