Drayson Racing debuting prototype effort
The international stature and prominence of the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 grew even more Tuesday with the announcement that Drayson Racing will debut a new Judd-powered Lola B09/60 coupe in the American Le Mans Series cornerstone event. Team owners Lord Paul Drayson and Lady Elspeth Drayson unveiled the team’s plan to move to the pinnacle of motorsports – the LMP1 class.
Paul Drayson, Minister of Science and Innovation for the United Kingdom, and full-season teammate Jonny Cocker will race the closed-top prototype in the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic. They will be joined by two-time Le Mans Series GT2 champion Rob Bell on the Dale White-managed team. The car also will contest the Series’ season finale – the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The move signifies Drayson Racing’s serious motorsport intentions and focus on using the sport as a catalyst to advance environmental technologies, a platform both Lord Drayson and the Series both champion.
“Paul Drayson has brought a total package to the American Le Mans Series paddock that is unparalleled since its inception,” said Scott Atherton, American Le Mans Series President and CEO. “In addition to his passion and dedication for racing, he brings a background in science, technology, and community and government activism that provides a unique global understanding of the issues facing today’s automotive, transportation and motorsports industries. We are delighted he will return to the American Le Mans Series with the new Lola-Judd prototype.”
The announcement came as part of the popular internet and iTunes radio program “Midweek Motorsport” with host John Hindhaugh. Archives of the show can be found at www.radiolemans.com and iTunes.
The move to the most technologically advanced sports car racing in the world today comes as the team gains momentum and wishes to take the next step in the sport. The top prototype category will open the organization to a far wider set of choices in developing new technologies under the international rules for LMP1 race cars. Long supporters of the environmental movement in motorsports - and with Paul and Jonny having won the first-ever national victory in the UK for a bioethanol fuelled car -Drayson Racing will use the P1 platform to develop and advance new technologies for improved efficiency and performance. The working partnerships with both Lola Cars and Engine Developments Ltd - the parent company of Judd - will provide additional avenues for the evolution and testing of these technologies.
The progression into the LMP1 class, often referred to simply as P1, will necessitate a number change for Drayson Racing. Long-associated with the 007 moniker in the United States and the 87 in Europe, the team will campaign the No. 88 in the remaining events this season. The car will be known as the No. 88 Drayson Racing Lola with Judd Power.
The Drayson entry signifies the first P1 class combination of Lola coupe and Judd V10 to campaign in the American Le Mans Series. The chassis uses Lola’s decades of experience as Britain’s most successful racing chassis builder to provide an established, and quick, platform on which to compete. Judd’s GV5, 72-degree V10 is a proven performer and will run on second generation E10 racing fuel. The program will continue its strong technical partner ties with Michelin and Motul Oil.
An initial shakedown run of the Lola-Judd will be held in the United Kingdom in the coming weeks. This test will act as a systems’ check prior to the car being shipped to the United States. Once stateside, the full Drayson Racing crew will develop the car further for its first showing at Road Atlanta.
Drayson Racing will continue to run the No. 87 Aston Martin Vantage GT2 in the two remaining European Le Mans Series events. The 1,000K of Silverstone will bring to conclusion two years developing the Vantage for GT2 competition. To-date, the team enjoys a career-best finish of seventh accomplished at the Spa 1,000K earlier this season.
Elspeth Drayson, Owner: “The opportunity to develop and showcase green technologies in motorsport is at the heart of Drayson Racing’s core mission. The LMP1 regulations allow the widest possible opportunities for us to do this.”
Paul Drayson, Driver/Owner: “LMP1 is the premier class of world sports car racing. These 600-700 horsepower racing cars are the ultimate in speed and technology. They can accelerate from 0-100 mph in three seconds and reach top speeds in excess of 200 mph. I’m really looking forward to the race next month. It is going to be a challenge- but an exhilarating one.”
Dale White, Team Manager: “The first time I spoke with Paul and Elspeth to discuss opportunities with Drayson Racing, the move to P1 was on the agenda. In recent months those conversations have accelerated from ‘the future’ to the ‘how soon can we do this?’ We did an exhaustive feasibility study to determine what class met our objectives and what platform would give us the most options to meet those goals. We came to the conclusion that not only did the Lola Coupe and the Judd V10 get us to that point but they did so in such a way that we could greatly reduce the timeline to get on track. I can’t describe the energy inside the team right now. We know we have a major task before us but everyone is pulling together and sees the common goal. What has been done in such a short period of time is impressive to see. We are indebted to all of the crew, Lola, Judd, Michelin, all of our partners and the ACO for making this happen so quickly.”
Robin Brundle, Managing Director, Lola Cars: “Lola are delighted to be working closely with the Drayson Racing family. The timelines to the first race are challenging but this situation is often when Lola performs at its best. The whole team at Lola has accepted the challenge and is working flat out to deliver another top LMP Coupe, which will be the 24th sold since the inception of the present LMP rules in 2005. The focus on Green Technologies in Motorsport continues to be of great interest to Lola and we look forward to supporting Drayson Racing in their quest to use energy more efficiently and to continue in ensuring that Lola are the LMP market leaders.”
Stan Hall, General Manger, Engine Developments Ltd: “Engine Developments is delighted to be working with Drayson Racing. We have been impressed by the professionalism and ambition of the team in its previous racing activities and we will endeavor to meet their high expectations in this new venture into prototype racing. Our GV V10 engine has for a number of years been a benchmark in LMP1 and the combination of this with Lola's excellent B09/06 chassis will give the opportunity for success at the highest level.”