Noble Group/ GruppeM - Flying the Flag for Asian Motorsport
Darryl O’Young and Matthew Marsh arrived in the LMES
with a statement of intent nailed to the mast – the team want
to compete at the very highest level in sportscars and that means
the Le Mans 24 Hours.
though the team recognised that they would have to show their seriousness,
and that’s why a full 2005 LMES season was written into what
could be a multi-year gameplan.
An effort from
a Asian based (and backed) team is sadly rare in European sportscar
racing, but the Hong Kong based team are determined to show other
potential entrants that the opportunities exist for them to compete
well in their European opposition’s own backyard.
“Both Darryl and I have some pedigree in Asia and we’re
here to do several things. Firstly to build a platform in Europe
to show the ACO that we are a serious effort that will compete well
with others in our class, both in the LMES and, we hope, at Le Mans.
Secondly we’d like to show others currently racing back at
home and elsewhere in Asia that this is both a competitive, but
friendly, area of motorsport.
are always risks in travelling so far to compete when you haven’t
tested yourself against the opposition in Europe, but what we’ve
found is a very positive scene. There’s lots of help and advice
available up and down the pitlane. Some of the very best teams in
the world are here, it’s motorsport on the highest level,
but with a less unfriendly outlook than in some areas of the sport.
It’s OK ”
So how does
the dynamic within the team work?
first of all GruppeM are a top notch outfit, the car has been immaculate.
Between the two of us though, Darryl is a more professional driver
and so he does most of the set-up and technical work. I drive him
to the circuit though!”
The pair are
very active, and very successful in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia,
has that caused any scheduling problems?
“The Carrera Cup Asia is really the ‘day job’,
we are committed to a full season and are both running very well
there. Of course we have to make sure that our sponsors’ interests
in that series are looked after, so that does mean for instance
that a run at Sebring next year would be difficult as it currently
clashes with a Carrera Cup race.”
The team have
already turned heads with both the preparation of the car and with
their pace ‘out of the box’. The ACO would undoubtedly
welcome other teams following their lead with new markets for sportscar
and GT racing potentially opening up, there could be a rich and
almost unmined seam of talent just waiting to be discovered by the
European racing scene.