Spyker Squadron, the works team of Dutch car manufacturer Spyker, will not be competing in 2011. Instead of racing the Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R for another season, Spyker Squadron will shift its focus to the development of its next generation GT car, the “Aileron GT”.
When the Le Mans Series entry list was published by the Le Mans Endurance Organisation this week the first question that came up when seeing the LM GTE entries was “Where is Spyker Squadron?”. The team has been racing at Le Mans since 2002 (with the exception of 2004) and in the Le Mans Series for many years.
Planetlemans contacted Spyker Squadron’s Managing Director Peter van Erp to ask him the whys, hows and why-nows behind the decision to sit out 2011. The answers Peter van Erp gave were straightforward and optimistic.
“We have indeed opted not to enter the Le Mans Series or to apply for a Le Mans entry,” says Van Erp. “Spyker Squadron is a small squad and is not running on an unlimited budget, so after carefully checking all options we decided to shift our resources from racing the current car to developing a new car. We made this strategic choice in order to use our resources in the most efficient way. It is much wiser to fully focus on developing the new car and then return in 2012. Just racing the Laviolette GT2R was not an option!”
The new car that Spyker Squadron will develop into a thoroughbred race car is the Spyker C8 Aileron. This new Spyker model has a longer wheelbase than the Laviolette and is wider than the Laviolette, which means Spyker Squadron will be able to make a lot of improvements on the aerodynamic part of the race car. Van Erp: “The Laviolette GT2R was at the end of its development cycle. On certain parts of the racecar we just couldn’t gain anything anymore. With the new Aileron GT we have the opportunity to use the experience we gained on the Laviolette and we can work on areas we couldn’t work before.”
In the Spyker Squadron HQ in Zeewolde, The Netherlands the technical/design-team is already working hard on the designs for the new race car. This means the Dutch manufacturer has already decided what category the Aileron will run in when it hits the race tracks. “The Aileron will be a GT platform, but primarily based on the new GTE regulations,” Van Erp says. “For 2012 we are looking at racing the Aileron in the GTE category, but our development process will also make this possible for this platform to run it in GT3 or GT1. In the future we will be able to build these cars quickly when our customers want it. It is pretty obvious though that we want to return to racing next season to fight manufacturers like Ferrari and Porsche with the new Aileron.”
While for many around the circuits it will be strange not to see Spyker Squadron racing we believe that Peter van Erp and his team have made the right decision to invest in the development of a new race car rather than to race the Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R in the Le Mans Series for another year. Sometimes it is better to do a step back in order to be able to make two steps forward and it seems that Spyker Squadron has done just that.