FFF Racing Team welcomes brisk Brits Matt Bell and Marco Attard to the fold for the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup’s 24 Heures du Mans support race at Circuit de la Sarthe (Saturday 18 June).
The GT3 Le Mans Cup – the brainchild of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and Le Mans Endurance Management – is a fresh, new concept that’s purely for GT3-spec cars and centred around bronze category ‘gentleman’ drivers.
A small, but high-quality 11-car entry contested the series’ opening round at Imola last month and the on-track action was scintillating as FFF Racing fought for victory, with Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs in a sole McLaren 650S.
However, next on the schedule is the GT3 Le Mans Cup’s headlining ‘Road to Le Mans’ race and FFF Racing will boast a revised two-car entry, with Bell and Attard taking control of the team’s new-for-2016 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in support of the 84th Le Mans 24 Hours at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Bell currently dovetails a full-time European Le Mans Series (ELMS) LMP3 campaign with his commitments as a driver coach, but the British racer has spent more than six years racing a plethora of thoroughbred GT3-spec racecars on the British, European and world stages.
His impressive résumé includes appearances in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), British GT Championship and high-profile long-distance races like the Daytona 24 Hours, 12 Hours of Sebring and Spa 24 Hours, plus a podium finish in the Bathurst 12 Hour and a notable Petit Le Mans victory.
Attard, meanwhile, achieved two race wins, five podium finishes and three pole positions on his way to the 2014 British GT Drivers’ title, but the 55-year old from Edinburgh, Scotland has continued to notch up the victories and even has experience of the Lamborghini Huracan GT3, having driven one earlier this year.
Some 17 driver combinations will race in the ‘Road to Le Mans’ for teams from China, France, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Italy and the Netherlands, while nine manufacturers – Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche – will be represented in a quality 39-car field that also features 22 LMP3 entries from the ACO series.
With such a wealth of experience, Bell and Attard are natural and obvious substitutes for FFF Racing’s regular GT3 Le Mans Cup pairing, Sean Fu Songyang and Andrea Caldarelli, in the ‘Road to Le Mans’, and Bell said: “I’ve been competing against Marco for quite a long time now and he has always been one of the front-running bronze drivers; Champion in 2014 of course, and a contender in every other season. He has already raced a Lamborghini this year, so he knows the car. It will be a tough challenge to get to grips with the famous Le Mans track in the short amount of time we have but I think we’ll be a very competitive pairing nonetheless.”
“I can’t wait for my debut at Circuit de la Sarthe. There are so many famous sections: Dunlop Chicane, Tertre Rouge, Indianapolis, Porsche Curves – the list goes on. I’m excited about the whole track! I’ve been going to watch my brother race there for several years now, so it’s fantastic to finally get the chance to drive it myself. The Lamborghini is one of the few GT3 cars I haven’t driven as well, so I’m looking forward to experiencing a new car. There is a lot to learn but I’m still targeting a podium finish. I’ve always liked a challenge!”
Attard added: “I know Matt Bell is a great driver and he has always been one of the fastest Pros in British GT so I’m pleased to be racing alongside him. To have an opportunity to race on the full Le Mans circuit is fantastic, as they don’t come up very often. However, I have been particularly intrigued about the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup since it was first announced and I will be interested to see whether there is a good balance of power. This is a ‘toe-in-the-water’ exercise, but I always want a result and I’m excited about driving the FFF Racing Lamborghini Huracan, which looks stunning.”
The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup ‘Road to Le Mans’ gets underway at 11.10 CET on Saturday 18 June, but Bell and Attard will get their first taste of Circuit de la Sarthe in free practice at 20.30 on Wednesday (15 June) and 14:30 on Thursday (16 June), before qualifying later that same day at 18.00.
Live timing will be available at the official www.24h-lemans.com website and the race will be broadcast live on Radio Le Mans.