JMW Motorsport, runners up in their debut Le Mans Series GT2 season in 2009, will be switching allegiance for 2010 and 2011 with the announcement they will be competing with the Aston Martin Vantage GT2 in the 2010 Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hour, having become Aston Martin Racing’s official global GT2 Development Partner.
The Essex based team, headed by Team Principal Jim McWhirter, will become an official Aston Martin Racing partner and will work closely with the Banbury-based team on a three year programme to help develop the Vantage GT2.
JMW Motorsport are retaining their strong partnership with Dunlop who have renewed their long term commitment to the team as Development Partners in the GT2 programme. The JMW Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT2 will feature in Dunlop’s 2010 Le Mans Design Competition.
The core team, which took JMW Motorsport to 4th at Le Mans in 2009, remains with Tim Sugden as Team Manager and Steve ‘Doc’ Bunkhall as Technical Director, ably backed by Davey Nicholas, Duncan Ritchie and Ian Jones.
The UK’s Rob Bell, twice LMGT2 Champion, shall once again be part of a formidable driver line-up to be finalised shortly.
An intensive testing programme begins in January ahead of the opening Le Mans Series race on 9-11 April – the 8 Hours of Le Castellet, France. Participation in a number of selected high profile events may be added to the team’s calendar at a later date.
George Howard-Chappell, Aston Martin Racing team principal: “We have focussed considerable engineering resource on improving the performance of the Vantage GT2. While we offer cars in every class from LMP1 to GT4, the GT2 car is probably the most important customer car and the one where we can make the most improvements. Working with a top professional team like JMW with their resources and commitment will mean we will be able to really challenge for GT2 honours in 2010.”
Jim McWhirter, JMW Team Principal: “This is a very exciting development for our team and reflects the efforts invested over the past seasons. This may be a new car for JMW, but the same desire, commitment and perseverance is still there and we are confident we shall be in the mix from the start.
“Dunlop have been an integral part of our success and it is extremely rewarding that they are joining forces with JMW and Aston Martin Racing in this challenging new adventure.”
Jean-Felix Bazelin, General Manager Dunlop Motorsport Europe: “We have worked very successfully over the last four years with Jim McWhirter, winning the Championship twice, and being runner-up once, in the very competitive Le Mans Series GT2 category. It is therefore an obvious decision for Dunlop Motorsport to follow JMW Motorsport in their new challenge with a new car.
“Being associated with Aston Martin, the most prestigious English sports car manufacturer, is an honour and a thrilling prospect for Dunlop. It is also an opportunity for our designers to demonstrate their ability to be successful again with the same partner but another car. I am convinced that the ‘Best of British’ partnership of JMW, Aston Martin, Rob Bell and Dunlop can compete for the 2010 Le Mans Series podiums and stand out in the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours.
“In addition to our full technical support, we will put all our enthusiasm and passion into this fantastic new project. We want to contribute toward making the JMW-Aston Martin the winning package for 2010.”
Tim Sugden, JMW Team Manager: “This is an exiting new chapter for JMW Motorsport and one which cements the team’s desire not only to be at the forefront of racing, but it’s commitment to, and enthusiasm for, development. The greatest sense of competition for JMW comes not from others, but from within and with this new partnership with Aston Martin Racing, the team has the perfect platform to showcase that amazing level of drive and determination.”
Steve ‘Doc’ Bunkhall, JMW Technical Director: “The opportunity to become the GT2 development partner with Prodrive and Aston Martin Racing was too hard to resist! It is going to be very demanding on JMW and we will have to step up, but these are the challenges we relish.”
Rob Bell, JMW Driver: “I am so excited about this new challenge, the only way I can describe it is I feel rejuvenated. As a driver, the opportunity not only to race the Aston Martin Vantage GT2 but to play such an integral part in the development of the car fires me up.
JMW Motorsport’s progress can be followed on their website at www.jmwmotorsport.com. People can also keep in touch via social networking with the JMW Motorsport Facebook group and on Twitter (www.twitter.com, @JMWmotorsport).