The Drayson Racing team endured a disappointing start to the new sportscar season after its Aston Martin Vantage V8 was forced out of the opening American Le Mans Series race of the year at Sebring.
Despite focusing on the Le Mans Series this year, Paul Drayson and Jonathan Cocker returned to American shores for the opening race of the team's 2009 programme, with Rob Bell joining the pair for what would be the debut race for the GT2 Vantage in the Twelve Hour event.
With the car having undergone work over the winter in the hands of Aston Martin Racing, with the main focus of the work being on new suspension and powertrain enhancements, the team had run solidly in the opening stages before Cocker suffered a spin that saw him go into the barriers at turn 17, damaging the rear of the car and leading to a ten-minute stop to repair the rear of the car.
Aside from that, the #007 was enjoying a solid run and lying seventh in class when the cars engine lost oil pressure in the seventh hour, forcing Bell to stop out on track and putting the car into retirement.
However, while disappointed with the fact the car hadn't made it to the finish, team owner Drayson admitted there were still positives to be taken from the weekend.
"It was a positive week and a great race; really brilliant,” he said. “We had some issues with the handling of the car early on in the day. We got that fixed. In my last stint the car was handling beautifully, really great. The Michelin tyres were starting to work better as the stint went on; they really came in. It was all looking good so it came as a real shock when I saw the car had stopped. Obviously disappointed but eight and a half hours in we really have to find out what went wrong and come back stronger."
Team manager Dale White agreed that it was a race of mixed reactions.
"We're obviously very disappointed with the result but we accomplished a lot this week,” he said. “Overall, I'd say it was a very positive week for Drayson Racing. The team really came together, the car ran well in practice and qualifying and we made good progress in the handling. We learned a lot about what the Aston Martin Vantage GT2 likes with the Michelin tyres. I am really proud of the guys.
“For our first race together everyone worked really well together and worked really, really hard. I am looking forward to Barcelona now more than ever."