The Morgan Works Race Team rolls out its long-awaited 2003 Aero 8 GTN car at Donington this weekend, where it will compete in the UK round of the FIA GT Championship.
Built at Morgan’s Malvern works by a team led by Stephen Lawrence, with his father Christopher providing technical consultancy, the car has been re-engineered from the ground up following its famous 18 hour run at Le Mans in 2002.
Team Manager, David Dowse, comments:
"We learned a great deal from the Le Mans experience, and Stephen and the team have done a fantastic job taking that knowledge and translating it into a new car that is built to take on the established order in international GT racing. Their achievement is even more impressive, because they had to switch course at the 11th hour of the build programme."
Donington may be the team’s first race outing, but it has already overcome enormous hurdles, including the major disappointment of failing to secure a place at Le Mans in 2003 and the disruption that followed the surprise news.
"We do feel that we have unfinished business at Le Mans, but in the meantime, we’re really excited about the FIA races, and if they help us to build a strong case for an entry at Le Mans next year, so much the better," Dowse continues.
The team fields a dynamic driver line up, with Paula Cook, a regular competitor in the British Formula 3 and Touring Car Championships, joining their highly-regarded lead driver Neil Cunningham for Donington and the Spa 24 Hour FIA GT rounds.
Neil has already marked his record book with some excellent recent outings with Morgan – he has scored one win and several podium finishes this season in the British GT Cup class, and is said to be ‘chaffing at the bit’ to get behind the wheel in the GTN car. Paula has recently been busy on the national and international stage, testing for F3000 and the US-based Toyota Atlantic CART Series and, most recently, competing in the Porsche Supercup in Monte Carlo and the SEAT Cupra Challenge Series.
With a new BMW engine, prepared in Switzerland by Heini Mader, and the good wishes of Morgan fans all over the world willing it on, the Morgan is set to add its special touch of magic at Donington. However, David Dowse is keen to emphasise that the new car has a lot of development work ahead of it:
"It’s important to keep things in perspective, and expectations realistic. We’re absolutely delighted to be taking our place on the grid, and we’ll give it our very best shot. But we have a long-term strategy, and this is the first of several steps along it," he concludes.Published 28 June 2003