Lola at Silverstone 1000kms

2008 Le Mans Series

Five Lola sportscars entered for Silverstone 1000kms   LMP1 Coupe debut for RML Lola heads to its home race at Silverstone this weekend with five entries for Sunday’s Autosport Silverstone 1000kms, the final round of the 2008 Le Mans Series.

This year has proved an exciting season for the new Lola Coupe design in both LMP1 and LMP2 categories.  A  third  example  will  be  making  its  debut  at  Silverstone  in  the  hands  of  2007  LMP2 Champions RML.

The team becomes the fourth Lola Coupe customer since the car was revealed at the beginning of the 2008 season. Surprising  the  LMS  paddock  with  its  switch  to  the  Coupe,  RML  will  effectively  be  undertaking  a testing session this weekend.

An initial shakedown test of the new model, christened the MG-Lola EX265C at Snetterton last Wednesday. RML’s sportscar team manager, Phil Barker said: “This has been an incredibly quick build and lots of people have been involved along the way at RML and Lola. The car ran without any significant problems at all.

To achieve such a level of basic reliability has been excellent and what little issues there have been, we’ve largely been able to iron-out during the course of the test day.” Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton are both relishing this new challenge and looking forward to racing the car on home turf, with Erdos saying: “This is day-one in the life of a new racing car and as such, I’m very excited about the whole thing. I’m also pleased that things have gone so smoothly. When you bring together all the complex systems of a race car like this, you’re always up against it when you decide to attempt something so major during mid-season.”

Charouz Racing System will give the striking LMP1 Lola Coupe its British debut at Silverstone with Jan Charouz and Stefan Mucke looking to continue what has so far been a competitive first year for the Aston Martin-powered Lola. A podium finish on the Lola’s debut at Barcelona in April, was followed by a credible 8th position at the  Le  Mans  24  Hours  in  June.  Nürburgring  then  saw  a  stunning  qualifying  and  a  strong  race performance,  which  has  provided  a  platform  for  a  great  end  to  the  season  for  Charouz  Racing System at Silverstone this weekend.

Charouz Lola-Aston Martin racer Stefan Mucke said: “Following our good performance and result in the  1000  km  Nürburgring  race  I  am  looking  forward  to  Silverstone  and  hope  that  Jan  and  I  can achieve a similar result there. I would also like to repeat my qualifying performance, which put us third on the grid in Germany.” Speedy Racing Team Sebah travel to Silverstone with plenty of optimism after showing that they are the only consistent LMP2 threat to the title winning Porsche LMP car.

The Judd powered Lola B08/80  driven  by  Xavier  Pompidou,  Steve  Zacchia  and  Andrea  Belicchi  will  thrive  at  the  quick Northamptonshire circuit with the ‘slippery’ Lola Coupe. After a stunning debut at Barcelona in the first round where they finished 2nd in the LMP2 class, the striking, Michelin shod Lola has been stymied by persistent problems but has still proved to be one of the fastest LMP2 cars in the field. Few doubt that with a clear run they are a serious threat to the Porsche LMP2 entries.

Also in the hunt for top results in one of the UK’s top racing fixtures will be the Quifel-ASM and the Kruse-Schiller  squads.  The  Portuguese  based  ASM  team  have  proved  that  they  are  one  of  the leading LMP2 propositions in recent years and are racing with their familiar blue and black B05/40 that first tasted success as far back as the Spa 1000kms in 2005.

With the quick French driver Olivier Pla partnering team regular Miguel Amaral, the AER-powered Lola  could  be  in  the  hunt  for  a  potential  podium  position  at  the  end  of the 1000kms on Sunday, which would be their first of the season.

 The Siegburg-based Kruse Schiller team arrive at Silverstone aiming for a solid result after finding improved  pace  at  Nurburgring  last  month.  Only  a  persistent  clutch  problem  stopped  them  from scoring some healthy points at their home race then. Jean De Pourtales and

Hideki Noda will once again drive the Lola-Mazda LMP2 with team boss Kai Kruse confident they can finish on a real high at Silverstone after what has proved a trying year for the team.

 The Le Mans Series finale starts at 11.20 bst on Sunday. Motors TV will be showing the race live. Commentary can also be heard on radiolemans.com