Aston Martin ready for the challenge of Spa

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gaydon, 6 May, 2009. Fresh from its debut Le Mans Series victory at the opening round of this year’s championship in Barcelona, Aston Martin Racing now heads to the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Spa, the home of the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix, is renowned as one of the world’s greatest drivers’ circuits, featuring classic corners such as Eau Rouge and Blanchimont. At just over seven kilometres long, in the heart of the Ardennes mountains, the track is fast, twisty and hilly – and it is also subject to a unique microclimate that can make weather conditions extremely variable.

Aston Martin Racing will field two LMP1 cars for the second round of this year’s Le Mans Series. The 007 car of Jan Charouz (CZ), Tomas Enge (CZ) and Stefan Mucke (DE) will be joined once more by the 009 car of Harold Primat (CH), Miguel Ramos (PT) and Darren Turner (GB).

The Aston Martins will again face extremely strong opposition in Spa, which marks the first appearance of the diesel-powered Peugeot squad that will compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours next month. In total, 51 cars will take the rolling start of the Spa 1000 kilometres at 12:50 on Sunday 10 May. The race will last for 143 laps and around six hours before the finish at 18:50.

The iconic blue and orange Gulf liveried Aston Martins will take to the track for the first time on Friday afternoon at 16:30, for the first of two free practice sessions prior to qualifying on Saturday at 13:55.

The six-hour Spa race forms part of Aston Martin Racing’s preparations for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours, 50 years on from the company’s last Le Mans win in 1959. With so many variables and difficult track conditions at Spa, the team is expecting a challenging weekend ahead.

Aston Martin Racing Team Principal George Howard-Chappell commented: “Following our success in Barcelona we are very much looking forward to getting back to the Ardennes and seeing how our car performs against a completely different type of challenge, which is Spa. Of course we will be facing some important new rivals in Belgium, namely the factory Peugeot team and also the new Oreca, but we’re all feeling confident and upbeat as we head to Spa-Francorchamps.”

Aston Martin will also be represented at this year’s Spa 1000 kilometres by two customer teams. Jetalliance Racing will field a DBR9 in the GT1 class for the first time this year, while Drayson Racing will run its Vantage GT2 in the GT2 category following a promising Le Mans Series debut in Barcelona.

Aston Martin Racing will host a media ‘Meet and Greet’ at Spa, in the team’s hospitality unit in the paddock from 19:00-20:00 on Saturday 9 May. All accredited media are welcome.
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