Drayson Racing To Launch Le Mans Prototype One (LMP1) Programme
Paul, Lord Drayson and Elspeth, Lady Drayson have proudly announced Drayson Racing’s move to the pinnacle of motorsports; the Le Mans Prototype One (LMP1) division. Drayson Racing will debut its British built Judd V10-powered Lola B09/60 racing car – commonly known as the “Lola Coupe” – in the 12th Annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, 22-26 September, 2009. The move signifies Drayson Racing’s serious motorsport intentions and focus on using the sport as a catalyst to advance environmental technologies.
Already boasting a strong overall operation allows Drayson Racing to continue with the same driver line-up and team management currently associated with the British-based team. Drivers Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and two-time British GT Champion Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) will be joined by two-time Le Mans Series GT2 Champion Rob Bell (St Helens, UK) at the 1000 mile/10 hour, American Le Mans Series classic in September. Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA) continues his role as team manager with oversight of the effort. The full GT2 team structure moves into LMP1 as Drayson’s originally published “world tour” continues as announced in January.
The move to the most technologically advanced sports car racing in the world today comes as the team gains momentum and wishes to take the next step in the sport. The top prototype category will open the organisation to a far wider set of choices in developing new technologies under the international rules for LMP1 race cars. Long supporters of the environmental movement in motorsports – and with Paul and Jonny having won the first-ever national victory in the UK for a bio-ethanol fuelled car -Drayson Racing will use the P1 platform to develop and advance new technologies for improved efficiency and performance. The working partnerships with both Lola Cars and Engine Developments Ltd – the parent company of Judd – will provide additional avenues for the evolution and testing of these technologies.
The progression into the LMP1 class will necessitate a number change for Drayson Racing. Long-associated with the 007 moniker in the United States and the 87 in Europe, the team will campaign the No. 88 in the remaining events this season. The car will be known as the No. 88 Drayson Racing Lola with Judd Power.
The Drayson entry signifies the first LMP1 class combination of Lola Coupe and Judd V10 to campaign in the American Le Mans Series. The chassis uses Lola’s decades of experience as Britain’s most successful racing chassis builder to provide an established, and quick, platform on which to compete. Judd’s GV5, 72-degree V10 is a proven performer and will run on second generation E10 racing fuel. The programme will continue its strong technical partner ties with Michelin Tyres and Motul Oil.
An initial shakedown run of the Lola-Judd will be held in the United Kingdom in the coming weeks. This test will act as a systems’ check prior to the car being shipped to the United States. Once stateside, the full Drayson Racing crew will develop the car further for its first showing at Road Atlanta. In addition to the Petit Le Mans premiere, the Drayson Racing prototype will take part in the American Le Mans Series finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on 10 October and the Asian Le Mans Series events at Okayama, Japan, 31 October and 1 November.
Drayson Racing will continue to run the No. 87 Aston Martin Vantage GT2 in the two remaining European Le Mans Series events (23 August at Nürburgring and 13 September at Silverstone). The 1000km of Silverstone will bring to conclusion two years developing the Vantage for GT2 competition. To-date, the team enjoys a career-best finish of seventh accomplished at the 1000km of Spa (Belgium) earlier this season.
Today’s announcement came as part of the popular internet and iTunes radio programme “Midweek Motorsports” with host John Hindhaugh. Archives of the show can be found at www.radiolemans.com.