Mark Reynier, MD of Islay's Bruichladdich Distillery, sent the following press release titled Magnificent Men, Flying Machines: Plucky Team Bruichladdich's Ginetta-Zytek finished in the top 10 at this year's Le Mans 24-hour race. The privately entered Ginetta-Zytek, driven by Tim Greaves, Karim Ojjeh and Gary Chalandon, also came fifth in the LMP2 category in a car powered by Zytek's 3.4-litre ZG348 engine. The car had completed 340 laps of the 8.5 mile circuit at the chequered flag, only 28 of the 56 starters were still running at the end of the grueling race watched by 239,000 spectators. The car's average speed over the 24 hours, including pit stops, crashes etc, was an eye-boggling 120 mph - average.
The 'enthusiastic' British team was delighted to have finished a Le Mans race for the first time after a steady run for all three drivers. 'Team Bruichladdich did exceptionally well to finish so high in what was, this year, a highly competitive class and in which so many of the contenders made it to the chequered flag,' said Zytek Motorsport managing director Trevor Foster. Tim Greaves, who was spectacularly knocked off the circuit last year at 150 mph by the 009 Aston Martin once again had his fair share of high speed excitement with an Aston Martin - though with better luck this time: 'I was hit on my out-lap, at night, by the Aston Martin which damaged the front aero. This resulted in 3 excursions off the track due to the consequential flat-spotted tyres, twice into the tyre barriers! Mind you, crashing in the wet during the warm up didn't help...' 'Being 10th overall is a major achievement of which we are inordinately proud. Being a small, privateer team it certainly tasted sweet! About 50% of cars did not even finish. Of course we would have liked to have beaten everyone but realistically only car 24 was a target - they also had 3 amateur drivers like us.' Continue reading....
Team Bruichladdich Driver Karim Ojjeh added: 'From my point of view the worst part of the race was the night; you canâ€™t see very well anyhow and the LMP1 cars, with their bigger, more powerful engines, come thundering up very quick behind you. On paper we should have been 4th in class, but we lost time on one long pit stop for the alternator, and finished 5th. Realistically we had no chance on catching the guys up front for two reasons: they had a better engine, and definitely had a stronger line up' he added, referring to the scale of the operation, the support team of engineers, mechanics and equipment.
Le Mans 24 hour race results:
1. Mike Rockenfeller (Ger), Romain Dumas (Fra), Timo Bernhard (Ger); Audi No. 9, 397 laps.
2. Marcel Fassler (Swi), Benoit Treluyer (Fra), Andre Lotterer (Ger); Audi No. 8, one lap behind.
3. Tom Kristensen (Den), Allan McNish (GB), Dindo Capello (Ita); Audi No. 7, 3 laps behind.
4. Soheil Ayari (Fra), Andrew Meyrick (GB), Didier Andre (Fra); Oreca 01 AIM No. 6, 28 laps behind.
5. Nick Leventis (GB), Danny Watts (GB), Jonny Kane, (GB); Strakka HPD ARX.01c No. 42, 30 laps behind.
6. Adrian Fernandez (Mex), Stefan Mucke, Ger), Harold Primat (Swi); Lola Aston Martin No. 7, 32 laps behind.
7. Matthieu Lahaye (Fra), Guillaume Moreau (Fra), Jan Charouz (Cze); OAK Racing Pescarolo-Judd No. 35, 36 laps behind.
8. Thomas Erdos (Bra), Mike Newton (GB), Andy Wallace (GB); RML Lola HPD No. 25, 39 laps behind.
9. Jacques Nicolet (Fra), Richard Hein (Mon), Jean-FranÃ§ois Yvon (Fra); OAK Racing Pescarolo-Judd No. 24, 56 laps behind.
10. Karim Ojjeh (Swi), Tim Greaves (GB), Gary Chalandon (Fra); Team Bruichladdich Ginetta Zytek No. 41, 56 laps behind.