Team LNT Plans Take Shape
Lawrence Tomlinson and Team LNT Commercial Director Richard Dean
filled out more details of the team’s plans for the 2006 season
- from their stand at the Autosport Show yesterday.
The team will be present at the ALMS Winter Test
sessions between January 23-25 with a third Panoz Esperante GT-LM,
the car being delivered to the team directly from the factory, to
the circuit. Warren Hughes and Lawrence Tomlinson will share the
A second, three day, test session at Sebring will
follow in early February with all of the team’s drivers so
far confirmed for 2006 present: Tomlinson, Hughes, Tom Kimber-Smith
and Richard Dean.
The third chassis will stay in the USA in March,
to be used for the 12 Hours of Sebring itself. With the early season
schedule now very tight indeed, Team LNT will field the new car
as a single car entry at the 12 Hours. The other two chassis will
be trucked directly from the pre-season test at Paul Ricard to Istanbul.
have loved to have fielded a two car entry for Sebring, but we felt
that it was important to concentrate our resources on our full season
Le Mans Series programme,” said Richard Dean (below). The
driving squad for Sebring will be Tomlinson, Kimber-Smith and Dean.
After Sebring, the race car will be shipped back
to the UK for a rebuild, before taking up its season-long duties
as the team’s entry in the full British GT Championship.
There, Tom Kimber-Smith will lead the Championship
effort with a second driver still to be confirmed, supported by
his principal sponsor Kleeneze, also the title sponsor for the British
Kleeneze will also be seen prominently in the team’s
Le Mans Series appearances at Spa and the Nurburgring, supporting
the company’s efforts in local markets.
The Le Mans Series driver line up will be Tomlinson
and Hughes in the lead car, with Richard Dean to be joined in the
second car by an as yet unconfirmed driver.
The team should be well prepared for the rigours
of the season to come, with a major testing programme underway:
the car on display at the show is due for a visit to the shaker
rig next week, before undertaking some sponsorship commitments with
Kleeneze. The second car meanwhile continues with an extensive track
testing regime, with two day sessions at Valencia and in the UK
still on the schedule.
The team is confident of a strong showing in both
championships, especially having compared the Panoz data collected
so far at Barcelona and Nogaro with data from their 2005 TVR T400Rs.
Dean: “Our data logging is identical to the TVRs and we have
tested at the same circuits, in the same conditions. Suffice to
say for now that we are very, very confident that we have a stronger
package. We ran the Ferraris very close last year so I’d guess
we’ll raise a few eyebrows this season and I certainly can’t
see why we can’t win races in the Le Mans Series in 2006.
“In terms of reliability, not a strong point
last season, we have put 17 hours of test running on one car so
far and 13 hours on the second: so far the only failure we have
had is a broken throttle cable and I did that!”
“It’s a big ‘ask’ for a
factory to build, develop and race a car like this and we’re
more than happy to be embarking on a development programme. Our
involvement over here in Europe can only strengthen the overall
programme. Our strength, and that of Multimatic in North America,
is in development through competition and so far Multimatic has
been enormously helpful to us in sharing their experiences with
“That might well change at Sebring: Multimatic
will want to beat us very badly but we see that as a very healthy
challenge, then I believe we’ll continue to work well afterwards.”
The team will be submitting two entries for the
Le Mans 24 Hours.
The road car side of the project is moving forward
too. The first right hand drive Esperante GT-LM will be delivered
to the UK late in 2006 and will then embark on an extensive test
programme to ascertain its suitability for the European market.