Drayson Racing remains on course to debut their new Lola-Judd P1 car at Petit Le Mans, following a successful shakedown with a productive opening test at Road Atlanta.
The team, which has previous campaigned a GT2 class Aston Martin Vantage, running in both the American and European Le Mans Series, including a Le Mans 24 Hours debut earlier this year, decided to move in the premier class “last month”, according to team owner Elspeth Drayson.
The car's first outing came in the week before the European Le Mans Series finale at Silverstone (where Drayson entered their GT2 Aston), when the team conducted a shakedown on the small Stowe circuit.
Now ahead of the 1000mile/10hour race at the Braselton, Georgia track the team has taken part in the opening sessions ahead of the race itself on Saturday. While the trio that will driver the car are Paul Drayson, Jonny Cocker and Rob Bell, it was Drayson, Cocker and Jamie Campbell-Walter who took the driving duties in the wet-dry session on Sunday.
Campbell-Walter, who is familiar with both P1 and the Judd powerplant, having had six season in prototypes, including several with the Creation Autosportif team, has been brought in by the team to help set a baseline for the team, as a vast majority of the driving experience comes in the GT classes they are leaving behind.
Paul Drayson, who co-owns the team, is fully aware of the challenge he and his team are in for. “Of course, I’m fully aware of the scale of the challenge the Team and I are taking on,” he said. “This is racing at a whole new level. We will be up against the absolute cream of sportscar drivers and teams come race day.”
Jonny Cocker echoes Drayson's sentiment, “It’s going to be a huge challenge to adapt to the P1 car in such a short space of time but I feel ready. I think that with good preparation and a good test the weekend should go very well.”
The team's third race driver, Rob Bell, who is yet to drive the car, however, is very much taking the slow approach, to an extent. “The important thing will be to get there early and get the preparation right. I’ll spend time making sure I’m comfortable in the car and learning the controls……then after that: full speed ahead!”
The team will be joined by an experienced team of engineers for the weekend, with Englishman Ian Smith, who has worked previously with the closed coupe Lola chassis assisting Graham Moore. The entire team, engineers, pit crew and drivers will under the command of Dale White, who led teams to victory at Petit Le Mans in 2005 and 2006 as well as several podiums.
The 12th running of Petit Le Mans is due to start at 11:15am (local time) Saturday. The Drayson Lola-Judd is then scheduled to run at the final round of the ALMS at Laguna Seca, before taking part in the inaugural Le Mans Series races in Asia at the Japanese Okayama circuit.