The Automobile Club De l’Ouest (ACO), official sanctioning body of the 24 Heures du Mans, has named Drayson Racing as one of 21 Le Mans Prototype One (LM P1) entries to its field.
84 total entries were received across the four classes to fill the 55 position starting grid for the 78th running of the classic sports car race. The 12-13 June event will also mark the second time for drivers Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) to campaign a car on the 13.629 Km/8.468 mile-long Circuit de la Sarthe for Drayson Racing. The duo will share a Lola B09-60 Coupé with Judd V10 power on Michelin tyres with a third driver to be announced at a later date.
The United Kingdom-based team premiered at the world’s most famous endurance race competing in the LM GT2 class for production-based cars in 2009. The programme ran competitively within the top 10 of class during the race. Despite a mid-race alternator failure, they rallied to make it within two hours of the chequered flag when a second electrical malfunction brought the team’s day to a close. For the final three race weekends of the season, the Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA)-managed operation changed to the purpose-built prototype class with a Lola closed-cockpit chassis and 650 horsepower Judd engine. Drayson and Cocker culminated the change by earning one pole position and setting two fastest race laps on the way to winning the Michelin ® Green X Challenge ® in the inaugural Asian Le Mans Series championship.
While still a young effort, Drayson Racing is not without its Le Mans wins. Team Manager White is a two-time winner at La Sarthe having managed GT teams to victory in 2003 and 2004. The American brings that experience to the privately owned LM P1 programme for a second season.
Drayson Racing will open its 2010 season at the 12 Hours of Sebring on 20 March. It will campaign the full American Le Mans Series season with races in Long Beach, Calif. (17 April) and Monterey, Calif. (22 May) prior to the annual twice-around-the-clock event in France. Events in Utah (10 July), Connecticut (24 July), Ohio (7 August), Wisconsin (22 August) and Canada (29 August) will precede a homecoming for the first Intercontinental Cup race at the Silverstone Circuit in England on 12 September. A 2 October return to North America for the 10 hour/1000 mile Petit Le Mans in Atlanta marks the second Intercontinental Cup event. The season, and the Intercontinental Cup, will conclude for Drayson Racing with races in the Asian Le Mans Series in late October/early November in Japan and/or China. The Intercontinental Cup is the highly anticipated precursor to a full, ACO-sanctioned world championship in the coming years.
Lady Drayson, Owner: “I am delighted that our team, Drayson Racing, is returning to Le Mans 24 hours in 2010, especially in the top LM P1 class. It is the world’s greatest motor race and it’s wonderful to be a part of it for the second time. This invitation will further establish our programme among the leading teams in the sport.”
Paul Drayson, Owner/Driver: “The ACO announcement is great news. In my head I’ve imagined what it’s going to be like racing down the Mulsanne at night – and probably in the wet – at top speed in an LM P1 and now I’m going to be doing it for real; totally, totally incredible. Brilliant news!”
Dale White, Team Manager: “It’s a dream come true to receive an invitation to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM P1 class. We’re a small team but we have assembled what we think is the best crew and car package for a privateer to challenge for the overall win at Le Mans against the top factory and privateer teams in the world. It will be a massive test but one we are approaching with a level head and high expectations. We are going to do everything we can to be the ‘David’ to their ‘Goliath’.”