Lola scored more excellent results in both LMP1 and LMP2 classes at the final Le Mans Series race of 2009, the Silverstone 1000kms on Sunday. Speedy Sebah scored a dominant LMP2 win with their Lola B08/80 LMP2, while the Aston Martin Racing trio of Stefan Mucke, Tomas Enge and Jan Charouz confirmed themselves as champions with their Huntingdon designed and built B09/60 LMP.
Speedy Racing Team Sebah was the undoubted star of both classes during the 1000kms endurance race yesterday. The LMP1 Lola Aston Martin driven by Prost, Belicchi and Fassler was in line to take a popular victory after a stunning race saw them enter the final phase with a 20 second lead. However, an enforced pit stop to repair some louvers on the front bodywork meant they had to relinquish the lead to the ORECA-Aim of Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis.
Despite this late twist, Bart Hayden was delighted with the way his teams Lola’s performed over the weekend, saying: “The result has been coming and we have been quick all season. The whole team did a terrific job this weekend and now it puts in a good position to go in to the winter and to re-group for next season.”
Benjamin Leuenberger was equally happy after the win, which elevated the Speedy Sebah drivers in to runners up position in the LMP2 driver’s title. “We’ve been fast all year and unlucky at a few races, so a win was long overdue and I’m very happy with the victory. The P1 car had a good result today as well so it’s a perfect day for Speedy Sebah.”
Aston Martin Racing was also celebrating a title after the 007 Lola Aston Martin LMP1 Coupe finished in 3rd place. Stefan Mucke had grabbed the lead at the very start of the event and led the chasing pack for the first 50 minutes. Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge completed the driving, battling with Speedy Sebah and the eventual winners ORECA, right up until the final hour of the race.
“If the Pescarolo won we wanted to finish 5th,” said Jan Charouz, “so after their gearbox problems we decided to take a bit more cautious strategy and to change all four tyres. It feels very nice to be champions. With the results we have this season we have definitely deserved it.”
The sister Lola’s, #009 and #008, run by Aston Martin Racing, came home in 4th and 12th places respectively. Darren Turner completed an excellent first two stints and led briefly, before Harald Primat took over driving duties. A puncture during the Swiss drivers first stint lost the car valuable time but Turner completed the race in 4th place. The 008 Lola-Aston of Chris Buncombe, Stuart Hall and Miguel Ramos came home 12th after a delay to fix their alternator.
RML scored a richly deserved 2nd place in the LMP2 category. After a trying season where their inherent pace was masked by engine reliability problems, Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton savoured their result in the red, white and blue Lola LMP2 car.
“It’s great for the team and leaves a nice taste with us after a difficult year,” said Erdos. “We had quite a conservative race really but it was just great to see the chequered flag. Hopefully it means a nice springboard in to 2010 for us.”
2009 has been a stellar season for Lola in the Le Mans Series. The Constructors title in both LMP1 and LMP2 was won with one race remaining, while a total of 14 podium positions during the season highlighted clearly that the Lola designs are the customer cars to have in global sports car racing.
The 2009 season continues for Lola at Petit Le Mans on September 26. Five Lola LMP cars will be in action at the 1000-mile endurance event at Road Atlanta.