Saturday, March 25, 2006

Alex Yoong to compete in Le Mans with former Le Mans 24 Hr. winner, Jan Lammers

Alex Yoong will be driving in the Le Mans Series with Jan Lammers, the A1 Team Netherlands seat holder during the A1GP off season 2006. The first Le Mans series race is in Istanbul, Turkey 7, 8, 9 April 2006, the week immediately following the final A1 Grand Prix of Nations in Shanghai, China and from Turkey the Le Mans Series goes to Belgium (May 12-14), Germany (July 14-16), UK (August 25-27) and Italy (September 22-24).

In June, the series arrives at the small French town of Le Mans itself, where the silence of the French countryside will be shattered for the week of intense activities culminating in the Le Mans 24 hour race, the world’s biggest, oldest and most prestigious race attended by some 200,000 spectators, 2,500 members of the world’s media and watched by a TV audience of around 200,000,000. The “who’s who” of the business world of motorsport and the automotive industry attend this event.

Lammers is one of the most versatile racers of the modern era having driven everything from sports cars to Indy cars, most forms of single seaters, as well as touring cars and rally cars. His impressive career spans more than 3 decades including, uniquely, 2 stints in Formula 1 some ten years apart. He has competed in Le Mans sportscars for many years winning at Le Mans itself in 1988 and putting up impressive fights against the all-powerful manufacturer teams ever since.

He and Yoong have spent the last 6 months getting to know each other in the A1 paddock, and Lammers believes that Yoong is an ideal partner for the 2006 Le Mans Series season.

Lammers recalled, "One of the pleasures of this first A1GP season is that it really has brought people together through the A1GP “nation vs. nation” concept. One of the people that I have met and have been very impressed with is Alex Yoong and we are looking forward to working with him over the coming months.”

Yoong says of the opportunity… “I have always wanted to drive the Le Mans 24 hours and to be able to do it do it for the first time with such a well known and respected personality and driver such as Jan Lammers is an excellent opportunity. It has been a pleasure and a challenge to race against his team in A1GP and I look forward to racing with him through out the summer months.”

Jack Cunningham, Team Principal, A1 Team Malaysia comments… “This announcement perfectly illustrates our long-term strategy to be competing in A1GP in the winter months and then to have a significant presence in sports cars and long distance races in the summer months. Our strategy is to work with some of our commercial and technical partners in motorsports environments throughout the calendar year in a way that is complimentary to our A1GP programme. This is a key part of our long term plan for the promotion of Malaysian brands for 2007 and beyond, as well as forming part of the build up to the second season of A1GP starting in September 2006.”

The funding for the project will be generated via a unique sponsor concept developed by RFH displaying a car that is covered in soccer balls!

Each ball or part of a ball can be bought for anything from € 100 up to € 5,000 depending on the location and whether it is a full ball or a part of it. High exposure ball locations cost € 5,000 and regular positions are € 2,500. The smaller pieces that are left on the car are ideal for the fans. Half a ball is half the price, a quarter ball is a quarter of the price and so on. This way the team can accommodate everyone and have a blend of sponsors.

Jan Lammers, “Basically the car will be covered with ‘enthusiasm’ as we learned from the great late Enzo Ferrari that ‘Nothing beats enthusiasm’. When I learned that the start of the Le Mans race was postponed by one hour to accommodate the end of a World Cup soccer match I realized the influence of World Cup soccer. I wondered ‘How will we get in the sports papers’? Well if you can’t fight them, join them…… So here we are.”

Jack Cunningham says… “Details of a specific Malaysia sponsor programme will be announced in April where balls will be available to Malaysian companies and to be shared by individuals. First of all, though, our focus is on Alex carrying out a testing programme with Jan early next week at the famous Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France and then our final event of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations 2005/6 series in Shanghai, where Proton sponsored A1 Team Malaysia will be putting all their efforts into beating A1 Team Netherlands!”

A1 Team Malaysia


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