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World Sportscar Champion to race in Nine-Hour at Killarney

World Sportscar Champion to race in Nine-Hour at Killarney

Team Africa Le Mans is delighted to announce that Jan Lammers will team up with Sarel van der Merwe and Greg Mills for the debut of the Ginetta GT4 in the Nine-Race to be held at Killarney on 12 December 2015.

Jan is a former Ensign, Shadow, ATS and March F1 driver, winner (in 1988) of the Le Mans 24-hour (with two other podium finishes there), two-time winner of the Daytona 24-hour (1988 and 1990), and as driver and team principal, twice the FIA World Sportscar Champion in 2002 and 2003.

Sarel van der Merwe needs no introduction to South African motorsport fans, with 14 South African motorsport titles, including 11 at rallying. But he is best known abroad for his track achievements, including his win in the Kreepy Krauly March at the 1984 Daytona 24-hour, his third place finish in that year’s Le Mans 24-hour, and his stint as the pilot of the Hendrick Motorsport Lola-Corvette IMSA car in the United States during the 1980s.

They competed against each other at Le Mans when Jan drove for Jaguar and Sarel the works Porsche team. Jan says of this opportunity: ‘I have driven many races against Sarel and I have always been impressed with his tenacity and skills. Even with less competitive machinery he would always give it 110%, a real racer. I'm really pleased and proud to finally be racing with this true legend.

While Sarel and I were out racing, Greg spent his time on other, more important issues! Nevertheless his record shows he has always been a quick and skilful racing driver. I am delighted to team up with both.’

Dr Mills, a well-known local political and economic expert, and author of seven acclaimed books on motorsport, was a karting champion and international competitor in the 1980s, and is widely experienced in variety of machinery from contemporary Le Mans prototypes to historic Formula 5000s 

The Nine-Hour endurance race has been revived for the first time since 1982 when run at Kyalami. It forms part of the African Endurance Series. Previous winners of the Nine-Hour read like a who’s who of motorsport, including multiple Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx, Brian Redman, David Piper, John Love, and SA’s own F1 stars Tony Maggs, Bruce Johnstone and, in its Wynns’ 1000km incarnation, Jody Scheckter.

Derek Bell is a two-time World Sportscar Champion, a five-time winner of the Le Mans 24-hour, and three-time winner of the Daytona 24-hour. He says of the resurgence of the event:  ‘I always loved those end of season races in South Africa, and have many good memories of the Kyalami Nine-Hour in legendary cars including the Ferrari 512 and Porsche 962. I am thrilled to learn that the race is back on the South African calendar, and hope to soon see it return to the international scene.’

The Ginetta G55, is a bespoke endurance racing car. This chassis has been supplied directly from Ginetta’s Leeds factory, and will be arriving in Cape Town just in time for the race.  This is the latest model of the G55, complete with sequential paddle-shift Hewland gearbox, Motec engine and gearbox management system, and four-cam Ford Mustang V6 engine, producing around 400 horsepower.

The G55 is being engineered by Nicholas Jooste and Piet Westraadt. Jooste has worked for a variety of successful racing teams including Audi, Nissan and Toyota in South Africa, Team Victory Powerboats in Dubai, and Tom Walkinshaw Racing in Australia. Like Westraadt, he has gained an international reputation as a fabricator and race-engineer.

Lawrence Tomlinson, the owner of Ginetta and a Le Mans 24-Hour winner in his own right, says that ‘Ginetta Cars is delighted to have its latest G55 GT4 entered in the Killarney Nine-Hour. We wish Team Africa Le Mans every success, and look forward to working with them to achieve their international ambitions.’

Team Africa Le Mans intends to complete in a number of other international endurance series during 2016, with the aim of building up to an entry for Le Mans.