Sebring, March 20, 2010
Drayson Racing has been riding a wave of momentum entering today's
58th Running of the 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida
which dated to 2009. The wave hit its crescendo this week at Sebring
International Raceway when driver Emanuele Pirro (Rome) attacked from
fourth on the starting grid to bring the No. 8 Drayson Racing Lola Coupé
with Judd Power into second overall early in the American Le Mans
Series (ALMS) season-opener. However, the electrifying run by the two-
time Sebring winner came to an end when the alternator failed three
hours and 34-minutes into the 12 hour race. Pirro shared the car with
regular team drivers Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and
Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK). Other issues with a water leak
dropped the programme further back, eventually closing the day with the
United Kingdom-based team fourth in Le Mans Prototype One (LMP1)
class, 12th overall.
In the critical Michelin® Green X® Challenge, the team finished as the
highest non-diesel powered entry. Taking third in this important
environmental award was the result of the team's use of second
generation, cellulosic E85 ethanol and its efficient combination of Judd
V10 engine and Lola's closed cockpit chassis. This success was yet
another example of the team's ability to maintain momentum event-to-
event. Drayson Racing won the Michelin Green X Challenge in the Asian
Le Mans Series in 2009 at the Okayama Circuit in Japan.
Like qualifying before it, the race proved the strength of the first-year LMP1
operation. Not only was the Drayson Lola fast in the hands of its drivers,
the team proved its ompetitive drive and professionalism in pit lane and
preparation. By overcoming two alternator issues - which were
discovered via onboard telemetry before the two separate incidents could
drain the lithium battery - and the water leak caused when a competitor
struck the Drayson machine, the Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA)-
managed organisation was able to reach the total race distance allowing
the drivers to score vital points in the combined LMP class championship.
The stop to replace the alternator, whist only 18 minutes in total, dropped
the car from the top-three to fourth in class. This would be the case for
most of the remainder of the day despite impressive lap times put in by
Drayson, Cocker and Pirro. The team proved very efficient and
professional in dealing with the issues. The loss of a second alternator at
the end of the day dropped Drayson Racing out of a solid top-10 to its
final position but it did take the chequered flag.
The team's performance and the car's speed will help it maintain the
momentum it has built. The second round of the ALMS season will be
held at Long Beach, Calif. on 17 April.
Elspeth, Lady Drayson, Owner/CEO
"I am very pleased we finished the race. Sebring is known as the
toughest race of the championship and a huge test for cars and drivers
alike. The team showed great spirit in dealing with the various issues as
the race progressed - but it was the amazing turn of speed early on that
gives me such optimism for this year."
Paul Drayson, Owner/Driver
"After an absolutely storming first hour where we really showed the speed
potential that we have. It was dogged determination that got us to the
finish of the 12 Hours of Sebring tonight. We earned vital points towards
the ALMS championship and learnt a huge amount to prepare for Le
Mans 24 Hours. A great start to 2010."
Jonny Cocker, Driver
"We really showed that we have absolutely huge potential this year. We
are going to have a strong year. We aren't going to struggle for pace
which is fantastic to have on our side. We have gathered a very strong
team that has a lot of positive experience with P cars and I think it is going
to be a very good year."
Emanuele Pirro, Driver
"There are positive things and a list of things to address. One positive is
that the car is very, very strong. Personally, the positive thing is that I found
the speed and the racecraft as I left it two years ago. All the things are still
there and this is great for me. We lost time with mechanical issues and
we had an accident when we were hit by a Peugeot. Really, the most
positive thing is to bring the car home to the finish because we collected
a lot of data that we can take to Le Mans. Thanks to the team and
congratulations to my teammates. I am looking forward to Laguna."
Dale White, Team Manager
"We obviously hoped for a better result. However, looking at it from the
positive side, we again showed that, without a doubt, we can run with
anyone. That opening stint was great racing to watch and I think it should
let everyone know we are here to race and to win."