25 years since they won the C2 World Sports Car Championship, legendary Scottish team, Ecurie Ecosse, is set to make a major comeback in 2011.
The illustrious team which won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1956 and 1957 has been dormant on an international level since the 1990′s when the team won the British Touring Car Championship running works Vauxhalls.
A driver line-up comprising of Alasdair McCaig, Andrew Smith, Joe Twyman and Oliver Bryant are set to contest The Total 24 Hours of Spa in July 2011 with Ecurie Ecosse as a partner team of Aston Martin Racing in a DBRS9 GT3. Ecurie Ecosse will sub-contract the running of the car to Barwell Motorport, a highly experienced and successful Aston Martin Racing Partner Team, and will be contesting for outright honours in the race which sees GT3 now being the top class as a result of a recent format change.
Team boss Hugh McCaig, who is behind the return and intends to use the 24 Hours of Spa as a stepping stone for Ecurie Ecosse to return to Le Mans, commented: “This is a very exciting development for Ecurie Ecosse. I have been looking for an opportunity to take the team back into sportscar racing for some time, but the overall package had to be right. Now, with a team of ambitious and talented young drivers, together with a competitive manufacturer-backed car run by experienced engineers, I am extremely pleased that we can now take this major step forward. We have partnered with Aston Martin before and it is great to be doing it again some 20 years later. Ultimately we want to be back at Le Mans and this is a fantastic starting point.”
All four drivers have had highly successful historic racing careers so far, together with relevant and impressive modern experience, especially in the case of BRDC member Oliver Bryant who’s CV includes strong results in both the British and FIA GT series: “I am very excited to be a part of the Ecurie Ecosse comeback. Our drivers all have substantial experience racing at Spa, and we have all driven together successfully before. The DBRS9 GT3 is also extremely well suited to the fast, flowing nature of Spa, and having tested it before myself, I have no doubt that our combination of car, drivers and team will be highly competitive.”
In 2010 Twyman won his class in the 24 Hours of Spa driving a Jota Sport Aston Martin, and in 2009 Smith claimed a front row grid position and fastest lap of the race at Spa in his British GT Championship debut. Former Ecurie Ecosse driver and twice Le Mans winner Allan McNish is also highly supportive of the team’s return: “I am very pleased that Ecurie Ecosse is returning to Sportscars, it has such fantastic heritage in this arena with its legendary Le Mans wins and it will be nice to see the dark blue flags flying once again. The team has supported so many famous Scottish Drivers making their way in the sport, including Le Mans winners, Indy 500 winners and F1 World Champions. Ecurie Ecosse really has been an integral part of the very successful Scottish Motorsport story past and present.”
Aston Martin Racing are backing the effort and providing technical, engineering and training support. Aston Martin and Ecurie Ecosse last teamed up at Le Mans in 1989 with the AMR1 project. AMR Managing Director John Gaw is delighted at the news of Aston Martin working with Ecurie Ecosse again:
“We are particularly pleased that Ecurie Ecosse has announced this significant return to international sportscar racing in partnership with Aston Martin Racing and Barwell, and we are looking forward to working with the team across 2011 and beyond. We will be providing as much support as we can in order to help both Ecurie Ecosse and Barwell achieve their goals.”
The team have already raised part of the budget required to compete at the event, and discussions with other potential sponsorship partners are now underway to enable them to make it onto the grid in July.