Dutch team to run Porsche RS Spyder in Le Mans 24 Hours
Dutch team "VM Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur" will be entering a Porsche RS Spyder for the 1000-kilometre races of the Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours next year. This means that the already legendary Porsche RS Spyder, that has already scored numerous race wins in the American Le Mans Series, will be racing in Europe for the first time in 2008. "I am looking forward to this new challenge", says team principal Frans Verschuur. His business partner Peter van Merksteijn is even speaking about "a dream coming true". Porsche's motorsport director Hartmut Kristen is wishing the team all the best. "We will be supporting the team as well as we can, just like we are doing with our customer teams in the American Le Mans Series", says Kristen.
The Porsche RS Spyder, that made its race debut at the end of 2005 after extensive testing, is the first Porsche especially made for racing purposes since the 911 GT1 that won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1998 for the manufacturer from Stuttgart. The RS Spyder is an open-top sports prototype according to the LM-P2 regulations set by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hours. With a carbon fibre monocoque, clearly defined crash-structures and an integrated safety-fuel-cell, the car meets the latest safety standards. The suspension includes adjustable double triangles front and rear. Springs, shock absorbers and stabilizers are also adjustable. The RS Spyder is powered by a 90 degrees V8 competition engine with a displacement of 3.4 liters and an output of 478 hp, linked to a six-speed sequential gearbox. A mechanical differential and traction control ensure the best possible traction while adjustable wings and a rear diffuser provide the necessary downforce.
Frans Verschuur: "A logical next step"
Team principal Frans Verschuur, who has been a successful driver himself for many years and has won titles in six different touring car categories and one-make series with his team last year, says about the Porsche project: "It is a logical next step in the development of our team. In the past few years, the Le Mans Series with its 1000-kilometre races at famous race tracks has developed itself to a professional race category and is a very attractive playing field. Additionally, we plan to enter the Le Mans 24 Hours, which is of course a major challenge for any team."
Peter van Merksteijn: "A real race car"
With Peter van Merksteijn, Verschuur has found a reliable business partner, who immediately understood the opportunities of this project. With his group of companies, among others specialized in the production of industrial fences, Van Merksteijn is doing more and more business abroad. For this purpose, this motorsport project provides many opportunities, he explains: "The Porsche RS Spyder is a genuine race car and thus ideal for promoting our group of companies. Moreover, participating in the 1000-kilometre races and the Le Mans 24 Hours allows us to invite important customers to very special race events." Van Merksteijn himself raced a Porsche in the FIA GT Championship and is also competing at a high level in rallying.
A full program: Le Mans Series and 24-hour race
The new team is taking on a full program in 2008 with the focus on the 1000-kilometre races of the Le Mans Series. This season, the calendar includes six rounds. They are partly traditional events like the 1000-kilometre races at the Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza or Silverstone. The Valencia round is a new event for this year, while the history of the season final, the "Mil Milhas" at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil, goes back to 1956. "For next year, the calendar will be similar", Frans Verschuur says. Moreover, the team plans to participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours. "We are hoping to receive an invitation by the race organizers of the ACO, so that we can take part in Le Mans", says Verschuur. "I have been racing there often enough with the Renault one-make series in the support program. Obviously, the idea that we can be racing in the actual 24 Hours as early as next year is just great!"
Construction starts this autumn, drivers still to be decided
This autumn, the new Porsche RS Spyder for the team "VM Motorsport by Equipe Verschuur" will be built in Porsch's Motorsport Manufacture at Weissach. Some of the team's technicians will be present during this process to familiarize themselves with the new competition car from the very beginning. No decision has been made yet as to who will be driving the car. "We want to make ourselves stand out as a Dutch team. This means that a major part of the technicians will be Dutch and it would be nice when we could also find good Dutch drivers", says Frans Verschuur. "I am certain that there will be sufficient candidates. We will be looking into this matter intensely and quietly in the coming months."