• Manor moves into endurance racing

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    Manor Motorsport team have been confirmed for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. John Booth and Graeme Lowdon, former managers of the Manor Marussia F1 outfit, are embarking on a new venture, this time in endurance racing. Preparations for their Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) debut are already well underway.

    The team should not to be confused with F1 team Ma¬nor Racing.

    Manor Team Principal John Booth and Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon have set their sights on a new discipline after a difficult time in Formula One. They will be competing in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and for the full World Endurance Championship (WEC) season, with high ambitions and a brand new team, Manor Endurance Racing Limited. They have selected an Oreca 05 powered by a Nissan engine, a combination that Richard Bradley, Matthew Howson and Nicolas Lapierre drove to victory for KCMG at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015.

    “We have been very impressed with the design of the Oreca 05 both in terms of its aerodynamic performance and also its mechanical design and forward-thinking safety features,” said Booth.

    Tor Graves is the first driver signed up for the Manor squad. Graves, who was born in Thailand, previously drove for Manor in 1998, 2003 and during the team’s successful British Formula 3 season. He has also raced twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On both occasions (2012 and 2013), he took the wheel of a Nissan-powered Oreca 03 for ADR-Delta. His best result to date is sixth in LMP2 with Jon Martin and Jan Charouz. It’s really great to be back at Manor again.

    “I have such good memories of racing with John in the past and now I am really keen to be writing a new chapter for the team as we enter the FIA [Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile] World Endurance Championship. I am very fortunate to have worked with John and Marc before so I am already very much at ease within the team. Preseason testing starts next month, so my focus now is to continue to prepare for that and I can’t wait to drive the car for the first time,” Graves explained.

    The team will announce the full driver line-up ahead of The Prologue, the pre-season test event at the end of March. Then the UK-based outfit will kick off the season with their home race, the Six Hours of Silverstone on April 18. 24H LEMANS.COM

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