Nancy Knapp Schilke, Editor in Chief
Martin Brundle joins son for 24 Hours of Le Mans challenge with Nissan and Greaves Motorsport
Former Formula One driver Martin Brundle will contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 with his son Alex Brundle. The father-son will be team mates for the Greaves Motorsport LM P2 Le Mans Series championship team. The ride was set up by Nissan whose engines power the Zytek prototype cars for the 2011 winning LM P2 team at the June classic 24 hour sportscar race on the famous La Sarthe circuit.
"I'm very much looking forward to returning to the Le Mans 24 Hour race with Nissan and the Greaves Motorsport LMP2 team. This is an unexpected pleasure, heightened by the fact I will be team-mates with my son,” said Martin Brundle.
Son Alex Brundle said, "I loved driving the Le Mans circuit at this year's official test day and a chance to compete in the full Le Mans Series, as well as the Le Mans 24 Hours, along with my single-seater activities in 2012 is brilliant for my career.”
Recently, Jacob Greaves was pleased to announce the team would field two LM P2s for the Le Mans race with the new 2012 Zytek Z11SNs, and of course they will again take on the Le Mans Series to defend their championship with Nissan and Dunlop tyres. “We look forward to building on our 2011 results and repeating them, if possible, in 2012,” said the team manager.
Martin Brundle has six 24 Hour of Le Mans races under his belt, including one overall victory in 1990. He also competed in the FIA (Federation Internationale de L’Automobile) World Sportscar Championship in 1988 and ended up after five victories which landed him the drivers’ championship. He also raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona and landed the win.
Years later in 1997, Martin Brundle made his debut with Nissan for their works entry at Le Mans, driving the R390 GT1. Simon Sproule, Corporate Vice President, Global Marketing Communications, Nissan, said: "I'm delighted that Nissan will once again be part of one of motorsport's most famous races, this time with a fascinating father-son pairing.”
Since leaving Formula One, Brundle has been active as a commentator, a FIA steward, owns his own driver management business and has been active in the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC). The Briton is known for being outspoken and yet, one of the gentle giants in the world of motor sports, not afraid to take on new challenges. In 1990, he surprised many by signing on as one of the competitors in the America IRCO (International Race of Champions) which pitted drivers in equally prepared cars on ovals, road courses and temporary circuits. He finished third in the standings the year that Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the title. In a Dodge Daytona car, Brundle scored the victory at the Cleveland temporary circuit at the Burke Lakefront Airport and to this day, he is the only British diver to win an IROC event.
Class victory in front of the fanatical Le Mans spectators is the goal.
Two years ago, Brundle changed his focus to aid his son Alex in his racing endeavors. The 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 16-17 will mark the debut of Alex Brundle at the La Sarthe circuit in France. The younger Brundle is one of the top British drivers in the Formula Two Championship series after contesting the Formula Palmer Audi series events in 2009.
Alex Brundle finished his second full season this year in the FIA Formula Two series in seventh with three podiums and one pole. In 2010, he elected to campaign in the popular British Formula 3 Series.
Now, at the age of 21, Alex Brundle will take on the challenge of sports car racing. The prototypes are, in a way, like an open-wheel car as far as cutting-edge of technology and the speed they carry versus a GT endurance car. He discovered that the transition was easy to make when he tested the Greaves Nissan Zytek earlier this year In April for the official Le Mans test days. Later the young driver tested for the team in a private test at Paul Ricard and no doubt will have future days of testing as he prepares for his first Le Mans race.
“At Le Mans, my father has been on pole position, led many times and been part of the winning team; this can fast-track my learning process. My thanks go to Nissan and Greaves Motorsport for creating this important opportunity, which I will seize and maximize," Alex Brundle said.
Martin Brundle returned to the 24 Hours of Daytona with United Autosports in January of this year. He was one of the team’s four drivers in the team’s Ford Riley and they finished fourth overall.
The father-son combination at the June classic sports car race is new, but it is rare as only Mario and his son Michael Andretti took on the challenge. However, more recently another British family contested Le Mans: Nigel Mansell and his sons Leo and Greg.
Said Martin Brundle, “I'm eagerly anticipating a very special feeling when handing the car over to Alex during one of the world's greatest motor races. Class victory in front of the fanatical Le Mans spectators is the goal.”
In the Nissan press release, Sproule stated: “We will again seek to provide a reliable and powerful engine for Martin and Alex and for Greaves Motorsport to follow up on the success we've enjoyed in 2011. Martin has won at every level of endurance racing, while Alex's strong testing performances at Paul Ricard and Le Mans reflect his natural talent and the experience he already holds at 21."