Four years after he last tackled the world’s most famous endurance race, Bathgate’s Marino Franchitti will return to the Le Mans 24-Hours in June behind the wheel of an Aston Martin Vantage GT2.
The 30-year-old Scot, who races full time in the LMP2 class of the American Le Mans Series and who finished on the podium in Florida at the weekend, will lead Drayson Racing’s assault on the classic race.
“It’s fantastic to be back involved in the biggest sportscar race in the world,” Franchitti admitted today. “Le Mans is everything to me. Essentially it’s the reason I became a sportscar driver.
“When I was young, my hero was Derek Bell and I wanted to win Le Mans just like he had. I have imagined many times standing on that podium above a sea of people after the race and I hope one day to make that a reality.”
Franchitti, who last competed at Le Mans in a works’ Panoz GT in 2005, will join the team at its private 24-hour test at the Algarve circuit in Portugal and later this month will attend the Le Mans Series test at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit.
“Audi, which has dominated the race for years, has shown that good preparation is the most important part of a successful bid to win Le Mans,” Franchitti, whose drive in the Aston comes 50 years after the famous British car maker first won the epic event, continued.
“Drayson’s program in the run-up to the event will mean 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.”
Franchitti will be co-driven by team owner and driver, Paul Drayson, and Jonny Cocker and the Drayson car will be the only Aston Martin racing in the highly competitive LM GT2 class.
Franchitti’s close friend, 39-year-old Allan McNish from Dumfries, will start the race on June 13 as favourite to win the 24-hour race for a second succcessive year in his turbo-diesel Audi R15TDI.