Update of team plans for 2001

Cadillac prepares GM is expected to announce the Cadillac Northstar LMP programme later this week, and it is now expected to improve significantly on the "Le Mans only" forecast before Christmas. Herb Fishel is finalising plans that could see the...

Cadillac prepares
GM is expected to announce the Cadillac Northstar LMP programme later this week, and it is now expected to improve significantly on the "Le Mans only" forecast before Christmas. Herb Fishel is finalising plans that could see the heavily revised Cadillac Northstar competing in a number of events either side of Le Mans, and an all-new car designed by Nigel Stroud making its debut at the end of the season. Driver names will not be announced this week, but it is confidently expected that Wayne Taylor will be at the top of the list.

Lammers "Racing for Holland" hopes
A Dome is also at the top of Jan Lammers' list for the coming season, but the Dutch driver continues to be frustrated by his inability to complete the sponsorship package. "I don't want to walk around a Mercedes showroom with empty pockets" is his response to questions about his choice of car. Lammers hopes to complete a "Racing for Holland" deal any day, involving Tom Coronel and Peter Kox in a Le Mans bid, "and more, if we have the budget."

Boullion and Bourdais team with Pescarolo
Jean-Christophe Boullion and Sebastian Bourdais have been named to drive Henri Pescarolo's Courage Peugeot C60 at Le Mans, and in three preceding FIA Sportscar Championship rounds at Barcelona, Monza and Spa.

Aston's GTS challenger
Aston Martin's race car for the 2002 season, and a probable Le Mans challenger, will be specially designed for the GTS category. Les Edgar, the wealthy enthusiast who is backing the project, says that there will be "nothing half-hearted" about Aston Martin's bid to dominate the GTS class. "It is fully funded, a full assault not just on Le Mans but on sports car racing as a whole" he says. "I am interested in the Le Mans Series, and in the FIA GT Championship."

Aston Martin has set up a study group at Newport Pagnell including Dr Ulrich Schiefer, formerly a key member of BMW's V12 Le Mans programme, and former Spice designer Graham Humphrys, now on Aston's payroll.

The study group will consider a mid-engined design utilising Aston Martin's V8 engine or, more likely, the V12 that will power the forthcoming Vanquish model. Aston Martin would then put the car into low volume production to meet the FIA's production requirements.

Michael Cane's GTC Competition company in Cranleigh, Surrey, will take charge of the Aston Martin's development programme later this year, and will be reponsible for assembling the team. Cane informed MG before Christmas that he was no longer available to form a team for this year's 24-Hours.

MG selects seven
MG has selected seven drivers, one a reserve, to race its two cars in the LMP675 category at Le Mans. The team has also been chosen and was involved in the selection, although neither MG nor Lola chief Martin Birrane will name any names. Unofficially, it is believed that Mike Earle's Arena Motorsports team (formerly Onyx) has been chosen to represent MG in the 24-Hours.

Speaking at the Racing Car Show last Thursday, Birrane said that he had received "an avalanche" of approaches, 57 altogether, which he and MG had whittled down to seven. "I think the MG will give the bigger cars a fright" he predicted. "It is the first to be designed specifically for the LMP675 category, and in fact we have designed it as a 650 so that it will be on the 675 kg minimum weight with lights, and all that stuff."

Birrane admitted that the project had started late and it would be optimistic to think of it winning the category in June. Testing will not begin until March, some two months before the Le Mans test day on 6 May. "Our aim is to do well this year, and to do very well next year" says Birrane.

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Series Le Mans
Drivers Jan Lammers , Henri Pescarolo , Tom Coronel , Wayne Taylor , Peter Kox , Jean-Christophe Boullion , Martin Birrane