After an aborted attempt to debut at the end of the 2008 season, ECO Racing is apparently finally ready to take a crack at competing with its new diesel-powered Le Mans Prototype. The team led by Ian Dawson has prepared an LMP1-class Radical SR10 for the American Le Mans Series. Like the machines from the factory Audi and Peugeot teams, this one is powered by a diesel engine.
The V10 compression ignition unit was designed and built by Advanced Engine Research (AER), the same company that prepares the Mazda four-cylinder engines for Dyson Racing. ECO Racing has done extensive testing and development over the last several months in preparation for next week's Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta. It's going to be a tough road for ECO against the big boys from France and Germany, but it's good to see more teams following alternative paths in ALMS.
[Source: American Le Mans Series]
ECO RACING PETIT LE MANS PREVIEW
Ian Dawson and his ECO Racing squad are taking on the LMP-1 Class of the 2009 American Le Mans Series at the upcoming Petit Le Mans. ECO has spent the past 12 months developing its AER V-10 Diesel powered Radical SR10 Prototype for just this challenge. And what a challenge it is, competing against the likes of the factory Audi, Acura, and Peugeot squads among the many equally competitive privateer entries.
Since the car last saw action at the 2008 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round of the American Le Mans Series, the ECO team has been hard at work developing several items on both the chassis and the diesel engine that will enable the teams' drivers to have a much stronger overall package once it hits the track Sunday, September 20th for the Official Series Test at Road Atlanta.
Dawson's team has selected a very strong cast to pilot the #10 LMP-1 car in Japan's Hideki Noda, Argentina's Jose Manuel Balbiani and South Africa's Dion von Moltke. Noda has raced recently at the Le Mans 24 hours in prototypes, but also has vast experience he brings to the table from his days in Formula 1, Indy Racing League as well as Sportscars. Balbiani has a long history in sportscars in the FIA GT and others. Of the opportunity Balbiani states; "I'm very happy to be running with the ECO team in the American Le Mans Series, and to do it in the top LMP-1 class, at the series biggest race the Petit Le Mans, is very exciting. This will be my first opportunity to race in the States, and I am counting on my experience running in Europe in the FIA GT to help acclimate me as quickly as possible." Jose continues, "We understand the tough road we're faced with against the factories, but we feel very good about our chances to finish in the top five or six in the class, this would be a very good finish against this level of competition."
Although von Moltke is new to the ALMS and to the LMP-1 class, the young South African has been opening a lot of eyes in prototypes in other series', and is having a great season all around. Dion is looking forward to putting forth a great effort and the opportunity to drive with Hideki and Jose has him as excited about this as much as the Radical chassis does.
ECO Racing is a company led by veteran Le Mans engineer Ian Dawson, award winning businessman Simon Wright and experienced Finnish driver Harri Toivonen.