The Drayson Racing team has confirmed the signing of Marino Franchitti for its maiden assault on the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Franchitti, who is racing in the American Le Mans Series this season for the Dyson Racing team, will join forces with Paul Drayson and Johnny Cocker at the wheel of the lone GT2-spec Aston Martin Vantage in the event.
The younger brother of IndyCar ace Dario will be making his second outing at Le Mans, having raced with the Panoz team in 2005, with the 2009 event set to be his debut in Aston Martin machinery.
Franchitti is set to spend time in the car during pre-event testing planned by the team in the same car that that competed in the opening round of the ALMS campaign at Sebring.
"My main thought at the moment is excitement!” he said. “It's a true honour to be joining Drayson Racing at Le Mans for the biggest sports car race in the world. It's particularly special to be driving for a British team, in a British car with an all British driver line-up.
"Audi has shown in the past few years that good preparation is the most important part of a successful bid to win Le Mans. Without the test day prior to the race this year, the time for a third driver to settle-in is more compromised than in previous years. Drayson Racing's programme in the run-up to the event will mean that I'm completely at home by the time we get to race week and I think that gives us a big advantage over other teams and is a big bonus for us."
Team manager Dale White said he was delighted to get the chance to work with Franchitti, admitting he was a driver he had always been keen to run in one of his cars.
"I have known Marino for a number of years,” he said. “I have always wanted to work with him and we have spoken about that often. I can't think of any place better to go racing with a driver of Marino's calibre than at Le Mans. His skill and personality are the perfect fit for Drayson Racing. We are going to work him between now and Le Mans with the 24 hour test at Algarve and the Le Mans Series test at the Bugatti circuit. We are going to know each other pretty well by the time we unload in June."