Crash.net:
Andrew, big changes for 2010 with the move to team up with Nigel Mansell. How did this all come about?

Andrew Howard:
I suppose from GT4 to LMP1 in 16 months is quite a big step! The deal has come about through Lawrence Tomlinson who introduced us through his Zytek connections and he has been working with me about prototype racing. All the components were very much put together by him, which is great.

Crash.net:
How big is this step for the team?

Andrew Howard:
It's massive, a total rework. We have gone from being a national GT team to an international LMP team so we have bought new premises and brought in new staff. Our team manager Dave remains which is fantastic and Andrew who has done our sponsorship is also still on board. Apart from that, we have three mechanics for the car and all the support and if you are going to do this, you need to do it properly.

Crash.net:
How important will it be to work closely with Zytek?

Andrew Howard:
That is vital for us. At this level we have to rely on the manufacturer for support, both from an aerodynamic and an engine point of view.

Crash.net:
Three names on the car at the moment but your name isn't one of them. Are you now taking a back seat to manage the programme or are you keen to race yourself again in 2010?

Andrew Howard:
My conflict in life is that I have enjoyed finding the money and running the team as much as I have racing. I enjoyed my racing last year and we still have the GT3 car which I hope will come out later in the year. My main focus at the beginning of the season is on this and hopefully we will get an entry to Le Mans. I have discovered now that it's a whole new world and there is pre-Le Mans and post-Le Mans. Pre-Le Mans is focused on this and getting it off the ground and post-Le Mans, we have some irons on the fire and hopefully I can go out and drive before the end of the year.

Crash.net:
What's this history behind the car you are using?

Andrew Howard:
This is the ex-Strakka car that they ran last year, chassis #4. Zytek took the car back in and we were offered the chassis from them. They ran it as an LMP1 so we will do the same and it has undergone a complete rebuild and has been stripped back from the black it ran last year and is now in the blue of Beechdean - which is also the blue that Zytek used as a factory team.

Crash.net:
Strakka have already shown what the car can do...

Andrew Howard:
Absolutely. Let's not forget that this car was on pole in Barcelona last year and it is very capable. We have to provide endurance for the car and want to be near the front.

Crash.net:
Why LMP1 where you will be battling the likes of Audi and Peugeot and not LMP2 where the chances of victory would be higher?

Andrew Howard:
Probably an ex-World Champion in the car has something to do with it! The main reason is that we have entered this as a long-term project, it isn't just for a single year. We feel that, with the team and sponsors, as well as Nigel, Leo and Greg, that we have a chance of running near the front. There are rule changes coming in at Le Mans and the event will change.

We hope that the diesels won't be the dominant force that they are currently in the future and we genuinely feel that, over the next three years, teams like ours and cars like this will have the capability to win Le Mans. You have to remember that the 24 Hours of Britcar saw us running in Class 3 with an Aston Martin N24 but we still finished second overall, so everything in life is achievable.

Comments

Loading Comments...