Here we are nearly at the end of May and the Le Mans 24 Hours is just a month or so away, so all our thoughts are turning to La Sarthe and that weekend in June. To keep you going until then, we have the next chapter of our alphabet series on what is new in sportscar racing for 2013. This time Graham Goodwin from Dailysportscar.com looks at letter M to O.
M is for Makowiecki
Known colloquially as ‘Mako’, the young Frenchman is rated by many as one of the fastest GT drivers on the planet after impressing mightily in GT1 GTE (aka GT2 and GT3 cars in recent seasons.
2013 sees him join Aston Martin Racing and contesting the full FIA World Endurance Championship in one of the teams squadron of plucky V8 Vantages, taking on the factory Porsches and factory backed Ferraris – He’s one to watch in that class.
M is for Manthey
Olaf Manthey is a racing legend, multiple winner with his immaculately prepped Porsches of the Nurburgring 24 Hours, 2013 sees him in charge of the first Porsche factory entered team in international racing since 1998.
He’s a quiet, considered sort, but that exterior masks a steely determination, an eye for detail that is second to none and a track record that should have the opposition putting the Porsche effort in their list marked ‘threat’.
M is for Morgan
Once badged as a Pescarolo the Oak Racing outfit bought the manufacturing rights to Henri’s baby some years ago and have been refining it ever since.
The cars were badged as Morgans in 2012 as part of the commemoration of the famous English make’s 50th anniversary of a Le Mans class win. The cars keep the famous badge in 2013 and the season will see no fewer than five contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours with single entries from Morand Racing and Hong Kong based KCMG plus a trio of factory entered cars.
N is for New Teams
There are a healthy number of new teams around in 2013. The ELMS is particularly well populated with LMP2 cars from Morand Racing and DKR Engineering and a pair of brand new Ferraris from new UK outfit RAM Racing.
The WEC meanwhile sees 8Star Motorsport enter a bright orange Ferrari for the Venuzuelan driver Enzo Potolicchio.
N is for Nissan
No DeltaWing in 2013 for the men in black but there are still going to be some eye catching set pieces from the cleverest marketers in the paddock. They are entering a pair of the GT Academy graduates, now dubbed NISMO Athletes, alongside top pro Michael Krumm at Le Mans with Lucas Ordonez joined by the mercurial Jann Mardenborough.
O is for Osterreichring
Or the Red Bull Ring as it’s now known, reopened in 2011 after being bought by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz after several years out of business.
It’s rated by many as one of the nicest tracks in Europe, certainly the surrounding Austrian countryside is wonderful and a race weekend here can easily be extended with a driving break that could take in see of the best driving roads in Europe
DTM races here and in 2013 so too will the ELMS.
O is for Openness
Ask for a close look at an F1 car at a Grand Prix or even a chat with a driver or mechanic and you WILL end up disappointed. Do the same at a major sportscar event and you’re highly likely to get a very pleasantly different response.
Openness is at the core of the culture of endurance racing, a place where many a hardened motorsport cynic has found their smile again!
Le Mans is not far away now. We are processing all your tickets for your travel packs in the office right now. So they will be with you soon. Graham will also be returning soon to continue this alphabet preview with letters P through to R.