Braselton, Ga. (April 4,2001) -In an announcement made today in Le Mans, France, the Automobile Club De L'Ouest (ACO) -the creator and organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans - invited Dick Barbour Racing's two car team of Reynard...
Braselton, Ga. (April 4,2001) -In an announcement made today in Le Mans, France, the Automobile Club De L'Ouest (ACO) -the creator and organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans - invited Dick Barbour Racing's two car team of Reynard O1Q-Judd prototype racing sportscars to participate in the May 6 preliminary practice session for the world's most famous round-the-clock motor race.
"I have such reverence for Le Mans," said Barbour in reaction to the news. "On behalf of the entire team, I'm grateful for the selection. More than any other single race, Le Mans is a challenge and yet it has given me and my teams such great opportunities over the years. After announcing our LMP 675 Prototype effort just 5 weeks ago, it's a tremendous honor that the selection committee, in whittling down the 80 entries, has seen fit to include us among the 48 regular invitees to the preliminary practice."
Barbour's two Reynard-Judd entries, numbered 36 and 37 at Le Mans, are among eight regular invitees in the LMP 675 class which is comprised of the lighter weight brethren of the headlining LMF' 900 prototype category. Despite their lower weight, or perhaps because of it, the LMP 675 racing sportscars are expected to have certain advantages over the faster "P900s" at the longest distance events. Their superior fuel economy means fewer pit stops, which may be particularly telling over the 24-hour race duration of the great French classic.
While Barbour soon will announce the third drivers for each of his Le Mans entries, John Graham of Canada - last year's Le Mans LMP 675 class winner - will co-pilot the number 37 Dick Barbour Racing Reynard along with American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Women's Global GT category star, Milka Duno of Venezuela. The cockpit of the number 36 entry will be shared by 1998 Le Mans LMPl class winner Eric van de Poele and his Belgian compatriot Didier de Radigu6s. De Radiguks is an experienced Le Mans and ALMS regular and former Grand Prix motorcycle ace.
As a driver, Dick Barbour has enjoyed a stellar Le Mans 24-Hour history. He was behind the wheel for three consecutive IMSA class victories there &om 1978-1980. Last year, Dick Barbour Racing won the American Le Mans GT Championship with nine wins in twelve races. The team also contributed heavily to Porsche winning the GT Manufacturer's Championship. The team's four drivers finished first through fourth in GT driver points with Dirk Muller crowned as GT Driver champion.
The team's next event is round two of the European Le Mans Series at Donington Park in England on April 14. The team then begins special preparations for the preliminary trials at Le Mans on May 6. In between the trials and the 24-Holrrs of Le Mans on June 16-17, the team expects to participate in the Circuit0 de Jarama (Spain) round of the ELMS on May 20. After completing its European swing with Le Mans, the team will return to the states to run at Sears Point Raceway, July 22.