Drayson Racing will start 14th overall in its second 24 Hours of Le Mans, first in the Le Mans Prototype One (LM P1) category. Jonny Cocker turned the quickest lap of the week in the No.11 Drayson Racing Lola Coupé with Judd Power during the opening laps of today's second of three practice/qualifying sessions for the 12-13 June event. The tour of the 13.629 Km/8.468 mile-long Circuit de la Sarthe came in just three minutes, 31.862 seconds. During today's sessions, all three members of the Drayson programme - Cocker, Paul Drayson and Emanuele Pirro - took turns at the wheel of the closed-cockpit prototype.

It was a stirring battle for the team to bring the effort back from the brink of a potential disaster on Wednesday. In the waning moments of the final of two, two hour sessions, just as Pirro pulled on course for a final test, the telemetry reported low oil in engine. The Dale White managed team immediately brought the car to stop on course and determined not to risk further damage to the engine. This necessitated an engine change. Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organisers of the event, regulations dictate that a car may only use two engines per weekend. Therefore, an engine change prior to tonight's session would be the second of the engines and mandate a limited running of the car thereafter. Cocker took to the challenge bringing the Lola up to speed quickly turning his fastest qualifying lap on his third trip around the legendary circuit. In doing so, he validated the hard work of the Drayson crew and ranked the car as the fastest, privateer Lola in the field.

Saturday's race start will re-incorporate a modern, safer interpretation of the "running Le Mans" start with drivers lining-up opposite their cars and running across to strap in. To ensure safety, crew members will assist in the belting-in of the drivers and the cars will form in an orderly fashion for the more modern rolling start that comes with the waving of the French Tri-Colour at 15:00 (Central European Summer Time). Making this historic start for Drayson Racing will be Paul Drayson.


Paul Drayson/Owner/Driver:
"Racing a British racing car in the top prototype class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the greatest possible challenge and thrill for me. It is what I have worked for all these years and I know that it will live up to its reputation as the world's best motor race. The team did a great job getting the engine changed and the car ready for qualifying today. We knew we only had a few laps in which to get a time and Jonny did a superb lap just as the light was fading and rain coming in."

Jonny Cocker/Driver:
"We've had our issues over the week. We made some good adjustments and we had to quantify them to see how much difference we made so we had a go with a lower fuel load and new Michelin tyres. I managed to get one reasonable lap in. We haven't really shown our hand. It's a long race. It's a shame we didn't have a chance to have a proper go and be up there with the other petrol cars. Pace is not the number one priority in this race. We need to concentrate on having a good race car; something we can drive confidently for 24 hours. I feel like we have that."

All pictures courtesy of Jakob Ebrey