Drayson Racing announces GT2 entry
Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) officially announced the formation of Drayson Racing at today's Autosport International Show. Drayson Racing (DraysonRacing.com) will contest a select number of professional sports car racing events on three continents in 2009 including the three most prominent races in the American Le Mans Series.
The single car team will enter events on the Le Mans Series schedule in Europe, the American Le Mans Series calendar in the United States and two, late-season races in Asia. The new, standalone operation will campaign the No. 007 Drayson Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT2 with Drayson and Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) piloting the British racing green coupe. It was further announced that Drayson Racing will be an Official Partner Team of Aston Martin Racing for the upcoming season.
Highlighting Drayson Racing's commitment to success in motorsports is the hire of multi-time 24 Hours of Le Mans and American Le Mans Series championship-winning team manager Dale White (Bozeman, Mont., USA). White managed his own entries to Le Mans 24 Hour GT class victories in 2003 and 2004. The winner of the world's most prestigious sports car events - including the 12 Hours of Sebring (2005), the Petit Le Mans ('05, '06) and the 24 Hours of Daytona (2001) - followed his 24 Hours of Le Mans success with American Le Mans Series titles in 2005 and 2006.
White, who performed strategist and consulting duties for Drayson during 2008, will manage the operation's efforts in both Europe and North America. Ted Higgins (United Kingdom), who worked with Drayson, Cocker and White last season, will take the role as crew chief for the No. 007 overseeing an elite mix of British and American motorsports talent.
At this time, the calendar for Drayson Racing includes the American Le Mans Series season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring (March 21) as well as the North American series' final two events; the Petit Le Mans (September 26) and Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Oct. 10). Drayson Racing will field an entry for Drayson and Cocker throughout the full Le Mans Series schedule in Europe opening on April 5 with the 1,000-km race in Catalunya, Spain. Non-championship events at Mt. Fuji, Japan (November 1) and Shanghai, China (November 8) will close out the 2009 campaign. The team’s goal is to translate early season success into an invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
2009 marks the third season for the Drayson-Cocker driving combination. The two earned second in the British GT Championship in 2007, their first season as teammates, and made their GT2 class debut last year competing in the American Le Mans Series. The pairing, with White making the strategy calls, finished a season-best seventh in the Series' finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last October.
Drayson, a member of the United Kingdom Parliament's House of Lords and the present Minister of Science and Innovation in the UK Government, has long been dedicated to “green” environmental causes. Having successfully competed in 2008 running the latest “Second Generation” cellulosic E85 Bio-Ethanol fuel, the team will again fuel the Aston Martin V8 with E85 in the American Le Mans Series. Among the 2008 achievements, Drayson finished second in the inaugural Green Challenge at the Petit Le Mans highlighting the team's efforts to advance environmentally responsible automotive technologies. Throughout the 2009 season, Drayson Racing will continue to pursue new innovations to help advance environmental friendliness and responsibility at the highest levels of motorsport.
Endurance sports car racing at the highest level provides an excellent platform for both developing and proving innovative technologies which can then be translated to making road cars more efficient and environmentally friendly. Motorsport also provides 'going green' a cool and exciting image which is important in stimulating demand for more sustainable motoring.
Drayson Racing will base the No. 007 in the UK for the Le Mans Series schedule. The American Le Mans Series events will be based at White Lightning Racing's North American headquarters in Bozeman, Montana in the United States.
Known as the Vantage GT2, the car is based on the V8 engine Aston Martin Vantage road car. Specifically designed with bio-fuels in mind and using the experience gained in converting the DBRS9 to run on bio-ethanol for competition in the British GT Championship, the GT2 has undergone extensive test and development by the works team Aston Martin Racing, a partnership formed between Aston Martin and world-leading motorsport specialist, Prodrive and is finished to Aston Martin's exacting standards. The Vantage GT2 is the latest car to join the Aston Martin Racing stable.
Paul Drayson: "Dale brought a wealth of experience and professionalism to my 2008 ALMS program and I am delighted that we are going to be working together again in 2009. I am also very happy to be continuing in partnership with Aston Martin Racing. The GT2 Vantage is a beautiful car and its recent pace points to its potential to win in 2009."
Dale White, Team Manager: "I am very excited about the prospects of working with Drayson Racing. I formed a very good relationship with Paul, Jonny and Ted last season and I couldn't have been any happier than when Paul contacted me about managing Drayson Racing in 2009. The schedule we have outlined for the team will be very challenging but will put the 007 Aston Martin Vantage GT2 at some of the greatest tracks in the world. We believe we have assembled the ingredients to create a winning program. Paul and I share the same passion for motorsports and the environment and that makes this relationship so rewarding. It is my goal to help Paul accomplish his dream of not only competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but to win it."
Jonny Cocker, Driver: "I'm really thrilled to be driving again with Paul in 2009! Returning again to the American Le Mans Series with Dale's experience will prove to be invaluable, and I'm excited to be taking all that we have learnt over the past few years into a full season of Le Mans Series and earning our place to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans!"
George Howard-Chappell, Aston Martin Racing: "We have been delighted with the development Lord Drayson has pioneered in the GT2 bio-ethanol car during the 2008 American Le Mans Series. 2009 will again offer an exciting year for the Team. As an Aston Martin Racing Official Partner, we will work closely with Drayson Racing to ensure their continued development and success."