January 23, 2013

Horse 1430 - Del Piero, Le Mans And I hope Holden

Sydney superstar Alessandro Del Piero might be one of the world's best known footballers, but the veteran playmaker also, it seems, has a real need for speed.
So much so that he is joining forces with Hollywood actor Patrick Dempsey to set up a motor racing team that will try to win one of the world's most famous car races, the Le Mans 24 hour, later this year.
The squad have informed Le Mans organisers , the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), that it plans to compete in the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans and also field a minimum two-car effort in the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
- Sydney Morning Herald, 23rd Jan 2013

The above article in the Sydney Morning Herald which suggests that Alessandro Del Piero would like to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hour sports car race. If I were the Grand High Poohbah and Lord High Everything Else at Holden, I'd be doing my utmost to make this a reality.

The Bathurst 12 Hour race has been held semi-sporadically now since 1991 and in various incarnations. For two years though in 2003 and 2004, the race was extended to 24 hours. This sadly was an exercise in cynicism by Holden who somehow convinced the organisers of the category to allow a car with a total production of 3 into an event against other production and GT cars (the cars were built by Garry Rogers Motorsport). Naturally the 427 Monaro won both 24 hour races, which in part probably led to a souring from other competitors and the 24 hour race was never held again.
Despite this, it did prove people in Australia were certainly capable of building a race car to go 24 hours and the next logical step even in 2005 should have been an assault at the Le Mans 24 Hours itself. Sadly, this never happened.
Won the Bathurst 24 Hours twice; never fully reached its potential

If Del Piero would like to race in Le Mans, then I think that it would be brilliant if someone could prep a slightly modified V8Supercar with taller gearing, bigger brakes, bigger differential etc.
The car would already be FIA certified and although even expecting a Commodore V8Supercar to win against a purpose built Audi Audi R18 E-tron Quattro Le Mans Prototype would be like waiting for a cat to lick its own ear, it might do surprisingly well in a lower class against GT3 Porsches, Corvette C6s and BMW M3s. Instead of Holden being the biggest fish in a very small pond, it would be a fish competing against salmon against the current.
Mal Rose has competed in the Nürburgring 24 Hour and Spa 12 Hour races, running privately run Commodores now since 2005, so it's not like the sounds of an Aussie V8 Commodore are completely unknown in Europe.
There are any number of outfit like the HRT, Triple 8, Perkins Engineering etc. who I'm sure that provided Holden threw their hat into the ring could easily prep and run the car and more importantly make it go 24 hours.

Apart from Formula One, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is easily the biggest and most impressive single event on the motor racing calendar. I think it'd be great if Holden stepped up and competed on the world's biggest stage; Alessandro Del Piero might be a big enough name to finally send them there.

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