LMS: Aston Martin Racing set for Barcelona debut - 01.04.2009
The Aston Martin Racing team is set to make its debut in the premier class of the Le Mans Series this weekend, with a two-car factory entry in the 1000 kilometres of Catalunya: the opening round of the LMS.
The two cars – numbered 007 and 009 – will be driven by Jan Charouz (CZ), Tomas Enge (CZ) and Stefan Mucke (DE) (007) and Harold Primat (CH), Miguel Ramos (PT) and Darren Turner (GB) (009).
Aston Martin Racing will compete in the entire Le Mans Series for the first time this season with the new Aston Martin LMP1 car, as well as the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
Barcelona, the opening race of the five-round LMS, is a technical circuit that tests every aspect of a car and driver’s performance: one of the reasons why it is a popular Formula 1 testing venue as well as the home of the Spanish Grand Prix.
For Aston Martin Racing, Barcelona marks the first step of a steep learning curve. With just one official pre-season test at Paul Ricard behind the team, the new LMP1 car is lacking in track mileage and the objective in Spain will be primarily to develop the car. The driver line-up includes two new faces; Harold Primat and Miguel Ramos, with the rest of the drivers all having formed part of the factory squad in the past.
Aston Martin Racing will face strong and experienced opposition at Barcelona, including a number of diesel-powered cars that have recently dominated the series. With 11 cars entered in the top LMP1 category and 15 cars in LMP2, the action is sure to be frenetic throughout the 215 laps – which equate to 1000.82 kilometres of the Spanish circuit.
After qualifying on Saturday afternoon, the race will get underway with a rolling start at 11:30 on Sunday and it is expected to finish at around 17:30. The two blue and orange Aston Martin Racing cars will take to the track for the first time on Friday afternoon, for the first of two free practice sessions prior to qualifying.
Aston Martin Racing Team Principal George Howard-Chappell commented: “The first race of the new season is in many ways the most exciting one of all, because nobody really knows where they are relative to their rivals. From our point of view, we’re as well prepared as we’ll ever be although there’s a lot of work still ahead. With our programme only confirmed quite late in the day, we’ve had to do an awful lot in a very short space of time, so I’d like to thank everybody in the team for their hard work and dedication that has brought us up to this point. I’m sure it’s going to be a very interesting race at Barcelona, and it’s impossible really to predict what might happen.”
Jan Charouz: "I´m very curious about what to expect. So far we haven´t got to do many kilometres with the new car even at the only one official pre-season test at Paul Ricard Circuit there weren´t all the competitors. So until Barcelona we won´t see how we compare to the competition. However our goal is podium. It will be important to achieve good results steadily and not make any mistakes. It is the only way to win the series. Our main objective is the best possible achievement in 24 hours of Le Mans. Therefore in Barcelona and Spa we have to prepare for this race above all."
Tomas Enge: "For our team Barcelona means the first trial and the first comparing with diesel-powered cars after the technical regulations´ change. We suppose the fight would be closer than in previous seasons. However the real comparison we won´t know until Barcelona. Running the new car we will learn above all. We will do everything we can for the best result though."
Antonin Charouz, head-manager of Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge: "I am looking forward to Barcelona, especially when Jan, Tomas and Stefan [Mucke] will drive the car number 007. In Aston Martin Racing team the car number 007 traditionally belongs to the team leading crew. It is a shame we couldn´t test more than we did. Therefore Barcelona and Spa should be another tests before 24 hours of Le Mans held in June."
Aston Martin Racing will host a media ‘Meet and Greet’ at Barcelona, in the team’s hospitality unit in the paddock from 17:00-18:00 on Saturday 4 April. All accredited media are welcome.
1000 KM CATALUNYA - TIMETABLE:
|Friday - 3th April|
|16:20 - 17:50||Free Practice 1|
|Saturday - 4th April|
|10:45 - 12:15||Free Practice 2|
|15:00 - 15:20||Qualifying GT1 & GT2|
|15:30 - 15:50||Qualifying LMP1 & LMP2|
|Sunday - 5th April|
|09:00 - 09:20||Warm-Up|
|11:30 - 17:30||1000 KM CATALUNYA|
Photo: Aston Martin Racing
LE MANS SERIES 2009 SCHEDULE
|08-09/03||Le Castellet (tests)|
|03-05/04||1000 km Barcelona|
|25-26/04||Le Mans (tests)|
|08-10/05||1000 km Spa-Francorchamps|
|31/07-02/08||1000 km Algarve|
|21-23/08||1000 km Nürburgring|
|11-13/09||1000 km Silverstone|
24 HOURS of LE MANS 2009
|13-14/06||24 hours of Le Mans|
|Official website: Aston Martin Racing||www.astonmartinracing.com|
|Official website: Prodrive||www.prodrive.com|
|Official website: Tomas Enge||www.tomas-enge.cz|
|Official website: Jan Charouz||www.jan-charouz.cz|
|Official website: Stefan Mücke||www.stefan-muecke.jgsm.de|
|Official website: Le Mans Series||www.lemans-series.com|
|Official website: 24h Le Mans||www.lemans.org|