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Successful track testing for AD Group racing car

AD Group : 20 March, 2009  (Company News)
The Lola Mazda of AD Group has undergone successful testing at the Paul Ricard circuit
March has been a busy month for the AD Group sponsored Lola-Mazda B08/80 Coupé, being run by racing team RML, with the announcement of a new driver for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June and the completion of a successful two-day test programme at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France.

The confirmed third driver for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours is 31 year old Chris Dyson, the lead driver and Sporting Director of Dyson Racing in the American Le Mans Series. Chris will be teaming-up with regular RML drivers AD Group CEO and founder of Dedicated Micros, Mike Newton and Brazilian Thomas Erdos for this year's entry.

Said Chris Dyson: "I am really thrilled to be returning to Le Mans with such a great team, RML has set the standard for LMP2 teams in Europe and I am hopeful that Mike, Tommy and I can take RML back to the top step of the podium at Le Mans this year."

CEO of AD Group, Mike Newton, shares that optimism. "In many respects, Chris is the perfect addition to our squad. For several years now we've been running near-parallel racing programmes on each side of the Atlantic. As we move forwards into a new era with Mazda, so too does Dyson. I'm now looking forward to working closely with Chris in the run-up to Le Mans. It's a very exciting time."

ACO's official Le Mans Series Paul Richard test was the first opportunity for Chris Dyson to have a run out in the Lola-Mazda. Under the direction of Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML, the team concentrated on set-up and balance during the first day's two daylight sessions in preparation for the 24 Hours in June.

Then, on the second day, the emphasis was on addressing the issue of driver comfort in the Lola-Mazda's cockpit - a challenge made more acute by Chris Dyson's 6'2" (1.88m) frame, which contrasts somewhat with that of Thomas Erdos at 5'6" (1.67m).

Said Erdos, who carried out all but a handful of the car's eighty-lap first day run: "Looking ahead to Le Mans, where we may be expected to complete double or triple stints, it will be even more important that we are all 100% comfortable in the car. It's worth taking the time now to ensure that's the case."

The first day went especially well, with the red, white and blue Lola (now sporting a new shade in concession to Mazda's involvement in the project) third-fastest in LMP2 in the opening session, and then second quickest in the afternoon.

Having devoted the second day to seat fitting and ergonomics, the Lola-Mazda B09/86 completed a further 25 laps, with Mike Newton and Chris Dyson taking turns at fine-tuning their seating positions.

Said AD Group's CEO Mike Newton:"Despite the limited running, Chris and I were both encouraged by the very respectable times, endorsing the excellent progress made in set-up on the Sunday by Phil and Tommy. It was our first opportunity to work together with Chris directly, and we all enjoyed the experience and immediately meshed well as a team.'

In the light of last year's less than auspicious start to the 2008 season, when the team's MG EX265 blew two engines during the same pre-season test, Paul Ricard 2009 has been a complete contrast. "The Mazda engine has been perfect. It has run faultlessly throughout," said Thomas Erdos.

The team plans several further tests before Le Mans in June, but is now concentrating on preparation for Round 1 of the Le Mans Series in Barcelona next month.

Dramatic footage from last year's Le Mans 24 Hours, taken by the motorsport variant of the Queen's Award winning TransVu mobile CCTV system, can be viewed on AD Group's YouTube Channel.

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