Johnny Cocker says he is confident that Drayson Racing will emerge as one of the leading contenders for honours in the GT2 class of the Le Mans Series this season.
The newly formed team will enter an Aston Martin Vantage GT2 in the series this year as part of an ambitious programme which will also see Cocker and team owner Paul Drayson compete in selected ALMS races and two end-of-season events in Asia.
It will mark the first year for the pair in the Le Mans Series after racing in the ALMS in 2008 and Cocker said he was hopeful that the team would be able to build on an encouraging end to last season – when the Aston was running under the Drayson/Barwell banner.
“I'd like to think that with the right package - and all the ingredients are there - that we should be able to fight for some strong positions in qualifying and fight for pole positions,” he said. “In the longer races, where strategy comes into it, we have Dale White as team manager with his invaluable experience and, I think we can fight for some really strong finishes.
“We need the reliability in the car, which we suffered with a little bit last year, but I'm sure that will be there with the developments that AMR has brought in. I'm hoping for consistency and you need to finish each race. If we do the best job we can all year, then we could have a result at the end of it all.
“The out and out sprints in the shorter events in the ALMS were ones where we would struggle a little bit more, so the longer races [in the LMS] do play into our hands. But we have to see how it plays out. I think we will have a great year and we should be able to do a fantastic job.”
The decision to focus mainly on the LMS was taken due to Drayson moving back into politics with his role as the British science minister, but he said he was excited by the prospect of tacking some of the most famous European circuits as part of the schedule.
“We loved being in America and the ALMS is a great series but now I am back in politics as the science minister, it's very important that I am as efficient as possible with my time,” he said. “At the same time though I am very excited about racing on some of these great European circuits and have no regrets about the decision. The Le Mans Series is a great series that I haven't done before and we are both looking forward to it.
“We have a great programme in three continents and we believe the car will really be on the pace. We saw that at the end of last year with our car and with the works team and it will be a fantastic 2009 for us.”