The RML Racing team have confirmed that for the 2010 Le Mans season, their Lola B08/80 will be powered by a normally aspired 3.4 litre LM-V8 engine from renowned engine builders Honda Performance Development, replacing the Mazda engine which has been used. This deal sees RML become the first team to run a Lola chassis with a HPD engine.
RML have retained the same car that secured second in the LMP2 Class finale at Silverstone last year, and thanks to the help of Lola cars in Huntington, the 3.4l LM-V8 has been installed and will have its shakedown test within the next 2 weeks.
The engine is a proven bit of kit in America and in the ALMS series, where, since its debut in 2007, it has recorded 15 race wins, 13 poles and 12 track records, and it took a class victory on its inaugural race in 2007, at Sebring, and this carried on into 2009, where Fernandez Racing used it to power their way to a series equalling amount of victories and took the 2009 ALMS LMP2 Manufacturer title.
Stephen Eriksen, Technical Director of Honda Performance Development. Has this to say about the deal with RML: “HPD are pleased to have been selected as RML's engine supplier for 2010, RML is a veteran team with a proven track record of success and we look forward to our LM-V8 engine continuing to set records for performance and reliability. We have many hours of durability testing already under our belts and still more to go before the season starts, however all indications point to us being in a very good position to succeed in the European arena.”
RML Chief Executive Ray Mallock is delighted with the announcement, and had this to say about the deal: “We are delighted to be working with a new manufacturer in Honda Performance Development. RML’s greatest achievements have come as a result of working closely with some of the world’s leading motor manufacturers. In preparing for this year’s Le Mans series and Le Mans 24 hour race we very carefully considered all possible engine options but it became evident quite early on that a partnership with HPD gives us the best opportunity of regaining our LMS and Le Mans winning form. This is our first opportunity to work with HPD; a company with a tremendous track record for producing superbly engineered, powerful and reliable race engines. Even in the very short period that we have been working together it has already become obvious that HPD understands exactly what it takes to win at the highest level, an essential quality shared by RML. We can look towards the coming season with considerable optimism and confidence.”
The CEO of the teams main sponsor, AD Group, and one of the teams drivers Mike Newton shares the same belief that Mallock showed: “We are anticipating what should be a very competitive engine programme, All the signs suggest that the HPD LM-V8 will be a highly reliable unit, and should allow us to move forward from the difficult times we’ve experienced during the last two seasons. The team has always been capable of running near the front of the LMP2 class, and given a reliable package we know we can deliver regular podium finishes as well as championship results. The importance of reliability cannot be over-emphasised.”
“It’s great to be working with a major manufacturer again, and I just can’t wait to get started!” Was the reaction of the teams other driver, Thomas Erdos. Erdos then went on to add: “There are still unknowns with the HPD engine, of course – how it will perform in Europe, on European circuits, over the longer distances, and with European fuel – but it’s a proven, reliable and powerful unit, and it has tremendous potential for further development. It has a very impressive record in the American Le Mans Series, and I just hope we can extend that record over here.”
Thomas has been with the team since 2003, and has been involved with all of the team's successes', including the 2007 Le Mans Series LMP2 Driver and Teams Championship as well as successive Le Mans Class wins.
The start of the season is the 8 hours of Le Castellet, over the 9th-11th April.