Ex-BTCC star Phil Bennett will team up with Gian Maria Gabbiani for this weekend's Le Mans Endurance Series race at the Nurburgring, having inked a one-race deal to drive the Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen S7-R.

Bennett, who could not find an alternative ride in the BTCC after driving the Proton for two seasons, jumped at the chance to move into sportscars, and is looking forward to contesting the 1000km second LMES round.

"I'm really excited about this prospect," he admitted, "I am very enthused to race with GNM and also in this series. In my opinion, with the prototypes mixing it with GT cars, the show is very big and impressive. Secondly, the Saleen - from a technical perspective - is more advanced than the BTCC cars I have been used to, with a lot more bhp. Plus, this weekend, we have carbon brakes and that's also a 'first' for me. But I am confident I will do a good job for the team and my sponsors."

GNM endurance regular Gabbiani is also looking forward to the weekend, and is aiming for an official podium finish after missing out by just one lap in the series opener at Monza in May.

"For me, this racing series is putting me on the map as an international driver," the Italian insisted, "The GNM Saleen is extremely well prepared and has been further developed since I last drove it, so I think we will have a good chance of a GTS podium. My sponsors, Arsenik Sunglasses and Bellomondo clothing, are keen to gain more exposure in Europe before I return to racing in NASCAR in the US, and this race provides that opportunity at a high profile."

The team expects to announce a third driver shortly, but refuses to rush into any decision.

"We have a shortlist and are working on that," team boss Graham Nash confirmed, "I don't want to compromise the car because I believe we have a very strong chance of success."


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