17 March, 2009
Leading British sportscar driver, Rob Bell has taken his talent Stateside this week, joining Drayson Racing for the famed 12 Hours of Sebring race weekend. Returning to the event for his second attempt, Bell will contest the race in the team’s 007 Aston Martin Vantage GT2, sharing driving duties with fellow countrymen, Jonny Cocker and Paul Drayson.
Bell competed with Tafel Racing in a Ferrari 430 GT2 car last year and survived a tough race to finish seventh. This year he’s looking to improve on this performance, saying, “I always go out to win and that’s the aim for me this week. Although I haven’t driven the Aston Martin until this week, I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen, particularly when it was running at Paul Ricard last week.
“The Sebring event is always a particularly tough challenge as it comes so early in the season, but it’s a great way to kick it off. There’s so much tradition, a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic crowd, and highly competitive racing, non-stop for 12 hours.
“It’s a new team and a new manufacturer for me, but the team has given me such a warm welcome that it won’t take any time at all to settle in and get down to business. There is plenty of experience within the team so I think we should be well prepared for Saturday’s start. The biggest challenge is the track itself, the weather conditions and the cars around us on track, not only the ones that we’re fighting with for class honours, but also the other class contenders. You’re looking in your mirrors the whole time, avoiding the bumps and preserving the car so you can go the distance, which is no mean feat.”
Drayson Racing, led by Lord Drayson, UK Minister of State for Science and Innovation, also debuted at Sebring last year, finishing in 15th place. The team returns to the venue with a year of experience and a car which has undergone plenty of development over this period. The team also has the accolade of having the first GT car to be designed at the outset in a bio-ethanol fuelled specification and for this event the Aston Martin Vantage GT2 will be fuelled with the greener E85.
The 57th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring will feature 28 cars, with 15 of these competing for GT2 honours. The event begins with two days of testing, before official practice on Wednesday, qualifying on Thursday, final practice on Friday. The race starts at 10.30am local time.