Mans Series 2010
Round 5. Silverstone 1000 Kilometres. September 11th-12th 2010
Race Press Release. Issued September 2nd 2010
Team RLR in Determined Mood as Spotlight Turns on Silverstone
Team RLR will head into the final round of the 2010 Le Mans Series at the Autosport 1000kms of Silverstone looking to underline its credentials as a contender in the LMP2 class.
The Lancashire-based outfit achieved its objective of finishing the squad's debut race at the Hungaroring two weeks ago - guiding the MG Lola EX265 to eighth from 17 LMP2 starters and 18th overall from 37 in a demanding night race.
Now among the 47 entries heading for the home of British motor racing next weekend, including manufacturers squads from the likes of Aston Martin, Audi and Peugeot, Team RLR is looking forward to testing its mettle against the big guns of endurance racing.
With 18 rivals in the LMP2 class, six of which locked out the top half dozen spots at the previous round in Hungary, Team RLR is under no illusions as to the size of task facing the fledgling outfit.
Having such little experience in the Le Mans Series, and with a new driver added to the team's line up since Hungary in the shape of Simon Phillips, it would be easy for the newcomers to be daunted by the prospect of taking on sportcar racing's elite at one of the world's most famous tracks.
However, with almost a full season of testing and a solid result in Hungary now under their collective belts, the determined squad are sticking to the plan set out when the team was founded.
Drivers Barry Gates, Rob Garofall and Simon Phillips will be tasked with securing another solid finish at Silverstone to add to the result in Hungary and help further develop the team ahead of a full Le Mans Series campaign in 2011.
It is likely that Gates will once again take the wheel of the MG Lola EX265 for the opening stint. Having had to endure a lengthy pit stop early in the Hungaroring race as a result of damage sustained following a clash with a GT2 car, Gates will be focused on ensuring Team RLR enjoys a trouble free opening to the Silverstone event before he hands over to team-mate Rob Garofall.
The intention is then for Simon Phillips to make his Le Mans Series debut when he takes over the MG Lola EX265 for the second stint at Silverstone. The Londoner has followed a similar path to his team-mates in graduating to the premier level of sportscar racing having previously enjoyed success competing in endurance championships at national level. Phillips will be determined to emulate his fellow drivers in showing he can adapt quickly to making the step up to the big time.
Garofall enjoyed a smooth run in the Budapest night while closing out the race for Team RLR in Hungary. Silverstone will truly be a 'home' event for the Leighton Buzzard-based driver and he will be looking to shine once again as he performs a similar role in front of a large number of friends and family who will be on hand to support both him and the team.
With the setup of the MG Lola EX265 having been further refined since Hungary by team principal Nick Reynolds and his engineers, all three drivers will be confident of having a car that is capable of achieving a strong result at Silverstone.
Barry Gates, Team RLR driver, said:
“I'm really looking forward to Silverstone. There was a bit of nervousness ahead of Hungary, but now we've done it all once before from a driving point of view I'm past that. We know what to expect and I feel our performance in Hungary showed we deserve to be on the grid. The car is a bit underpowered at the moment but we are still in the development phase of the team and plans are well under way to remedy that for next season. While we tested at Silverstone earlier this year we've not been round the new Arena layout yet. While overtaking should be less difficult compared to Hungary it's a much stronger entry in the P1 class at Silverstone and I don't think there will be anything like the same level of attrition we saw at the Hungaroring, so that may make it a bit more difficult in terms of taking a high overall finish. However, we feel we can overcome the problems we had early in the last race and compete well in the P2 class at Silverstone."
Rob Garofall, Team RLR driver, said:
“Getting our first race under the belt in Hungary has really settled everybody's nerves and I think we're all excited about Silverstone now. I worked there as an instructor for seven years so I'm very familiar with the place, and it's a real home race for me as I only live 25 miles down the road. We came through Hungary well and the fear factor is gone, so we can go to Silverstone looking for a strong result. We've learned so much that can help take us forward. Having looked at the data from the last race we made up a lot of the ground we lost after our early pit stop, and our times were up there with the P2 class leaders. If we can put it all together there's no reason why we can't put in a really strong challenge. It's a long race so you never what can happen, and if you stay out of trouble you can climb through the field very quickly later in the day. I really enjoyed my stint in Hungary, but I'm looking forward to getting out there amongst them at Silverstone even more."
Simon Phillips, Team RLR driver, said:
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling a little bit nervous ahead of Silverstone, but I'm trying to approach it and prepare for it like any other race. When you see the line up of P1 cars which will be there and take into account the strong results the other P2 cars have been achieving recently there's no doubt it's going to be a tough race. However, competing against the very best should always help you to up your own game so that's where we want to be. My aim will not be to push it and try and achieve incredible lap times, but to drive really consistently and avoid any problems so I can complete as many laps as possible without any incidents. We'll have a lot of supporters at Silverstone so we want to get a good result for everyone who has helped us get there."
Nick Reynolds, Team RLR team principal, said:
"It's going to be a big, high-profile race at Silverstone and we're looking forward to being out there competing with some of the best endurance racing teams in the world. We've tested at Silverstone this year so we have good data about how the MG Lola works there, and the drivers will be more confident as it's not as daunting a circuit as the Hungaroring. We might struggle a little on engine power on the long fast sections, but following Hungary we found a few areas in which the car could be improved and we hope that will make a difference. The boys in the garage have all got the experience from Hungary now and know what's required of them, and we will be much sharper in terms of turning around pit stops too. It's probably going to be a little bit harder for Simon as it's his first race with the team, but he will take confidence from the other guys and we hope we can put in another good performance and progress again."
Autosport 1000kms of Silverstone Schedule
Friday, September 10
13:25-14:25 Le Mans Series Free Practice 1
17:00-18:00 Le Mans Series Free Practice 2
Saturday, September 11
09:00-10:00 Le Mans Series Free Practice 3
13:40-14:00 Le Mans Series Qualifying (LMP1 & LMP2)
Sunday, September 12
09:00-09:20 Le Mans Series Warm-Up
11:55-17:55 Le Mans Series Race
For high resolution digital photographs, please visit the Hungaroring
To find out more about Team RLR and its Le Mans Series campaign
log on to: www.rlrrmotorsport.com
To follow RML AD Group in the Le Mans Series 2010, please visit the team website