BGT Media Day 10 - Team LNT
Let’s clear up any confusion that may exist regarding Team LNT’s Avon Tyres British GT campaign this year.

A ‘provisional entry list’ for the championship was presented at Silverstone yesterday – and it did list two of the very orange Team LNT Panoz Esperantes. But the two chassis present on March 22 were actually the team’s two Le Mans Series cars.

“We’re shaking them down after rebuilds, in preparation for the Le Mans Series test days on Sunday and Monday,” explained Rod Farrell, “and then they’re off to Istanbul. The British GT car is the one that raced at Sebring, and that only landed at Gatwick on Tuesday. So we’re using this test as a shakedown for the LMS cars – but running them on Avons, and Luke (Hines) and Tom (Kimber-Smith) are doing all the driving today, as they’re our British GT pair.”

It’s a frantically busy period for this ambitious team, but everything seems perfectly under control – as evidenced by that remarkable fifth place at Sebring.

“Yes, I got a great start,” explained Richard Dean, “but we had used soft tyres for qualifying, and they went off within a few laps, so I was desperate to come in and change them. It seemed like a long stint. But other than the four punctures, it went very smoothly. You’re always frustrated if you don’t win, but without the punctures maybe we would have been fourth.”

Tom Kimber-Smith – we first met him at Istanbul last November (right), but although that should have been his first GT race, the TVR didn’t last long enough, so he didn’t race it – was remarkably calm about finishing fifth at Sebring on his GT debut – broken ribs and all.

“I’ve done a big GT race, so if I don’t race at Le Mans for the team, I can’t be disappointed. Sebring was great – the whole atmosphere … I had no idea it was such a huge event… the car ran really well… our main aim was to finish, so to end up fifth in that GT2 race was great, especially as the Multimatic car won.”

Rod Farrell described the current position with the orange Esperantes as “we’re bringing all the pieces of the puzzle closer together, and things are starting to fall into place. We only committed to our damper supplier in February (Ohlins), so there’s a lot of progress to come.”

The LMS cars are 005 and 006, while the Sebring / BGT car is 007.

We didn’t catch up with Luke Hines (other than in a hair sense – see news yesterday), but the team reckons that he’s “bang on the pace, a really good guy.”

Richard Dean suggested that a 2006 British GT Championship win might see all the team end up with Mohican hair styles, “and Martin (Hines) will give us all a kart to play with”.

“We’ve got an exciting new car and two exciting young drivers in the British, and I hope people will pick up on that.”

Luke Hines and Tom Kimber-Smith are certainly going to be a very strong pair this year… and that Panoz is going to be a wonderful addition to the 2006 grid. Hats off to Lawrence Tomlinson for his commitment to GT racing in 2006.

Lap times weren’t especially relevant on Wednesday, as this was a shakedown for the Le Mans Series, but the team’s response to the tyre question was that “it’s terrific working with Avon because they are so responsive. They’re up for it.”

So is Team LNT.

By the way, Richard Dean was delighted to be referred to as “a young driver in British motorsport” (by one of the establishment chaps): “But I’m 41”

Yes, but he doesn’t look it…..

 

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