This weekend sees the running of the 78th LeMans 24 hour race and in this article we will be highlighting the British drivers and teams taking part.
Last year, Peugeot won the race with its driver combination of David Brabham, Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz. This year, David Brabham’s seat has been taken by ex-F1 driver Anthony Davidson. Peugeot’s closest rivals Audi, will be wanting to regain their winning streak (victories in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), and once again have Scot Allan McNish in their driver lineup. While it is expected that a factory team (Peugeot or Audi) will win, an outside bet would be Team Oreca Matmut or Aston Martin Racing. Former BTCC driver and current FIA GT1 driver Darren Turner will be driving for Aston Martin Racing in the 009 car.
The LMP1 class sees a debut for the Beechdean Mansell team. The British team will be using a Ginetta Zytek for the race, and it’s driver lineup is a family affair. 1992 F1 champion Nigel Mansell and his two sons Greg and Leo will be looking to gain experience of the race and develop their car which has only raced once this year, at the Paul Ricard circuit in the LMES series.
The third British LMP1 team (after Aston Martin Racing and Beechdean), is Drayson Racing. Owned by Lord Drayson, Drayson Racing ran in the GT2 class last year and this year will be its first at LeMans in the LMP1 group. The team will be running a Lola Judd Coupe. Drayson Racing’s driver lineup is a blend of youth and experience, with Paul Drayson, Jonny Cocker and former LeMans winner Emmanuel Pirro driving the #11.
In the LMP2 class, Northamptonshire based team RML is a potential class winner with its Lola HPD Coupe. An experienced lineup includes Mike Newton and past winner Andy Wallace. Two other British teams will be competing in LMP2; Team Bruichladdich and Strakka Racing. Bruichladdich will be using the Ginetta Zytek 09s while Strakka is using a HPD ARX 01. Scotsman Marino Franchitti will be driving for the pre-race LMP2 class favourites, Highcroft Racing.
In the GT2 class, Oliver Gavin is in the successful Corvette Racing team and is one of the favourites alongside Andy Priaulx who is driving for BMw in the M3. This year BMW are running one of their special ‘art car’ liveries.
The sole British team in the GT class is GT2 outfit JMW Motorsport. JMW finished 4th in the GT2 class last year and will be looking to repeat their strong performance. The team will be using an Aston Martin Vantage.
Full list of British teams:
Beechdean Mansell [LMP1], car #5
Drayson Racing [LMP1], car #11
Aston Martin Racing [LMP1], cars #007 and #009
RML [LMP2], car #25
Team Bruichladdich [LMP2], car #41
Strakka Racing [LMP2], car #42
JMW Motorsport [GT2], car #92
Full list of British drivers:
Nigel Mansell, Leo Mansell, Greg Mansell [Beechdean Mansell]
Anthony Davidson [Team Peugeot Total]
Andy Meyrick [AIM Team Oreca Matmut]
Paul Drayson, Jonny Cocker [Drayson Racing]
Guy Smith [Rebellion Racing]
Oliver Jarvis [Kolles]
Darren Turner, Sam Hancock [Aston Martin Racing #009]
Mike Newton, Andy Wallace [RML]
Jonathan Kennard [KSM]
Marino Franchitti [Highcroft Racing]
Warren Hughes [Quifel ASM]
Tim Greaves [Team Bruichladdich]
Nick Leventis, Danny Watts, Jonny Kane [Strakka Racing]
Oliver Gavin [Corvette Racing]
Andy Priaulx [BMW]
Ryan Dalziel [Jaguar RSR]
Peter Dumbreck [Spyker Squadron]
Rob Bell, Tim Sugden [JMW Motorsport]
Richard Westbrook [BMS Scuderia]