Morgan – Sebring Beckons

Neil Cunningham and Adam Sharpe were both on hand at Donington Park yesterday to put the Morganworks Aero 8 N-GT through its paces.

Cunningham put in most of the early running and was clearly enjoying himself:

“The car feels way better that at the (Le Mans) 1000kms, the team has made massive improvements over the winter, the tyres (Yokahama) are superb, the dampers are good and the gearing seems spot on. We have a diff. issue which is costing us time, but when that’s sorted we’ll be on or around Mosler pace at a circuit like this.”

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The newly resurfaced Donington Park meant that like for like lap time comparison is all but impossible just yet, but the Morgan certainly managed to lap in the high 1:12s in traffic early on in the morning session and in the very low 1:12s later in the day (despite the diff problem).

The team is keeping everything crossed that the much-needed entry to Le Mans comes to fruition, but there is already a great deal of evidence that Morgan is drawing benefit from a high profile racing programme.

A BBC TV crew was at Donington Park for the afternoon session interviewing both Charles Morgan and Adam Sharpe before Adam took the Aero 8 out (complete with on-board cameras), to give the local news reporter a quick sample of that V8 rasp!

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Sharpe (in the car, above) is taking time away from his Oxford Brookes University studies to race at Sebring:

“I’m in my second year of a degree in Technology Management, but things are going well on that front so testing and the Sebring trip won’t be a problem.”

With ambitions to move upwards within GT racing a works-backed programme is a great baseline for the young Englishman, who makes no secret of his ambition to be the “Youngest ever winner at Le Mans.”

dailysportscar.comCharles Morgan had meanwhile arrived at the circuit in a very special Aero 8.

To celebrate the race-winning performances of the Aero 8 in the British GT Championship last year, the factory has produced a limited edition (15 cars) of the Aero 8 GTN.

This car boasts the 4.6 litre V8 used in the ‘Cup’ car, wrapped up in a very purposeful bodyshell featuring centrelock wheels and the same blue and silver colour scheme as the works car.

“We’ve sold over 300 road-going Aero 8s so far and the racing success has clearly done us no harm at all on that front. The GTN is an example of a car that simply would not have been built at all without our racing successes,” said the Morgan boss.

“For the future we’re hoping that the novelty value of a Morgan on the grid of a GT race dominated by Porsches and Ferraris might be replaced by a grid largely composed of competitive and reliable Morgans.”

Its been a rollercoaster 12 months for Morgan with the failure to secure an entry for the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours being followed by the death of Charles’s father Peter Morgan.

The racing successes of the Aero 8 though have clearly put smiles back on the faces of the staff at Malvern Link. What will 2004 bring?
Graham Goodwin

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