As a result of his performances in the SPEED EuroSeries racer, James Rigby has been awarded a drive in the Le Mans Series outift Team RLR’s MG Lola EX265 at the team’s final test of 2011.
James (24), from Watford, was one of a number of regular drivers who contested the 2011 SPEED EuroSeries as part of Team RLR’s driver development programme, and was chosen as the indiviudal who had shown the most promise both on and off the track by the squad’s management team.
The team entered two Ligier JS49 sports prototypes in the SPEED EuroSeries, with the aim being to give any drivers from the team who showed sufficient potential in the SPEED series the chance to test the LMP2 car at the end of the season.
With the SPEED series supporting the LMS at all five rounds, the team considers it to be the ideal way to give drivers a ladder of opportunity to progress to the top level of endurance racing in Le Mans Prototypes. With two races at each event for teams of two drivers per car, the SPEED EuroSeries allows drivers to get a taste of endurance racing in sophisticated sports prototypes before moving up to the bigger stage of the LMS itself. Team RLR’s drivers Barry Gates and Rob Garofall have both driven in the SPEED Series before going on to drive in the Le Mans Series.
Ahead of his first run in MG Lola, which Team RLR steered to four top-five LMP2 class finishes in the 2011 Le Mans Series, Rigby will visit the team’s workshop for a seat fitting and familiarisation session with the 450bhp sports proptype endurance racing car. He will then join Team RLR’s regular driver and former SPEED Champion, Rob Garofall, at the final test session of the MG Motor UK-backed outfit’s 2011 programme at Snetteron Circuit at the end of October.
Nick Reynolds, Team RLR team principal, said:
“We are delighted to be able to give James this opportunity to drive an LMP2 sports prototype for the first time. When we formed the team we always said we wanted it to be about more than just turning up and racing, and we are committed to giving young drivers who show the right kind of application the opportunity to progress in the sport. James has impressed us not only with his driving ability, but his attitude outside of the car and his willingness to learn about the other key areas required to be successful in endurance racing. I am looking forward to see how he deals with what will be a real step up for him, and how he compares to some of our other more experienced drivers.”
James Rigby, Team RLR driver, said:
“Without a doubt this is the biggest opportunity I’ve ever been given in motorsport. I have been working towards this for a long time, ever since I started karting at the age of 10. To be given the chance to drive a car like this is amazing. I really want to thank the team for their commitment to developing talent and for offering young drivers like myself such a fantastic opportunity. The SPEED Series has been a great way to gain experience and offers you the ideal way to prepare to make the step up to the Le Mans Series. It allows you to put yourself in front of the people that can help you to make the jump up into the top level by being in the same paddock as them at every race weekend. I expect it will be a big challenge to adapt to a car that has so much more grip and power compared to what I have been used to driving, but I am really looking forward to it. Now I have to work really hard to make sure I’m in the best possible condition physically and mentally ahead of the test so that I can give it everything.”
For more on the Team RLR driver development programme, click here.