Team Modena are delighted to today announce that Leo Mansell, son of 1992 Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell, will be one of the drivers in the team's LM GT2 Ferrari 430GT for the 2009 Le Mans Series - and the Le Mans 24-Hour race itself. Leo will share the new car with team regular Antonio Garcia, one of the world's leading GT drivers, with Nigel himself lending his experience from a lengthy and successful race career to the team's cause.
"We are pleased to have Leo joining Team Modena," says Team Principal Graham Schultz, "we are looking forward to a long relationship with Leo, and his partnership with Antonio Garcia should be a very strong one - Antonio has been a key part of Team Modena's international race success. Our link with Nigel is exciting, he will bring his huge experience of motorsport to bear on our programme and help us move to a new level."
"It's wonderful to have Leo and Nigel on board," says Sporting Director Rik Bryan. "The Mansells are a talented motorsport family and I think Leo will be suited to racing sportscars, and it's fantastic to reunite the Mansell name with Ferrari!"
"I think Leo is a natural for sportscar racing, he really took to the cars we tested last year," says Nigel Mansell. "The whole package has come together with the team, the Ferrari, Michelin etc, and we couldn't ask for a better team-mate. It will be a very exciting season, it will be my first visit to Le Mans and I am looking forward to it!"
Twenty-four year old Leo has raced in single-seaters, notably the highly-competitive British Formula Three Championship, and the Atlantic Championship in the US in 2007 and 2008, and is a welcome addition to Team Modena. Antonio has raced with Team Modena since November 2005, and in that time has twice completed Le Mans and recorded ten LMS podium finishes in the team's GT1 Aston Martin.
For Team Modena, the GT2 category has strategic long term importance, with a general trend in sportscar racing towards the category and a major world series in the offing. The 2009 campaign will also see the team form a relationship with Ferrari, one of the greatest names in world motorsport and a by-word for success and performance in motorsport. Multiple race winners in the LM GT1 class of the LMS in 2008 and acknowledged as the leading team in the category, the team will be aiming for that same level of success in the new challenge they now face.
The 2009 Le Mans Series schedule has already been announced by the organisers, with the five race season starting in Spain the first weekend of April, and then featuring endurance races in Belgium, Portugal, and Germany before finishing with a 1000km race at Silverstone in September 2009. The team will be contesting the 2009 Le Mans 24-Hour race on the weekend of 13th and 14th of June, aiming to continue their form in the race which has seen them never fail to bring their car to the finish.