Benjamin Leuenberger English Leave a Comment

This weekend, after completing earlier pre-season tests in Portugal and France, SNORAS Spyker Squadron is ready to kick-off it’s 2008 motor sport season. The team will compete this weekend in the first race of the five round Le Mans Series.

The Le Mans Series will start the season this weekend with a packed season entry list, close to its maximum allowance of 50 cars in Barcelona, Spain. The Spanish round will be followed by Monza, Italy, in just three weeks before the teams head for Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, in the second week of May. The last two rounds will be held after the famous 24-Hours of Le Mans; the Nurburgring, Germany, 1000 km race will be organised mid-August and the last round, Silverstone, United Kingdom, mid-September.

Like previous years the team will also compete in the most famous and grueling race of the year; the 24-Hours of Le Mans, held mid-June. New this year is a one-off ACO event in Asia: the 1000 km of Shanghai, China. This Asian race will be the season finale for the Dutch team.

Based on the experience and knowledge gained over the last two seasons with the C8 Spyder the Dutch team have built two brand new cars over the course of the winter with all the latest developments and technology aboard. The Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R replaces the successful C8 Spyder, the first Spyker that earned podium positions for the Dutch manufacturer of exclusive sports cars in the international GT arena. The new Laviolette GT2-R has been built from the ground up around a new, much stiffer, aluminium chassis with upgraded suspension, data acquisition, electrical harnesses and fuel tank. Also the dashboard layout, engine components and motor management system have been upgraded to the highest standards and off course the aerodynamics of the car have been further improved. The total package results in a new platform to engage the GT2 competition at the highest level thinkable.

The new Laviolette GT2-R was presented to the press last month at the International Geneva Motor Show where Spyker Squadron also welcomed Lithuanian SNORAS Bank as its title sponsor for the upcoming season. At the same time Spyker Squadron again signed a partnership with Alexandre Pesci, owner of Swiss Spyker dealer team Speedy Racing. Speedy racing is again partnered by LEMO Connectors and welcomes Rebellion Horlogerie as one of its latest sponsors. The partnership of Lithuanian SNORAS Bank and the continued support of Alexandre Pesci helped to accelerate the team’s 2008 plans.

The team worked hard to finalize the cars for the first event. Last Monday Squadron completed a successful shakedown before the cars went on transport to Barcelona on Tuesday.

Peter van Erp, Managing Director Spyker Squadron: “I am very excited and pleased with the newly build cars; they are really the next generation of Spyker GT race cars. In preparation of our first race this season this weekend we have missed valuable track time but we have to take that for granted. Our goal for the weekend is to work towards a setup that matches at least the highest performance level reached with the C8 Spyder, the Laviolette’s predecessor. From there we should be able to gradually improve times and performance for the next events”.

Peter continues: “Our number 85 car will be driven by Alexey Vasiliev (RUS), Ralf Kelleners (GER) and Peter Dumbreck (GBR). Peter Dumbreck is well known to the team. He has lots of experience with the car and I am happy that he joins us for another season. I am also very pleased with the arrival of Ralf. Ralf brings lots of race experience but he is also one of those drivers that is technically underwritten and he can help us to translate the car’s behavior on track to the mechanics that develop and setup the car. Alexey is also new to the team and I am looking forward to work with him. He tested the car earlier this year in Estoril and we will support him to quickly find the right pace in the new Laviolette”.

The second car, the number 94, will be piloted by Andrea Chiesa (SUI) and Benjamin Leuenberger (SUI). Peter van Erp: “Chiesa is our second Spyker regular. He knows the team and car very well and is a very keen driver. Based on his experience I expect him to reach a new level of performance. Benjamin has tested a Spyker in 2007 and also drove the C8 Spyder at Paul Ricard last month. I was surprised by his calmness and professional approach and suspect he will perform well”.

Victor Muller, CEO Spyker Cars: “We are truly excited to kick off the Le Mans Series season with such a great title sponsor, Snoras Bank, and co-sponsors. The driver line-up is very professional and promising and we are confident that the massive efforts that Peter van Erp and his team have put into the new 2008 Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R will pay off. More than ever before are we battling for podium places in the most competitive field that GT2 racing has seen in years. We are looking forward to an exciting and sportive season”.

Two one-hour free practice sessions are planned for Friday and a third one is scheduled for Saturday morning. In the afternoon the GT1 and GT2 cars will jointly qualify in a 20 minute session. The 1000 km or six hour race will start on Sunday at 11:35 CET and will be aired live by MotorsTV. New this year is a broadcasting agreement between Eurosport and the LMS. With its three channels over 110 millions homes can be reached worldwide.

At all events SNORAS Spyker Squadron will regularly post updates and reports on the team’s website (www. spykersquadron.com).

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