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Third generation Andretti at LeMans next weekend

24 Hours of Le Mans
Friday, June 04, 2010

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Andretti tested for the Swiss Rebellion team at Paul Ricard earlier this year
23-year old Marco Andretti, grandson of famous multiple champion Mario Andretti, will participate in the 78th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans which will start on Saturday, 12 June at 3 PM local time. Grandson Andretti’s father, Michael, as well as his uncle John Andretti, also ran in this ultimate endurance sports car race.

After finishing 3rd in last Sunday’s Indianapolis 500-mile race, the young Andretti is very motivated to race in Le Mans. “I love to race and when I was contacted by the Swiss Rebellion Racing team I thought,, ‘why not?’ I love those long stints even at night, therefore I immediately accepted the invitation,” said Andretti.

The Young IZOD IndyCar Series driver will join former colleagues Nicolas Prost (FRA) and Neel Jani (CH) in a Lola Rebellion Coupe (CH). “I met both Nicolas – son of former Formula One World Champion Alain Prost - and Neel while I was competing in the A1 Series two years ago and we became good friends. I am very excited to race at this famous track where my family was very successful.”

Mario Andretti had his first 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966 and his eighth and final race in 2000. “I loved to race in this wonderful event but I am still a bit disappointed never having won it. When talking to my grandson, I fully supported the idea,” said Mario about his reaction.

Although the former Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 Formula 1 World Champion never won at Le Mans, he did win the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 1972. The Andretti family is best known for their successes in open wheeler racing cars, however they also have a rich history in sports cars. On several occasions three family members ran together in long endurance sports car races. John Andretti, son of Mario’s twin brother Aldo, won the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 1989. “I wish I could race at Le Mans again, it is such an exciting race,” commented a rather jealous John.

It will not be Marco’s fist sports car race as he participated in several events in America including driving an Acura in the ALMS Series at Lime Rock and Sebring. “Earlier last month, I tested with the team at the Paul Ricard track near Le Castellet in southern France and I quickly adopted,” said Marco. “Even in the rain, I did some fast laps and we are all excited about the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans race. I know we have a slight disadvantage not driving a diesel engine LM1 class car like Peugeot and Audi, but a top five finish is realistic.”

Marco will not have any on-site support from his family as Mario will be attending the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix, held the same weekend. His father Michael, who owns Andretti Autosport for which Marco races in America, has conflicting commitments in America: “It is a good learning experience for my son. You learn so much during that race and also, Marco is the right age to do the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I am sorry I’m not able to attend.”

The 78th edition of this classic endurance race will start on Saturday, 12 June at 15.00. In addition to the LMP1 class, a close battle is also expected in both the GT classes. In the GT2 class German manufacturer BMW will be back for the first time in several years and will face strong competition from several Porsches, Ferraris and Chevrolet Corvettes.

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