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25.11.2012, 13:45:15 cet

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Confidence is high within the Prodrive Ferrari team as final preparations are made for departure to France for the 70th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 15th/16th June.

The Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello had a superb showing at the official Le Mans test day on 5 May. The car, driven solely by Tomas Enge as his team mates Rydell and Menu were racing elsewhere, ran faultlessly for eight hours and ended up topping the GTS class timesheets 3.9 seconds faster than its nearest rival.

Since that time important reliability and durability testing has taken place, with particular attention being paid to the engine, gearbox and suspension. After the conclusion of the last test, team principal, George Howard-Chappell, said: "It has all gone very well, and we have had the opportunity to put to the test a number of key mechanical areas which have come through with flying colours. We certainly don't underestimate the task ahead of us at Le Mans, but we are confident
that we have the right package to strongly challenge the opposition from start to finish."

The right package includes the Prodrive-developed 6-litre V12 engine, which has been run problem-free for over 5000 miles, a good aerodynamic set up, race-proven Michelin tyres, and an all-star driver line up which includes a classic mix of experience, youth and success.

Long-time Prodrive driver, Rickard Rydell of Sweden, will be returning to La Sarthe for the first time in 12 years, and is the only one of the three Ferrari drivers who has raced at Le Mans before. The former British Touring Car Champion and current Volvo European Touring Car regular, is looking forward to visiting the famous French track again.

"I'm really happy to go back to Le Mans with Prodrive," he said. "It's a very special event. It was a shame Alain and I could not do the test day as our car is looking very good. I know the circuit will have changed a lot since I was there last, but I don't think it will take long to get to know it again."

British-domiciled Swiss driver, Alain Menu, will be taking a break from his Opel DTM duties to renew his partnership with Rydell. Another former British Touring Car Champion, this will be his debut at Le Mans and he too is looking forward to the race with great anticipation. "We have done a lot of work to the car since Sebring but now it's all about reliability for the 24 Hours. From what I have been told, I think it will be a memorable week."

Rounding off the trio is Czech F3000 star, Tomas Enge, who was bubbling with enthusiasm after his visit to Le Mans in May. "It's the greatest circuit in the world! Fantastic straights where you can get up to speeds of over 300kph - I could even stay with the prototypes in their slipstream. Being on my own at the test meant I had lots of time to learn the circuit and get used to where you can overtake slower cars and so on. I've got two very quick team mates so I think we will be looking good when we get there."

Prodrive, one of the world's leading motorsport businesses, is involved in world rallying, Formula One, sports cars and touring cars, as well as extensive interests in automotive design and technology across the globe. The company has developed the Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello on behalf of a privateer entrant, and has also provided two cars to the BMS Scuderia Italia team in the FIA GT Series.

Ferrari 550 GTS by Prodrive
Ferrari 550 M s/n 108418
Ferrari 550 M s/n 108418
Ferrari 550 M s/n 108418
Ferrari 550 M s/n 108418
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Prodrive aiming for win at Le Mans