Drayson Racing, l’équipe Anglaise qui engagera une Aston Martin Vantage GT2 aux 24 Heures du Mans 2009? vient de révéler le nom de son 3e pilote. Pour accompagner Paul Draysonet Jonny Cocker, rein de moins que Marino Franchitti. Pilote en ALMS cette saison avec l’équipe Dyson (Lola Mazda), Marino Franchitti possède déjà une expérience dans la Sarthe puisqu’il a participé à l’édition 2005 au volant de la Panoz Esperante de l’équipe Multimatic Motorsports.
Marino Franchitti n’a pas conduit de GT depuis 2007, mais son expérience a semble t-il payée pour rejoindre l’équipe de Lord Drayson. A suivre pour les 24 Heures du Mans, et en piste à la fin du mois pour les essais sur le circuit Bugatti. A savoir, Aston Martin organisera également une séance d’essais et une simulation de 24 HEures sur le circuit de l’ALgarve, en avril également.
Le communiqué de presse de Drayson Racing
Drayson Racing is leaving no stone unturned in its first year effort at the 24 Heures du Mans. The Official Partner Team of Aston Martin Racing has signed star sports car racer Marino Franchitti (Edinburgh/Windsor, UK) to anchor full-season drivers Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) in the No. 87 Drayson Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT2 for the sports car classic. Team Manager Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA) and Aston Martin Racing (AMR) technical directors have also outlined a vigorous test and development schedule in advance of the 77th running of the French 24 hour event on 13-14 June.
Franchitti, who has one start at Le Mans driving a LM GT2 class Panoz in 2005, will be making his Aston Martin debut with the team. The British driver is currently campaigning the full American Le Mans Series season in a Mazda factory-backed LMP2 for Dyson Racing. A former British GTO Champion, Franchitti has a strong record in endurance racing. On his impressive resume are 11, 24 hour race starts with eight Top 10 results including Nürburgring – where he finished 10th out of 220 starters – and a podium at the 24 Hours of Spa in 2006. Franchitti has been a regular in sports car racing since moving from single-seaters in 2001. Despite focusing on prototypes since 2007, he has excelled in both GT cars and LMPs in his career. The team views his endurance race experience as vital to its potential success at Le Mans.
Through the testing regime, Franchitti will have extensive seat time in the Vantage GT2 in preparation for the 13.629 Km/8.468 mile-long, Circuit de la Sarthe. White, team engineer Graham Moore (Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, UK) and the technical staff at AMR have scheduled over 34 hours of on-track testing plus intense shop preparation in the coming months. The car, chassis 001 – the same used at Sebring – will spend its pre-Le Mans period at the Aston Martin Racing headquarters in Banbury, England. There it will be disassembled, inspected, repaired, updated and re-assembled by Drayson Racing and AMR technicians.
The April schedule will see the British machine join the official Le Mans Series test at the Bugatti Circuit on 25-26 April. Despite White’s two Le Mans victories (’03 and ’04), Franchitti’s single start is the only Le Mans experience the trio of drivers has. The Bugatti Circuit, tucked within and using a portion of the full 24 Hour course, will provide valuable laps not only to the drivers, but also for the ongoing development of the car.
A private, AMR-only 24 hour test will be held at the Algarve (Portugal) Circuit in April as well. This test will provide critical insight to the strengths and weaknesses of reliability for the Vantage GT2 which, to date, has never been entered in a 24 hour event. Franchitti will join Drayson and Cocker at each test.