The young Aston Martin Le Mans racing team will be making its Japanese debut on Halloween with its hot Gulf Oil liveried LMP1. Given the October 31st running of the event, we were hoping for something a bit spookier.
ASTON MARTIN RACING SET FOR ASIAN LE MANS DEBUT
Gaydon, October 20 2009. Aston Martin Racing will make its Japanese debut with the stunning Gulf liveried LMP1 car at the inaugural round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Okayama.
The team will field one LMP1 car numbered 007 in the races on October 31 and November 1 2009. Harald Primat (CH) moves from his usual seat in the 009 Aston Martin to join 007 regular Stefan Mücke (DE) and complete the driver line-up.
Following its incredible clean sweep of the Team, Driver and Manufacturer Le Mans Series titles, the British team is looking forward to the challenge of competing at the 2.3 mile (3.7 km) Okayama International Circuit. The 13-turn course was built in 1992 and the Asian Le Mans Series will share the race weekend with the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
"2009 has been a fantastic year," said Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell. "We have enjoyed great success all over Europe and now we head to Japan to compete in the first ever Asian Le Mans Series race."
Aston Martin Racing will face strong and experienced opposition at Okayama, including a number of the team's European Le Mans Series rivals. In addition to the Aston Martin Racing LMP1 entry there will be two further Aston Martins competing - a GT1 DBR9 from Hitotsuyama Team Nova and a Vantage GT2 from Team Hong Kong Racing.
Driver Stefan Mücke (DE) is thrilled to be racing in Japan: "I'm very excited, this will be my first visit to Japan. It is definitely going to be an interesting experience but one I'm looking forward to. It's difficult to say if the circuit will suit the car as we haven't tested there before so we will have to wait and see.
"I'm partnering with Harald (Primat) for the first time in Japan but as he is tall like me I think we will be able to find a comfortable driving position.
"It will be great to be back behind the wheel of the Aston Martin LMP1 car. The shorter three-hour format will mean qualifying is more important as the races will be more like sprints.
"We are stopping in Tokyo before the race to attend a function for our sponsors and Aston Martin customers and I can't wait to spend time in this exciting city."
Team-mate Harold Primat (CH) is also looking forward to racing in Japan: "I studied Japanese at Business School for two years prior to embarking on my racing career but I never actually made it to Japan so it will be good to finally visit.
"It is great to be driving with Stefan, he has done an amazing job all season and although I have really enjoyed driving with Darren (Turner) it will be interesting to share a different experience with another great driver.
"For me it doesn't make too much difference if it is a three hour race or our usual six hour race – it will be a little bit more intense but we always race hard so it will be business as usual. I'm really enthusiastic about the race and the event in Tokyo, I'm feeling very motivated."
The blue and orange liveried Aston Martin Racing challenger will take to the track for the first time on Friday October 30 for two one-hour practice sessions prior to the 20 minute qualifying session in the afternoon. The first of two three-hour races will get underway on Saturday 31 October with a rolling start at 12:30. The second race will commence on Sunday 1 November at 09:00.