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24 Hours of Le Mans

Spyker Squadron shifts focus to Aileron GT

© Spyker Cars

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.

Discussion

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  1. Fair enough, but a pity that they couldn’t have sold their old car to another team for 2011.

    Posted by William Mound | February 5, 2011, 14:02
  2. Can’t wait to see this car at Le mans next year

    Posted by Harrison | February 5, 2011, 15:30
  3. its a shame spyker won’t be at le mans this year, they’re an institution, saying that the aileron will make a much better race car next year, can’t wait. who are the dutch boys going to shout for this year? we need jan lammers back!

    Posted by harry fenton | February 5, 2011, 22:21
  4. @Harry Fenton,

    Yes,we do need Jan Lammers back ! I couldn’t agree more. Why is he not competing in endurance anymore ?
    There’s something with a GT3 Cup 911,but other then that,he’s nowhere near any series longdistance races…
    I hope he returns.

    At Le Mans us dutch will at least be able to cheer for Jeroen Bleekemolen in the Rebellion Toyota for 2011.

    Posted by GTfour | February 5, 2011, 22:32
  5. I’ll be missing the Spyker this year@Spa. good luck with develop the new car see you next year can’t wait!!

    Jeroen good luck!!

    Grtz from Holland

    Posted by GTFreAkz | February 6, 2011, 10:59
  6. Probably a correct decision for a small manufacturer, but again a bit of “internationalism” will be missing in Le Mans. I also wonder why Jan Lammers is focusing the “Racing for Holland” activities in Formula Superleague rather than an international LMS or GT project. No sponsors in the Netherlands willing to support Dutch teams and drivers??

    Posted by kw | February 6, 2011, 12:17
  7. I understand the team deciding to shift their attention to developing a new car but couldn’t they have sold their old car to a team in the Le Mans Series or in the ALMS in order to have representation and a little bit of money?

    Posted by Michael | February 6, 2011, 12:23
  8. They should have taken time to regroup a while ago. They put in good effort, but in all respects the Doran built Ford GT has less development time and is a better performing machine. With the right drivers, the Doran Ford GT would regularly outperform the Spyker if they were in the same series.

    Posted by Bamba | February 6, 2011, 16:50
  9. It’s a real pity – this year will be my 4th at Le Mans, always loved the Spyker from the first trip and was really looking forward to seeing it again. Never the quickest team on the block, but always giving it a go – unique styling amongst the Ferrari and Porsche. Hope to see you back boys in 2012!

    Posted by simont | February 6, 2011, 22:42
  10. @Bamba,

    ‘the Doran Ford GT would regularly outperform the Spyker if they were in the same series.’

    But they aren’t aren’t they? Thus irrelevant.
    On top of that,the Spykers have led their class at Le Mans for a long time in one of the Le Mans races in the last decennium, something I wouldn’t see the Doran Ford do…

    Posted by GTfour | February 6, 2011, 23:51
  11. Could it have been the 2006 lm24 that they led their class for a few hours

    Posted by Harrison | February 7, 2011, 0:28
  12. Guys, the ALMS is a much stronger league than the LMS, and the budget to run a full ALMS season is probably much higher as well.

    They’re not in the same series but it’s still relevant because teams on either side keep tabs on each other. I happen to believe that spyker had pressure to enter the ILMC and they simply don’t feel up to it. Especially if Lotus came in and outperformed them right away.

    If the Doran Ford had participated in as many lemans 24hrs with top flight drivers I definitely can see it leading the class in the pit rotation, on more than one occasion.

    Besides if the Robertson team employed drivers the caliber of drivers that spyker did they would be challenging for podiums.

    Posted by Bamba | February 7, 2011, 10:31
  13. @ Bamba
    Agreed about the drivers for Robertson. With the 2 car effort all season this year, and husband & wife sharing one car, the second should have plenty of opportunity to shine with better drivers.

    Posted by Marcus A | February 7, 2011, 17:34
  14. I am afraid that this is not a year pause by Spyker Squadron, but the end of Spyker racing at a high level. Victor Muller will shift his interest to Saab, and will start racing in rally’s with that brand. And Muller doesn’t keep it a secret that he still has an eye on F1. So if Saab will start to earn some serious money he’d rather goes back to F1 then to LM.

    Then why this story about developing a new Spyker LM car? If Muller tells the world that he will stop racing the Spyker-brand, the stock-rate will go down like an arrow.

    Hope I am wrong.

    Posted by Marc | February 7, 2011, 18:31

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