Fernandez to race at Sebring in Aston Martin
Adrian Fernandez and Aston Martin Racing vaulted into the list of favorites to win the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida with the Mexican star joining forces with the UK’s premier endurance team for America’s greatest sports car race. The partnership, announced Monday, will see Fernandez drive a works Aston Martin-powered Lola prototype at Sebring, Long Beach and Le Mans in 2010 with the team looking at additional races worldwide following the 24 Hours.
Sebring will mark the first time a prototype with an Aston Martin V12 engine has competed in the American Le Mans Series. The marque has a rich heritage in endurance racing including a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959. Its main concentration has been on GT cars since 2005 when it re-entering the sport but returned to prototypes at the factory level in 2009.
Fernandez, an official Aston Martin works driver for 2010, won the American Le Mans Series’ 2009 LMP2 championship with teammate Luis Diaz. The two won eight times in Lowe’s Fernandez Racing’s Acura ARX-01b, and Fernandez claimed three pole positions and four fastest race laps.
“This is another fantastic development to America’s most demanding sports car race,” said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “The return of Adrian Fernandez and his hard-charging style is tremendous and certainly newsworthy by itself. Adding Aston Martin Racing - one of the truly iconic brands of sports car racing - to the event with one of its closed-top LMP1 Lola prototypes only adds to the anticipation we and the rest of the sports car world have for the start of the 2010 season. This is yet another reason why 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida will be a monumental battle in all four classes.”
In addition to his success in the American Le Mans Series, Fernandez’s open-wheel career included three victories in the Indy Racing League and a 13-year stint in American open-wheel racing.
“We are looking forward to a great season of racing and we hope to have another strong showing at Le Mans,” AMR team principal George Howard-Chappell said. “I’d like to welcome Adrian to the team, I’m sure with his experience he will be a great addition to our driver lineup.”
Aston Martin was the first major international factory team to enter Sebring in 1953. It finished second place overall (and won its class) that year in the 12 Hours with Reg Parnell and George Abecassis driving a DB3. Aston Martin DB3S finished fourth overall and won class in 1956 with Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori driving.
Aston Martin won at Le Mans three years later with its DBR1. It returned to Sebring with a GT1 victory in 2005, 49 years after its previous Sebring win. The British manufacturer, wildly popular with its UK base, also was the GT1 champion at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008 with its DBR9.