“There are times when business takes an unexpected turn and for us this was the case with the disappearance of the FIA GT2”, is how Rudi Penders started off the conversation following the race alterations in GT2. “To our regret we won’t be in a position to defend our title FIA GT2. The FIA GT2 championship will not take place this year and this highly unexpected change of schedule resulted in our decision, in consultation with all partners concerned, to opt for the Le Mans Series. The LMS GT2 class boasts a highly qualitative competition environment, where we will be meeting up once again with our AF Corse and CRS opponents. Notwithstanding the fact that this changeover brings about a fair amount of adaptations, amongst other the length of the races, I’m fully convinced that with Marco Holzer and Richard Westbrook at the wheel of our Porsche 911 GT3 RSR we have to go full out for the title in LMS.”
Earlier this week SRO and the FIA announced that due to certain circumstances the FIA GT2 championship would not be held. “I’m not going to comment on the reasons why”, Luc Goris, the technical director continued, “that analysis has to be worked out by those responsible themselves. For us it was neither sporting nor organisationally pleasant news to hear. We hold the title in FIA GT2 and as such can neither defend it, nor extend it, something I really regret. On top of that we needed to find a valid alternative at short notice and set up a new programme. This we found in the Le Mans Series. With the changeover from the top-3 of the FIA GT2 teams to LMS, we do at least find ourselves back in a trustworthy environment.”
The Le Mans Series saw the light of day in 2004 and brings together five endurance competitions throughout Europe, amongst which the 1000 Km of Spa-Francorchamps on 9th and 10th May. The Le Mans Series kicks off on 10th and 11th April at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, and following on from the Belgian round in May, races are to be held in Portugal (Portimao), Hungary (Budapest) and England (Silverstone). The races vary between six hours or 1000 Km up to 8 hours. As the series name suggests the technical and sporting regulations comply with those of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
When it comes to the drivers ProSpeed Competition is calling on the services of Richard Westbrook and Marco Holzer, both active last season for the Belgian team. “All in all the choice wasn’t that difficult”, Rudi Penders added. “Richard Westbrook had a contract with us which also stipulated that apart from his programme with us he could also compete in other championships. Thanks to Porsche, Marco Holzer, Porsche Junior Driver, will join our team again. His presence confirms the good relationship we have with the factory.”
Meanwhile, both drivers travelled to Paul Ricard for the traditional LMS Test Days. In Paul Ricard ProSpeed Competition did a good job, “but the very cold weather conditions, with temperatures just above 0° Celsius, were far from ideal”, explains Richard Westbrook. “In a few weeks time, when the Le Mans Series will be back here for the first race of the season, everything could be different.”
“We have been focussing on tyre testing, which was necessary. In FIA GT2, there was no free choice of tyres, but in the Le Mans Series there are no tyre restrictions. So testing was very important”, continues Marco Holzer. “With a lap time of 1.59.213, we, although unexpected, managed to set fastest time in LM GT2. It was not a great surprise to see that our team managed to convert well from FIA GT2 to the Le Mans Series.”
In addition to the Richard Westbrook and Marco Holzer car, occasionally a second ProSpeed Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will be entered in the LMS.
2010 Le Mans Series
7-8 March Official Test – Paul Ricard (France)
9-10-11 April 1000Km of Catalunya (Spain)
7-8-9 May 1000Km of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
15-16-17 July 1000Km of Algarve (Portugal)
21-22 August 1000Km of Budapest (Hungary)
10-11-12 September 1000Km of Silverstone (England)