Wednesday 18 May 2011

24 Hour Le Mans: Highcroft withdraws – Vanina Ickx’s Aston Martin will race in the Le Mans 24 Hours!

The American team, Highcroft Racing, has officially informed the Automobile Club de l’Ouest of its withdrawal from the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Kronos team’s Lola-Aston Martin, first on the reserve list, will take part in the race on 11th - 12th June 2011.

Highcroft Racing will not be part of the Le Mans 24 Hours 2011 with the Honda Performance Development ARX-01e (LM P1 category). A decision commented by Duncan Dayton, Highcroft’s team boss:
“We certainly appreciate the massive impact the earthquake and tsunami has had on the people of Japan and the huge challenges facing Japanese business. It appears this may have contributed to Honda's decision and we fully respect and understand their position.”

The unfortunate withdrawal of the Highcroft Racing (2nd 2011 Sebring 12 Hours) It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and the Lola-Aston Martin of the well-known Belgian team, Kronos, will be pleased to replace this entry on the list of those invited to attend scrutineering and admin. checks for the coming Le Mans 24 Hours. This car, which took part in the test day on 24th April, will be driven by a trio of quick, experienced Belgians: Vanina Ickx, 6-time winner Jacky Ickx’s daughter, Bas Leinders, former F1 driver, and Maxime Martin, a rising hope in Belgian motor sport.

There are still two cars left on the reserve list (in the order) the Robertson team’s Doran Ford GT and the Young Driver AMR Aston Martin Vantage. Should there be further withdrawals, whether in the prototype or GT categories, they will become part of the field for the 79th Le Mans 24 Hours.

Thursday 12th May was the closing date for informing the ACO of the driver line-ups. These have published today, Tuesday, after the usual checks (link at the bottom of the press release). While the majority of names were already known, newcomers include former Portuguese F1 driver Tiago Monteiro who will replace Matthieu Lahaye (accident in qualifying for the Spa-Francorchamps 1000 kms) in the #15 OAK Racing Pescarolo, and Shinji Nakano, also a former F1 driver, who will team up with Jan Charouz and Nicolas de Crem in the #49 OAK Racing Pescarolo. There are two new driver line-ups in the two Lotus Evoras including a very British one with Rossiter and Mowlem, etc.

Info: Official lemans.or/ACO/acreditated media press

Photo : Christelle MASSE - ACO/Nikon

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