Fernandez to drive at LeMans
Adrian Fernandez will add another milestone to his driving resume on June 16 as Mexico's most popular driver prepares to compete in the world famous endurance race - the 24 Hours of Le Mans - at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. Fernandez will be driving a Lowe's-sponsored LMP2 sports car for the Zytek Group based in Banbury, England. He will be part of a three-driver lineup for the factory effort that will feature the new Zytek 07S LMP2 chassis powered by a Zytek V8 engine on Michelin tires.
"I have been fortunate to compete in a number of prestigious races over the course of my career and competing at Le Mans, the most famous endurance race in the world, has always been at the top of my list of things I wanted to accomplish," said Fernandez, who currently competes in the American Le Mans Series with co-driver Luis Diaz aboard the No. 15 Lowe's Acura-powered Lola sports car.
"Our goal is to one day compete at Le Mans with our own Acura-powered team - Lowe's Fernandez Racing - so I am very thankful for the opportunity to partner with Zytek this year and learn about this event," Fernandez added. "From what I understand, Le Mans is like no other race so this will be a good dry run and learning experience for us. In the process, I hope to bring a good result home as well."
Zytek, a diverse motorsports manufacturer whose capabilities include complete competition packages - chassis, engine, electronics and wiring - for a variety of racing categories will prepare and maintain the Lowe's 24 Hours of Le Mans entry. The company has enjoyed much success in the sports car arena including a second-place LMP2 class finish at Le Mans in 2006 with the Zytek-powered Binnie Motorsports team and a second-place run last September with its own chassis and engine combination in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Lowe's Fernandez Racing's American Le Mans Series car utilizes Zytek's electrically-assisted gearshift system (Zytek EGS) - a manual paddle-change operation for its six-speed sequential gearbox.
"Zytek will handle the entire Le Mans effort," noted Fernandez. "All testing, race preparations, pit stops, strategy, you name it. We will have some of our team there to learn as well. My partner in the team, Tom Anderson, will be going as well as (general manager) Steve Miller, (team manager) Mike Sales and (engineer) John Hennek. I will go to England for a seat fitting after our American Le Mans Series race this weekend in Salt Lake City and then we have a test scheduled the beginning of June before the race."
This year's 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will boast one of the largest overall fields in the event's history with more than 50 cars comprising four classes - LMP1 and LMP2 for Le Mans prototypes and LMGT1 and LMGT2 for Gran Turismo or GT classes - that compete simultaneously on one of the longest circuits in the world at 8.4 miles.
Joining Fernandez behind the wheel of the Lowe's Zytek machine will be Haruki Kurosawa of Japan. Kurosawa, 29, finished 12th at Le Mans in 2004 and brings prototype sports car racing experience to the line-up having spent the past two years competing in the Le Mans Series at such notable circuits as Monza, Nurburgring, Spa and Silverstone. The third driver of the Zytek stable will be announced in the near future.
"Le Mans is such an historic event with drivers representing so many countries," added Fernandez. "The last time a driver from Mexico competed there was over a decade ago (Tomas Lopez in 1991) so I am looking forward to flying the colors of Mexico this year. One of my heroes, Pedro Rodriguez, won Le Mans in 1968 so this race has a very special meaning to me. To be able to repeat that feat some day would definitely be a dream come true."
The green flag for this year's 75th running of the legendary event will wave at 3:00 pm local time on June 16 and will be covered by over 133 television outlets and more than 1,600 journalists. ALMS PR