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Le Mans 24 Hours 2006
Driver Line-up. Issued May 8th 2006

Wallace joins RML for Le Mans 24 Hours

Speculation over who might become the “third driver” alongside Mike Newton and Thomas Erdos in the RML MG Lola EX264 for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours has been settled by the announcement today that Andy Wallace will join the team at La Sarthe in June.

Wallace has been on the podium at Le Mans four times in seventeen previous appearances, notably winning outright with Jaguar in 1988, and being central to Bentley’s historic return to the 24 Hours in 2001 and 2002. One of the most respected names in international sportscar racing, British-born Wallace is believed to be the only professional racing driver to have won all the major contemporary classics in endurance racing. In an impressive career he has finished on the podium in more than 70 top-ranking events, winning more than thirty, including the Le Mans 24 Hours (1988), the Daytona 24 Hours (1990, 1997, 1999), Sebring 12 Hours (1992, 1993), Silverstone 4 Hours (1995, 1996) and Petit Le Mans (1999).

For the past three seasons Andy Wallace has been one of the dominant performers in American sportscar racing, co-driving the Dyson Racing MG Lola EX257 in the American Le Mans Series. His experience at the wheel of a car essentially similar to the EX264 being campaigned by RML makes his contribution to the team’s driver strength especially significant. “We are truly thrilled to have been able to secure the services of a driver of Andy’s calibre,” said Adam Wiseberg, Motorsport Director of AD Group, principal sponsor behind RML’s sportscar programme. “His record speaks volumes, and I am genuinely excited about how this enhances our prospects for the race. We’ve now got a driver line-up that is definitely equal to the one that netted us the win at Le Mans last year, and I’m also sure that Andy would not have agreed to our invitation if he hadn’t felt we offered him a good chance of another podium.”

Wallace joins the established driver pairing of Mike Newton and Thomas Erdos, who not only took class honours at Le Mans in 2005 with Warren Hughes, but missed last season’s Le Mans Endurance Series title by a single point. “It’s going to be a great treat for me to share the MG Lola with Andy at Le Mans,” said Erdos. “His record is outstanding, and the team is sure to benefit from the huge amount of experience he brings with him. All credit to AD Group, and in particular Adam Wiseberg, for putting this deal together. I believe we now go to Le Mans with the best possible chance of defending our class win, and perhaps even finishing in the top six overall.”

Surprisingly, Wallace and Erdos have never raced together before, although they have been frequent competitors on track. “I don’t know how I’ve managed to avoid racing with Tommy after all these years,” admitted Wallace. “I’ve always rated him very highly. He’s such a professional, and he always does a fantastic job. I’m really looking forward to it.” Although a relative newcomer to the international racing scene Mike Newton has also caught the Wallace eye: “I have great admiration for Mike. To be such a successful businessman, and then also a good driver, takes some doing. The MG is not an easy car to drive – it can be very unforgiving - but he’s done a fantastic job over the last year, and he’s quick too.”

Ray Mallock, team owner at RML, is “delighted to welcome Andy to the team. His record at Le Mans speaks for itself, and with our aim being to win LMP2 again, I’m confident that his inclusion in the team will strengthen our ability to achieve that.” With racing commitments in the States, Wallace will be unable to take part in the official Le Mans test on June 4th, but he will join RML at Snetterton for a final shakedown before the car is shipped to France.

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