One year ago, Drayson Racing debuted the No.8 Drayson Racing Lola Coupé with Judd Power in the LMP1 class of the Petit Le Mans. The clear mission of the move into the ALMS, and indeed the world's, top class of sportscar racing was to create a platform from which the United Kingdom-based organisation could advance the development of environmentally sustainable motoring. The 2 October 10-hour/1000-mile (1,609Km) endurance event at Road Atlanta (Braselton, GA) marks the anniversary of racing the only Flex-Fuelled entry in the massive, 45-car field. The V10 engine powering drivers Paul Drayson, Jonny Cocker and Emanuele Pirro at the ALMS-finale is the sport's first true Flex-Fuel motor capable of racing on both E10 bio-ethanol and second-generation, cellulosic E85. Celebrating a green message which dates back to 2006, the green Drayson entry will be fuelled by E85 at Petit Le Mans by Mazda2.
Among the highlights awaiting the Dale White-managed operation at the 2.54-mile/4.08Km, 12-turn Road Atlanta facility will be the return of three-time Petit Le Mans, overall winner Pirro to the driver line-up. The five-time, 24 Hours of Le Mans champion last raced the No.8 as a substitute for the injured Paul Drayson at Salt Lake City. There, Pirro and Cocker raced to the team's first ALMS podium (second-overall). Previously this season, Pirro joined Drayson and Cocker at Sebring, Laguna Seca and at Le Mans.
Since introducing E85 bio-ethanol to the Judd V10 at the ALMS season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring in March, Drayson Racing has campaigned the season alternating between E10 fuel and E85. The 10 per cent blend of ethanol to petrol fuelled the prototype at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Silverstone 1000Km and will do so again for 1000Km in China. E85 fuel powered the car to an ALMS victory at Road America, two pole positions (Mid-Ohio and Road America) and two Michelin® Green X® Challenge victories (Salt Lake City, Road America). The E85-fuelled car also led significant portions of Salt Lake City and Lime Rock. Switching between the two fuels demands a lot of the Drayson Racing crew which must make fuel cell and fuel pump changes to optimise fuel delivery and change race day strategy for the different fuel stint duration.
As part of its 13th anniversary, the Petit Le Mans is hosting the second-round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) of which Drayson Racing is the sole, LMP1, privateer entrant. Following the 12 September inaugural event at Silverstone (UK) of the three race championship, the Drayson prototype is currently fourth in the P1 team and manufacturer standings - no driver trophy is to be awarded this season. Six prototype entries will campaign the full ILMC which concludes 7 November in Zhuhai, China.
Paul Drayson\Owner/Driver: "After showing our pace on E10 fuel at Silverstone in the European Le Mans Series I am delighted we are back again in the United States running our Flex-Fuel Lola-Judd on E85, second-generation bio-ethanol at Road Atlanta. There is a real buzz around green race technology this year at Petit Le Mans and I'm proud that Drayson Racing is a part of this exciting future."
Jonny Cocker\Driver: "It's been a year since the first race in the Drayson Racing Lola-Judd and it's been a huge learning curve for me as a driver but I feel totally on-top of the car now. That's huge credit to the great car and engine package that Lola and Judd respectively have put together and with the superb Michelin tyres. They have made the car an incredibly useable, yet very competitive, package. I can't wait to drive again this year and see how different it feels with a year's P1 experience under my belt. Again teaming up with Emanuele Pirro will be great! I love learning and being involved with drivers with such great experience is a huge plus. We will use it to our advantage in the race and do our best to come out on top!Like atRoad America, our goal is to take the Michelin Green X Challenge trophy, again proving that, with the right people involved, being green and being fast is a very achievable prospect for not only Drayson Racing but other privateer teams in the future."
Emanuele Pirro\Driver: "Petit is an extremely difficult, demanding and dangerous race. I have a lot of respect for it. It is always tough and competitive and doing well gives you a lot of satisfaction. The more competitors, the more prestige and glory. However, in this difficult and demanding track too many cars could be serious problem and potentially dangerous. All of us have to be extremely professional and disciplined in handling the traffic with minimum risks.For what I learned about our car during the four races I did so far, I believe it can be fast and competitive at Road Atlanta. But when Audi and Peugeot are racing together they can be very, very strong. At Petit there will be a bunch of extremely competitive cars that we have to watch as well. It is a very difficult and prestigious race where a lot of people want to shine."
Dale White\Team Manager: "We met my expectations on-track in competing with the other petrol-cars at Silverstone in the Le Mans Series. Now we come to back to the ALMS to show our middle-of-the-season success was no fluke. Road Atlanta was good for us right out of the box last year and I am confident we can better that performance with a whole season of running the car and Michelin tyres under our belts. We are realistic about going against the diesels for overall and in the ILMC but we are not going to give anything away either. We are here to show what a sustainable fuel package can do and what Drayson Racing can achieve against the best competition in the world."
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