LE MANS, FRANCE - To those who know Le Mans, they know the intangible "Spirit of Le Mans" that permeates the event. A special drive to succeed, to overcome any obstacle in pursuit of finishing the 24 hours. Drayson Racing personified "The Spirit of Le Mans" at this weekend's 24 Heures du Mans. Despite a myriad of obstacles put in front of them, the team behind the No. 11 Drayson Racing Lola Coupé with Judd Power never wavered in its commitment to see the chequered flag at the conclusion of the 12-13 June classic. It was a determination rewarded by finishing as the sixth highest Le Mans Prototype One (LM P1) with the trio of drivers: Paul Drayson (London and Gloucestershire, UK), Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) and Emanuele Pirro (Rome).
From the start the team seemed to be challenged at every turn. Wednesday's first qualifying session ended with a precautionary engine change. Forced to use its race engine in all the remaining sessions, the engine swap would limit the laps available for practice and qualifying and everything that followed. The change meant that the team had only 20 laps to find the setup and qualify without jeopardising the life of the Judd V10 powerplant. Despite that, Jonny Cocker was still able to run a qualifying lap quick enough for 14th on the 55-car grid. In a race that would see much attrition, the No. 11 faced its own adversity but, unlike others, was able to overcome multiple, often intertwined, issues to better all but five cars in its class.
Within the first 30 minutes of the world's most famous endurance race, it was as if the next 24 hours was charted as the initial chronic problem, a degenerating vibration, began to show its head. The Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA) managed organisation was able to continuously put the issues behind them; fighting throughout the day and night, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) regulars were able to overcome 17 separate issues over the course of the famous 24 hour race. With its longest stop nearly three hours, the Drayson crew, tired from two weeks of preparation and travel from the ALMS event in Monterey, California never waivered. They held true to the "Spirit of Le Mans" and showed their true passion for this event. Overcoming the seemingly relentless adversity at every turn.
Working closely with technical partners Michelin Tyres, Lola Cars and Judd