Sebring, 19 March, 2010
Drayson Racing will start fourth, outside of Row Two, for tomorrow's 58th
Running of the 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. The
qualifying effort follows an off-season of intense preparation by the team
and positions the No. 8 Drayson Racing Lola Coupé with Judd Power as
the highest ranking American Le Mans Series (ALMS) privateer entry. The
qualifying lap of one minute, 46.46 seconds by Emanuele Pirro (Rome)
places the United Kingdom-based, Le Mans Prototype One (LMP1)
operation directly behind the factory programme of Peugeot and
alongside the factory effort of Aston Martin Racing. Pirro joins regular
Drayson Racing pilots Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and
Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) for the opening round of the
American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at 10:30 (ET).
This marks the second Sebring start for Drayson Racing having run to
10th in GT2 class last season prior to the transition to prototypes. With
the objective to invest the last portion of the '09 season towards
developing the team and car for 2010, Drayson Racing entered the Lola-
Judd in four events over three race weekends. Drayson Racing was
instantly on pace at its Petit Le Mans debut. The team closed the season
with a two-race effort in the Asian Le Mans Series earning a pole position,
setting two fastest race laps and winning the coveted Michelin® Green X®
Challenge at the Okayama Circuit in Japan.
Carrying this momentum into the off-season, the Dale White (Bozeman,
MT,USA)-managed organisation spent the winter months preparing and
fine-tuning the Lola-Judd. Extensive use of computer simulations and the
full-scale, sevenpost, chassis rig provided the team with insight to create
an instantly strong platform for the 2010 season. A platform which
showed well against the factory backed coffers of its competition.
The foresight to begin the programme in late 2009 and the intense off-
season development effort allowed Drayson Racing to test and practice
consistently in the top-four and to qualify within 0.6 seconds of a front row
start. This is a strong pace for a young team when put up against the
factory works cars from Aston Martin and Peugeot.
Pirro, a two-time winner of the 12 Hours, set his fastest qualifying time on
his fifth of eight laps of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn circuit. He briefly parked the
closed-cockpit No. 8 to cool the Michelin tyres before returning but, after
one lap, felt the car had given its best lap for the conditions.
Paul Drayson, Owner/Driver
"The team did a fantastic job getting the car all ready to go. I am really
pleased with the fourth place on the grid which puts us ahead of all the
other cars we'll be racing for the championship through the rest of the
year. We're in a good position to make a good start to the race and our
Jonny Cocker, Driver
"It's been a really good week in terms of building up. We've been trying
different things but as Sebring always does the track changes quite a lot
and quite often throughout each day. We have gone back to our base
setting which works really nicely. We had a really solid qualifying with
Emanuele in the car. P4 on the grid is obviously a good position to start
from but can mean anything. It's all going to be a little different once we
start the race. Our race pace has shown strong all week and we have
confidence in the Michelin tyres. Solid strategy, good driver changes, run
our own race and we'll worry about the result at the end of the race. We
have a good chance at a good overall result. Everyone just needs to pull
together like they have been all week and we'll be good."
Emanuele Pirro, Driver
"The main positive thing is that the car is as good as it was in the
morning. No sign of any problems. I can't say that I have been using the
Michelin tyres real well. We have to get some experience using the tyres
and building the pressures and the grip in a proper way. I think there was
something more in the car to come but the time makes me very happy.
Second row is the best we could expect. I went out at the end again to
learn a little more about these tyres for the race tomorrow. We are here to
complete a 12 hour race and not set a pole position."
Dale White, Team Manager
"We knew the two factory efforts would be very difficult here at Sebring.
However, to be the quickest of the privateers and of the ALMS regulars is
really gratifying. Because we knew about where we would be in qualifying
we have really focused on the race setup. We are right where we want to
be for the race with the car. After a long winter it is good to be going