OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE MARC VDS RACING TEAM DRAWS A BIG CROWD
More than 350 people gathered at the Marc VDS Racing Team headquarters in Gosselies, Belgium last night to officially launch a team unique in the world of motorsport, in that it will compete in four different championships
on both two wheels and four.
Driver and Sporting Manager, Bas Leinders, took to the stage to outline the aims of the Marc VDS Racing Team in the FIA GT1 World Championship, which the Belgian driver will contest together with compatriot Maxime Martin in the number 40 Ford GT40. The Marc VDS Racing Team's second GT40, running under number 41, will be campaigned by another Belgian, Renaud Kuppens, together with young Finnish driver, Markus Palttala.
The GT1 team will also compete at the 1000km of Spa in May and, for the first time, in the prestigious 24 Heures du Mans in June.
Marc VDS Rally Raid driver, Stephane Henrard, gave the assembled audience a detailed account of the rigours of this year's Dakar Rally, in which the Belgian driver finished a creditable 21st with co-driver and fellow countryman, Francois Beguin.
For the first time the Marc VDS Racing Team will also be represented on two wheels, as the team embarks on a new project in the FIM Moto2 World Championship. Belgian rider, Vincent Lonbois, will race alongside young British talent, Scott Redding, in a team managed by Michael Bartholemy.
Bartholemy, who previously managed Kawasaki's factory equipe in MotoGP, took to the stage to personally thank Marc van der Straten for his support and also for the passion that was so much in evidence during his visit in February to see the new team in action for the first time.
The official launch of the Marc VDS Racing Team provided an ideal opportunity to reveal the all-new Ford Mustang Marc VDS GT3 developed by the team in conjunction with Multimatic in Canada
The latest addition to the FIA GT3 European Championship grid weighs in at just 1350kg and features a 5.3 litre V8 engine, which produces 560BHP. These performance figures, combined with the all-new transaxle on the car, guarantee that the Ford Mustang Marc VDS GT3 will be a serious contender during it's debut season with Eric De Doncker and Scott Maxwell at the wheel.
President of the Marc VDS Racing Team, Marc van der Straten, brought last night's formal presentation to a close by telling the assembled crowd, "One year ago I could never have imagined all this under one roof. We have grown from a small family into one that now includes more than 60 people, all working towards the same aim and all sharing the same passion that I have for motorsport. Already I have enjoyed seeing first hand the Rally Raid team in action during the Dakar and, with the main racing season about to commence, I'm looking forward to seeing the other teams in action in their various championships worldwide."
"It is a pleasure to see so many people at the launch of the Marc VDS Racing Team. Our motto is 'share the passion' and I'm happy to have the chance to share it with so many people; not just tonight, but throughout the 2010 season. Finally, I'd like to thank the team for all their hard work and all of you for your continuing support. Merci à tout le monde."