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Aston confirms third car for Le Mans

By Steven English Thursday, May 21st 2009, 06:58 GMT

Aston Martin Racing has completed its driver line-up for the Le Mans 24 Hours by announcing that Anthony Davidson, Jos Verstappen and Stuart Hall will join its roster for the event in June.

The team will enter three LMP1 cars in this year's race as it celebrates 50 years of its maiden victory at Le Mans. Two Lola Astons cars have been racing in the Le Mans Series this season, shared by Stefan Mucke, Tomas Enge and Jan Charouz, and Darren Turner, Harold Primat and Miguel Ramos.

Former grand prix drivers Davidson and Verstappen, and Hall, who has raced an LMP1 car in the last two 24 Hours for Rollcentre and Creation, have been drafted in as the team adds a third car for the blue riband event.

The driver line-ups of each car have yet to be confirmed, but AUTOSPORT understands the Mucke/Enge/Charouz car will remain the same, with Turner moving across to partner Davidson and Verstappen, and Hall joining Primat and Ramos.

Davidson previously raced for the Prodrive team at Le Mans in 2003 and is looking forward to resuming his relationship with David Richards' squad following a recent test in the LMP1 car at the Algarve circuit.

"Particularly as a British driver, racing for a team as prestigious as Aston Martin is a fantastic opportunity," he said. "I know the team and its capabilities extremely well from the past and I'm convinced that there is nobody better prepared to tackle all the challenges that Le Mans will present us with."

"At the test I felt comfortable with the car straight away and now I'm looking forward to taking the fight to the other teams at Le Mans. I'm certainly aiming for us to be the quickest petrol car there and hopefully we can get in among the diesels as well."

Verstappen will also be racing at Le Mans for the second time this year, having shone in Van Merksteijn Motorsport's LMP2 Porsche Spyder last year, though he is yet to test the Aston Martin.

"I'm very excited to be joining Aston Martin Racing for such a legendary event as the Le Mans 24 Hours. Although I spent nine years in Formula 1, this will only be my second Le Mans but it is every bit as special to me.

"I said to myself that I would only do Le Mans if it was with a professional team at the very top level and in Aston Martin Racing I have certainly found that. I'm looking forward to testing the car soon, but the main thing for Le Mans is reliability. I'm sure that driving for AMR is going to be a fantastic and memorable experience."

Hall finished fourth overall on his Le Mans debut in 2007 and also tested the V12 Aston alongside Davidson in Portugal.

"This drive means everything to me, " he said. "When I was growing up and first became interested in motor racing, Aston Martin was one of those legendary names. I always hoped that one day I might have the chance to drive for the team and it's almost hard to believe that it's happened now.

"I think all the petrol cars might struggle against the diesels at Le Mans, but if there's ever going to be a team to challenge them, it's Aston Martin Racing. My personal feeling is that I'm in the best seat on the grid."

Davidson, Verstappen and Hall will join the regular drivers to test the car at Monza at the end of this month and the team's preparations for this year's race, which is in just three weeks time.
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